Thursday, November 30, 2017

What to do, what to do

Administration officials see Trump as incapable of coherent thought and rational action. World leaders agree, and despair or seize the advantage of the dysfunction of this country. Leaders of his party continue to patch the dyke. Affairs are shoved back to some clown version of normal on a daily basis. It’s a charade. There is no normal.

This country can impeach, or invoke the 25th amendment. Or, continue to do nothing, and wait to rectify the implosion.

In the meantime, I took the ball peen hammer that must have been my dad’s, and walked around the house, rectifying the hinges that have annoyed me for several months.

The hammer had to be heavy enough to get the job done, but not so big as to hit woodwork. I’m glad this was in the basket of tools scavenged from the old house. I wish I had the knuckle busters that came from my Mentor house, and can grip and rip off any one of those damn sealed on foil or plastic bottle or can covers. Oh, well.

I hope Laura hangs on to the tools. She’s been taught to appreciate and use them. Well, appreciate is interesting. First she has to try her way, then take the tool from me and use it. Thank you all for Kahn Academy; she wouldn’t hear it from me, but you all convinced her.

Here’s a fun look around. My Uncle Hank repaired the Westclox Big Ben for me to take to college in 1961. I used it, probably until the nineties, when Uncle Hank couldn’t take care of it any more.

Who knows how old that ball peen is. Perhaps from the thirties, when my dad bought tools, not food. I wove the scarf on the table in the early eighties, on the warp my Aunt Laura left on the little LeClerc four harness counterbalance loom.

My Grandma Rolf made the vase in her last year of school, eighth grade. She was fifteen, and decided algebra was enough math for her. She went to work at Higbees’, downtown Cleveland.

I crocheted the little pineapple doily for her, and got the vase and the doily back as a package, when she went to a nursing home. I think everything here just will go to auction someday, probably excepting the tools.

So, the hinge pins are resolved and I’m off to spend the rest of the day on my new book, Prairie Fires. It will help me forget the YA novel assigned for book club in January.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fractional exponents

An exponent is the believer of some truth. One person; some perceived truth. In math, an exponent is the power to which a number should be raised. The old squares. Two times two times two is two to the third power, is two times two is four times two is eight. The truth is the third power, the exponent is two. Two believes its third power is eight.

It gets worse. Fractional exponents. Why isn’t the exponent a whole number? Who did this! We must understand the fraction to get the truth. There are rules. Find the least common denominator, for instance. But, enough! I don’t have to do this anymore. It’s Laura who must, and who does not understand.

She is so frustrated. She claims to have studied it in Google, on You-Tube, and, especially to have asked her math teacher. “But, he just knows it; he doesn’t teach it,” she groans. The school year is almost half over. I explained to her the math teacher’s job is to teach as well as know, and she must be student enough to say that to him. Today.

Don’t make me do this again, please. Don’t make me tease out all the little chunks that must be solved to find the exponent. Because the real truth is, I don’t know what the answer to all the chunks tells me, except all the rules were observed. This is far more algebra than I ever bargained for. Why would you have twenty five over nine, let alone want to raise it to the one half power.

I told Laura, if the teacher cannot teach you, your grandmother will know the reason why. I’ll see if that works.

Test: derive a fractional exponent from the example shown.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Identity theft

I threw away my paper calendar. I no longer can write small enough or legibly enough to get a day’s activities on one block. I “migrated” to Google calendar. Like that? Big move. Migrated!

Now, after breakfast, I check my Google calendar. If I oversleep, it chimes on my phone, to let me know some task is undone. No escaping responsibility!

Recently I scrolled over the Christmas trip to Wisconsin and wondered if I scheduled boarding the cat? It was the weekend, so I put it on a week day page: schedule boarding the cat. When I did, I found Toby must arrive with papers for his annual feline booster. Sigh.

My sister and I had some interesting arrangements, all those years we lived together. I took care of all the cat bills. Jan had all the dog bills. But, all the animals had her last name, so Tom would know which animal name to put with the worm pill he was asked to pick up.

When I moved here, I represented myself as my sister, to take Toby to the vet. The women at the counter, Dr. Mike, Dr. Wendy, everyone knew it was me, and the animals had my sister’s last name. I called the vet this morning, said I was me and asked to make an appointment for Toby K.

