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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Old women, hear us roar

I do apologize to those who might be embarrassed raising their voice and demanding attention. I know more than a few of you, too, and probably love all of you, especially for being so nice.

A person who may or may not be out in the audience owes me a substantial sum of money, and has been paying it on time for some time. I cannot tell you how much I dislike being inconvenienced by, oh, going to the bank, for example. Years ago I asked the debtor to deposit the check into my account. I knew it was possible.

My bank happened to me when I bought the house, thirty odd years ago, and has followed me around ever since. This bank has no drive up windows at their banks in Ohio. Most branches are located in supermarkets I don't shop at. In Hudson I can walk up twenty stairs for the back entrance, or park at a head-in angle at the front.

For thirty odd years I have arranged to have few direct transactions with the bank. Now that I move too slowly for most of the world, and use a cane to boot, I prefer to have no direct transactions with the bank.

The debtor stopped direct deposit. I didn't buy the excuse, but no matter, no more deposits. Check would arrive by mail. In the beginning it didn't, but that seems straightened out now, and today I had a check in hand to deposit.

I do all my banking on line. Or thought I did. If I owe you money and you have a mailing address, I pay the bill. If you skip that step, and directly debit, I pay the bill automatically. Deposits never crossed my mind, until today.

I called my bank. No, you cannot deposit a check via your pc. You need to download the app to your phone. Step by step I replicated the instructions given on my pc to my phone.  All you young people have heard me rage over the years, This Is Not Intuitive!

App downloaded, I opened my account. Then everything that is so easy on my keyboard and with my mouse, just went to shit, as usual. No matter how often I tapped buttons, nothing happened. I called the bank, for walk through instructions.

Still, nothing happened. And the wonderful bank lady, who knows me, did not yell back. And then it began to click. I felt the button pulse under my finger and then move on, as it should. Will you believe, that phone knew what to do. 

"Be sure to sign the back of your check first!"

"Find a darker background!"

"Hold the camera over your check!"

And so forth and so on and then boom, my screen exploded in balloons and ribbons and announced First Time! You deposited a check for the first time! Congratulations!

I was as excited as the phone. The bank lady gave me a couple of tips, like don't write VOID on it yet; put a check mark somewhere to indicate you deposited it. Oh, yes, call us any time.

You know I love pictures, but depositing a check with a phone app really is boring, after the first time, so here are recents. It poured all day yesterday. I love the way the mandevillas wrap and wrap around the poles.

The golf course grows more raggedy, and I have not seen the heron in weeks. Scuttlebutt says the Conservancy is closing in on the amount of money the owner wants. Good for the owner; don't give away Mr. Yesberger's trees!

I am still weaving, but oh, so slowly. The first is all the same colors arranged as stripes, and still on the loom. The second is all the same colors, randomly. Each piece will be the front or back of the same shirt. I'll probably hold them up for approval, after they are fulled.

Friday, August 9, 2019

A day of fine surprises

This morning I kept a long standing breakfast date with Lynn and Jim, at a place in Kenmore renown for home fries. I had two eggs over easy, English muffins with jelly, and the crispy top of the half a plate of home fries. So good I did go one bite over the limit.

On the way home, idly watching the passing street signs, I saw