“Dr. Mike’s next appointment is….”, and the receptionist gave a date next year.

“Toby doesn’t care who he sees,” I interposed.

“Toby only is allowed to see Dr. Mike, owner’s orders.”

I like Toby, and I even pay extra for him to get shots, not pills, since he and I don’t agree on pills. Only Jan could give him pills, and she doesn’t live here. Toby has always been on my payroll, and I didn’t issue that order. I like Dr. Mike, too. I’ve known him for thirty years. I asked to change the order. She couldn’t.

While she went off to see if Dr. Mike will fix the owner protocol, I mused on the state of veterinary medicine. I think the state of human medicine is a mess. Think again.

Memo to my sister: Effective earlier today, Toby K.’s owner has her own account, and a cat named Toby Noragon. Dr. Mike came on the phone and said all these years of catnip laundering by cats using your identity, in secret offshore accounts in my name will end, so help him valerian.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Immovable objects meet unstoppable force

As I stood up from the MRI this morning and disturbed everyone else in the room with a fine display of disorientation, a new post formed in my mind. 

MRI’s disturb my body. The resonance in the tube, in my body, and today in my head, for it was a brain MRI, confuse my body, sometimes for days.

I told the new neurologist I would not have another. He offered a sedative. I’m not anxious; it’s the magnetic waves bouncing off my heart, my lungs, my brain, my muscles, confusing them. I couldn’t drive after a sedative, I said. He shrugged and handed me the order to schedule the MRI.

I had to find a new neurologist, as mine threw up his hands at the current state of medicine and went to Ohio State to teach and do research. I understand his frustration, and sympathize completely. But I still need a neurologist to follow the effing brain injury.

The neurologist recommended to me has no openings until February, and I still need (or not) anti-seizure meds filled by a neurologist. You don't just quit those things. So, I settled for another member of the practice, and will play the immovable object/unstoppable force game until I am satisfied or ask to go to the top of the practice.

Every brain doctor since George Washington Medical Center in DC was convinced I have seizures. Except Dr. DeRen, but he threw up his hands and quit patients. So, I’ve had innumerable cat scans, an EEG, two MRI’s, three neurosurgeons and one neurologist signing off on the lack of seizures, but here’s a new neurologist, who has to have his own pristine set of findings. He and I have now met the impasse.

He said, to end the visit, “Well, I still haven’t cleared you to drive.” Ask google. Look in a text book. Apparently this brain injury precludes driving. No matter every authority has ticked the “drive” box. The new man on the scene must have an opinion weighed, too.

I told his back, as he left the room, “I parked my car in your lot this morning.”

There is a more lighthearted immovable object in the kitchen; my granddaughter, the cookerer. A while back she tried biscuits. I watched her plop butter from the butter dish to the flour in the bowl. In passing I remarked she should try to use cold butter. The biscuits were a little chewy, but OK.

Several weeks later she made biscuits to die for, and I remarked to that effect with every one I ate. “Yes,” she said, “google recommends using cold butter and I put a note to do that in my ‘cooking notes.’”

Don’tcha love it.

Last week I tackled the kale question. Kale has its place, but an exclusive two year run is long. I suggested chard. Putting away groceries Saturday, I stowed kale in the fridge, but no chard. “They didn’t have any,” Laura rejoined.

Yesterday we stopped at Kreiger’s for a small item. On the way out I took a good look at the greens. I poked Laura in the ribs and pointed. She looked, shrugged and headed out the door. A couple of years ago I made a rule: there will be a vegetable with every meal. Time to make a “less kale, more chard” rule, too.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A garden story

When I was a child, we had a garden. Always a good reason for a garden. A war was on (twice!). Saved money. Eliminated waste of the several fruit trees on various properties. A Queen Anne cherry tree in my grandmother’s back yard translated into cherry pies in the winter. In my grandma’s kitchen, I sat on the kitchen table and turned the handle that spit pits out one side and slid pulp down the chute, into a bowl.

I came home from school in the forties and fifties to canning every fall afternoon. I slid skins from tomatoes and peaches and packed them in quart jars. After supper we put on lids and rings, put the jars into the canners and settled down to the Lone Ranger while they processed. I graduated high school in 1961, and went off to college. I can’t say I never canned another tomato.

I fell off the turnip truck, very young.

When I was married, we lived in Willoughby, Ohio, in a house on Strawberry Lane. I wanted a garden, our landlord did not object, and we made a garden. It was loam to dream of. Twenty years of mowed grass mulch, miles of grass roots, millions of worm tunnels. Perfect, once in a life time soil under the sod.

I can’t remember what I planted in the garden, while we lived there. Tomatoes, for sure. Radishes and carrots to die for. They grow perfectly in perfect dirt. And, turnips. I love turnips. I’ve met one other turnip lover in my life, my husband’s Aunt Jean.

Aunt Jean and Uncle Leeds lived in California, with their son, Howard, in La Jolla. Aunt Jean was my father-in-law’s sister. I met her and her family once, when they came east to visit. My father-in-law was a reserved man. I never imagined him as anything but a civil engineer, even when he was a child. His mother and I were friends, and Grandma Thomas (she outlived two husbands) had a garden behind her house upstate, but I doubt my father-in-law did more than draw highways in the dirt.

My mother-in-law came from the same German green grocer stock background as my mother. Dottie Noragon never really approved of me and certainly shared no childhood memories with me. Her brothers and sisters did, though, and I know Mom Noragon knew turnips, too, even if she never admitted it.

So, Uncle Leeds, Aunt Jean and Howard came visiting from California, and stopped to see us. Uncle Leeds wore trousers, an open throat cotton shirt, a Panama hat. Aunt Jean wore a light cotton shirtwaist and sandals. Howard was a young teenager. I walked around the back yard with them, past laundry and a thousand diapers flapping on the line. I was slightly embarrassed; my mother-in-law had a dryer, and I was sure Aunt Jean must, too.

In the back corner Aunt Jean stopped short, then approached the garden. She dropped to her knees; her hands brushed over foliage. “Leeds, these are carrots. Leeds, these are radishes. Oh, my God, Leeds. Get Howard. These are turnips. He must know what a new turnip tastes like!”

And up from the soil one of my perfect turnips. Jean brushed it clean on the hem of her beautiful dress. “Quick, Leeds, your knife!” The turnip turned to slices in her hand and was shared with Howard and Leeds. She went back to my in-law’s home with a bag of turnips, “for Dottie to cook for supper.” No idea how that went over.

The picture that inspired the story. About 1966. Back row, left to right, my Grandma Rolf, my mother, Lenore Lytle. Grandma Thomas. Me. Front row, my mother-in-law, Dottie Noragon. I loved GrandmaThomas. You can tell by looking, she would have a daughter named Jean, who loved gardens, too.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

More captioned pictures

Saturday is grocery and errands day. The wreath we got yesterday. I hope for a nuthatch to be by, looking for pine nuts.

This house last had pumpkins on display. Now it's Christmas greens and candy canes. The trip to the store entailed an interesting conversation:

Laura: What would you like for a vegetable this week?
Me: How about chard, for a change.
Laura: What's that?
Me: Steam it like spinach, big plop of butter, heaven.
Laura: I'll see.

Me: Would you ever consider a pot roast? You probably could get a pound or so roast.
Laura: Then what?
Me: Brown it, put it in the pot, carrots, potatoes, onion.
Laura: Brown it?
Me: I'll show you.
Laura: Would the slow cooker work?

There it is, right beside the coffee. I don't use Maxwell House; My fingers cannot pry the lid off the can. It must have been on sale. Not a problem; I'll dump it into the Folger's can. Their engineers made a lid I can use.

New shoes. I think I should give in and buy "short" jeans. It's difficult to stop being 5'6".

Today feels happy. The news isn't the worst I've ever read. I feel like knitting on the year old sweater and watching Harry Potter with Laura. I wish a good and happy weekend to everyone else, too.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Pictures with some captions

A week or so ago I convinced Laura she needed a new coat. The kid is so cheap, or resistant, she won't entertain new, even with four inches of wrists exuding from the  old coat. I finally drug her into Burlington, and walked behind her, carrying an assortment of Michelin Man coats, all black.

Suddenly she ducked through two racks, across two aisles, and wrapped her arms around the coat currently on her back. This coat matches nothing in my mental repertoire of potential Laura garments. It was "it", the one she wanted, no questions, no doubt. Thank goodness it fit. It's the color of my dad's army blankets, and apparently as warm.

Outside Kreiger's, our grocery, for a week's shopping. Kreiger's is a fascinating store, in the same family for sixty years, fresh vegetables, fruit and meats all year around. Check them on Facebook; you will smile.

The pies on the top shelf are Amish made. I'm here to admire the cheese cake. The best selection is the middle shelf, right, with six different kinds. Laura will have this for her birthday cake, please.

It's caramel apple season, of course. Kreiger's are made with pecans, not peanuts. 

A week's worth of grub in the basket. We meet at the checkout; she fill's the basket, I put the card in the machine.

We stopped at my sister's studio. Jake-O is four months old. There is no possibility of taking a still.

There was frost on the deck yesterday morning, but not so interesting as the pictures that froze in the wood, a year ago. This is water on top of the wood.

From my gym session this morning. Kris calls this apparatus the T-Rex. I just follow her around and do what I'm told. This is her ingenious way of doing nothing with my left arm; she has one grip laced through the other and secured, and I did the routine using my right arm. I could look like half a Bluto in a few more months.

My left shoulder has succumbed to degenerative osteoarthritis, and simply is too painful to use.  It's part of the reason I picked flying to Wisconsin for Christmas. About Chicago my shoulder would rebel at changing lanes. I'm working through the protocol for a solution, short of a new shoulder. Not doing that.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

About blogging

I’ve blogged since 2011. I stumbled across blogs a year before, and thought “I’d like to do this.” I worked out Blogger and began, July, 2011, with a tiny kitten I’d scooped up in a parking lot in Pittsburg, visiting artist friends at the Three River Art Fest. My exhibiting days were retired; I was eight years the fiscal officer of my township.

The first year I spent recording family history, and doing a little more genealogical research. I was in awe of my father, abandoned by parents and relatives and by age eight essentially holding together his little family of five siblings. I learned his history from my mother; my father never spoke of his childhood. I thought my children would be interested, but they weren’t.

I loved my mother, and her mother twice as much. That grandmother was the only grandparent I had, and her history, back at the turn of the previous century, was as difficult as my dad’s. They could have exchanged stories, were they friends. They weren’t.

A few people followed the blog, and the stories of my forbearers. Then in the summer of 2012 my sister and I took on the care of three of my youngest daughter’s four children. The adventures of two teenagers and a ten year old took on a life of its own. Folk came over to see what was happening and many stayed.

I do like to write, and even taught freshman English at the local community college, until I was divorced. Having two children to support, and a house and car to pay for, I opened the Help Wanted section of the paper and saw accountants and engineers seemed well paid.

I applied for both sorts of positions and for a BS at a local college. I held my own well enough to be hired as the controller of a local electronics company, finished an accounting degree a year later. It was Moxie 101; I don’t know if it would work in the new world. I held the job almost fifteen years. The company was sold twice over, the economy was tumbling, my sister and I were fooling around with weaving; it was time to move on.

Jan and I were weavers for twenty years, until she quit to be a quilter and me to get a new hip, and work part time for my township.

Now I have 1,142 posts on my blog, and a hundred or two I’ve deleted. My writing improved over this time. I’ve learned to keep posts to five hundred words, or so. Say it and exit stage left works best for me. If rambles don’t advance the narrative, delete them.

I follow one statistic; view count to comments. I’ve settled on comments of ten percent or more of views as a decent blog, with something of interest. (That’s the statistic on the post page; it’s the one I’ve made sense of. A bit lazy, too.)

My other rule—let every comment stand. I do not delete comments because I may not agree, or moderate and not publish a comment at all. That’s censorship. I like the exchanges that go on, some as long as a string on Facebook. But if it’s spam, no quarter. Report and delete. Take that, blackguard.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Clay feet

Went to bed sick to my stomach, or my mind, last night. Slept badly. Al Franken, too. I feel like we’re in a virtual three dimension tic tac toe game, pitching men through space. Who’s in charge? What’s going on. What is the point? The biggest offender holds the biggest office in the world, and nothing has changed.

I’ve reached the point of “so what.” Until the biggest boil is lanced, nothing has changed. We struggle against more power than can be overcome. It’s good we are taking sexual assault seriously. If more abusers step up to the mic over time, and confess, good. But until the biggest bully is gone, there will be no mic drop.

Bullying starts at home. I wish every parent understood that. Treating children as less than people, shaming, confidence destruction are bullying. Sibling against sibling; child against playmates. It can be stopped at home and it will never spread like binder weed and crab grass.

We’ve excoriated Bill Clinton; we’ve called out every third movie mogul; it’s time to let go. Reserve a right to shun or prosecute every old offense that comes to light. But, we need to stop, cut, move forward the business of this country. And that does include removing President Pussy Grabber.

The world has not ended since January 20th. A lot of sleazy legislation has been passed. A lot of stupid world deals have been made. More wildlife has died. The oceans are rising. We’ve learned to mobilize and prepare to keep making change. We can outlast Pence. We can keep on voting more intelligent people into office.

That’s all. Calm down. Keep calm and carry on.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Red shoes

I see the world in pictures and in stories. I see people by what I see around the people. Often I recognize them by their hair, by their size and shape, but not by their face. I don’t know why, or why this even came to me, as I set about clearing a batch of pictures from my phone.

A little batch of pictures has hung around on my phone since election day. Not that long ago, but light years in my world of file them or get rid of them. Flags were at half staff that day. I had to look it up. The church shooting in Texas. What changes?

Of everything I lost to the Red Bus, my job was the worst. It connected me to the world more than any other piece of my brain that went spinning off. I have an email almost daily from the new fiscal officer: How does she do this or that or the other thing. And I know and I tell her. I did not lose that job for want of competence.

The new fiscal officer was appointed by the trustees to fill the vacancy when I left. She had to run for election in the next general election, in November. She had an opponent, which I never did in four elections. And, she won.

I vote in the town hall, and took my chances at finding Ron on my way out. The door still opens to the same key code, and the same voice from the office observed “I hear footsteps in the hall!” Ron moved Winston, the skull in wool hunter’s cap, from Doug’s chair, and I settled in for a catch up chat. Doug is off, nursing his replacement knee, you may recall.

First we talked grandbabies. Ron has his first, a boy who’s closing in on a year now. Actually, we shook hands on our way out the door, me to DC and him to Czechia, where the little fellow was just born. That’s the little guy, on the phone.

“I have a picture for you!” Ron said. This picture is so Ron, I must explain it. That’s the hood of a thirty five year old Ford tractor, on the last trip mowing ditches this year, “on Wetmore, your favorite road. It was a beautiful day! I had to take a picture.”

Here’s one more picture I didn’t use the other day. The branches over the road at Kendall Lake. I take this picture almost every spring and every fall, for the last many years.

And, for the end, our little girl with red shoes. Now her care is in the hands of a fifteen year old girl every day. Often in the afternoon I see her and her brothers coming down the road with the caretaker. The complex maintenance fellow says they’re still using space heaters in the house, but that’s all he knows. All I know, too. I need to figure out how to upload the doctor forms to the Rotary site.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Out and about today

The year abroad to study story must have a twist, or it wouldn’t be mine. That’s how my life works.

Laura is so pumped about the idea, she had her half of the document completed and emailed to the coordinator before bedtime last night. No idea what she sent, but perhaps that’s the best for now.

I spent the morning preparing doctor, dentist statements. We must give the documents to be completed with the applicant’s personal information completed, and have a scannable document with original signature in blue ink returned to be uploaded. By lunch time I had them all prepared, together with a cover note, to courier to the doctors this afternoon.

My last flurry of activity before leaving the house was a note to the program chair, a fellow with a hundred percent Irish name, to the effect we had come late to the event, and I would appreciate some more information on who we were to contact as a Rotary sponsor, so I could take care of that.

Off to the races, being the person with all day and no commitments. Our primary physician is not in the office for a week, so that one is on a desk. What the heck; the deadline and interview isn’t until December 2nd.

One stop was for Children’s Hospital doctors, in the renovated B.F. Goodrich factory. Since forever I have said I would take pictures and show how this building has been renovated, and we’ll close with them. Meantime, I came home to an email from Mr. Great Irish Name that basically said, “What are you talking about?”

I put my scant knowledge of Laura’s weekend together, and realized she had been on the trip with Kay to retrieve her son from his overnight and interview for the same scholarship. Now many tidbits of the conversation repeated to me fell into place.

Son: They have more scholarships than applicants. They asked us to spread the word. Laura, this would be great for you to try.

Son forwards email of information to Laura. And so the process began.

I was so impressed by her can do attitude last night that I composed a new email to Mr. Irish Name myself. It says a very qualified young woman wants very much to be part of this program. In addition, a great Rotary member, my Uncle Hank, would have sponsored her in a heartbeat, and may still be involved. So, can we meet for lunch and see how we can make this work for Laura.

Details to follow.

Here are a few phone photos of the renovation of Goodrich into offices. 

The basement, looking up from one direction.

The basement, looking up four floors. There are about nine stories in the building.

The concrete pillars are original.  Consider the weight of manufacturing they supported.

The first four floors are mezzanine style, with the centers cut away. The floors above are solid. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mostly local news

All I had to do today was play cards with the Methodists. The front door rang sleigh bells when I opened it. A pleasant surprise. And, because I have no post in mind to use them, the rest of the fall pictures are interspersed in the rest of my post.

One card player was returned from a three week jaunt to visit children and grandchildren. One son lives in Seattle. Much of what he said I’m reading about in Slate, among other publications. They stayed in a nice AirB&B that had been a garage, and now was rented to visitors to the city.

He had been worried about transportation in the city, and his son said “Chill, Dad.” Public transportation buses are plentiful; Uber is a phone call away. Cars are available at the curb; with the phone app you unlock the car, authorize the ride, drive, leave it at a curb and find the charge on your credit card. Then there are hundreds of bicycles available, with the tap of an app.

The homeless population was disconcerting. The shortage of affordable housing is acute. Finally, the phenomena in yesterday's post; houses are built on forty foot lots, to maximize housing available. Housing is fairly affordable here in Ohio. The new homes at Salt Creek start around $225,000. More than I ever paid for a house, but it’s the current cost. I doubt homes are that inexpensive in Seattle and surrounds.

The opportunity for Laura to spend next year abroad, on a scholarship, has come up. Actually, we are late to the game and scrambling to catch up. In one day’s time Laura has completed and submitted the preliminary paperwork. Which is to say, she’s motivated.

My job tomorrow, when I have nothing to do and all day to do it, will be printing and completing all the doctor and dentist and whatnot releases, talking to school counselors, etcetcetc. I talked to Ann, who spent her high school and college years in Switzerland. Ann said students entered the first day, proud of their honors French background, and floundered the first semester, trying to grasp system, language, life in a Swiss village.

Then, a talk with the counselor, or the unit principal, if necessary, to see that Hudson is familiar with exchange programs and Laura won’t be five years in high school. Let’s all guess the first question from Laura when she comes in from school tomorrow.

It will be interesting to see how Laura narrows her choice. Everything in the northern hemisphere seems available, except countries with English as the first language. I had the list read aloud to me yesterday, and remember nixing Turkey and India. I’ll print it out tomorrow and start with my fine tooth comb. She will need a mighty fine argument to get to a couple of global spots.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Flying weekend

We went to the Weathervane Playhouse yesterday to see Laura's pick, Talking With... It's an old play by Jane Martin--1982. I was as interested in Laura's reaction to such old character topics as in the play itself. Nothing happened on stage we couldn't talk about later. I think we'll see the Billie Holiday play in January.

I thought we'd go to Spaghetti Warehouse after the play. Not because Cisco makes such great food, but because it's a first time experience.  The entire square block of Akron that was the B.F. Goodrich Company has been renovated. For an Akron native, it's wonderful. For a fifteen year old, little bit naif, it's a big eye experience.

The Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant was the warehouse portion of Goodrich. Right next door is the plant, now renovated for business and medical offices. We go into the plant to reach some of Laura's Children's Hospital therapists. 

I thought I knew the best way from Weathervane to Spaghetti Warehouse, but I asked Google, nevertheless. As we followed the map, I could only think how my mother would laugh. Google took us directly there, up the valley, into downtown and over to Goodrich. I'm addicted to Google Maps.

An Irish Whiskey sign over our table, and the Union Statio sign across the way reflected.

In other weekend news, Laura earned her badge and staff, and put up the tree. Never too early, I am told.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


When I was an ideal (istic) teenager, I would sing Malvinia Reynolds, little boxes, made of ticky-tacky, little boxes on the hillside, and feel superior, and of the generation that would save the world. We were rather rude and offensive.

The generation was good in its beginning, but many lost the way to sloth and, face it, self preservation. Job, car, house, children...It may improve.

I moved here thirty years ago, from a suburb where I lived next door to the farmer who sold his land to the developer who built my house. I loved Gus. He took care of his wife until she died. He moved to Tennessee, to live with a son. I got one post card from him, in pencil, in old man writing: I miss you. Love, Gus. I never wrote back.

When I moved here, I was in the middle of farms, or golf courses that once were farms. And I worked, and paid for a house and a cargo van. When I retired that weaving job I took up as township fiscal officer. I began to pay attention to my township, once farms to its corners, with a tiny village in the middle.

I noticed most the barns. We had cow barns and horse barns. I think more horse barns than cow barns, because there were many gentlemen farmers and summer residents here, with ponies for the children. Between two large industrial cities.

Even as I noticed them, the barns were deteriorating. I began taking pictures, because I knew what was happening. I've posted enough barn pictures to bore every one of you to two deaths; that's not today's purpose.

Today Laura and Kay are out hiking the last trail to earn the staff and badge. When they get back, Laura and I are going to a play at the Weathervane Playhouse. Afterwards, supper somewhere with spaghetti and meatballs.

In the meantime, I went down the road and took a picture of the fate of one of my favorite barns. This barn was in Northampton, annexed by and now part of Cuyahoga Falls, the city creeping up the road.

I don't know Northampton's history as well as Boston's, so I don't know the farm. I do know it became a clay pigeon range, and that development was stalled for about ten years of picture taking while the soil was remediated from lead shot.

People must have somewhere to live, I remind myself often. The Preserve at Salt Creek. Now, that is ostentatious, unless they're accounting for all the saltpeter in the soil.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A few more pictures

This morning I had an appointment with the new neurologist. I’d love to give up the lot of them, except my primary care would turn on me, and I do like her. She loves to scroll her computer and say “Your cardiologist says….”, or “when did you last see the eye doctor?” She stunned me when I asked if anyone would ever learn the blood flow through my calcified carotid and she said “Oh, just a minute. That came with the scan from George Washington…”

Standard procedure for unconscious patients seems to include a head to toe scan, these days. I’ve had several doctors look at the scan results and answer a question for me.

I left for the appointment and found snow. I went into the valley, crossed the river, came up the other side into Fairlawn, and found a blizzard. Well, heavy snow. The ground is warm, the roads are warm, it won’t stick. It’s simply the fact of it falling. Annoying, as Laura would say. And certainly not the day for pictures.

I took the two pictures above three years ago, 2014. This is the old Black farm, on Wetmore.  The National Park has renamed it Briar Rose Farm. That's because they have allowed to farm house to be totally overgrown by brambles, so they invent a new history for it. 

Yesterday: the gate is open, the chain and lock no longer on the gate.

The upper loft door is open to the weather, as is the lower door. The barn needs painted to protect the wood.

The gutter no longer has a downspout. Vegetation is overtaking the barn. The roof still needs painted.

Whoops, there's the downspout.

The foundation does seem recently sealed.

I tried this picture six ways to breakfast. I love this weed. You can make out the stem, but the large flower head, gone to seed, is hard to make out.  For 360 degrees around the picture the landscape was too brown to show off the flower head.

A nice fall tree, further down the road.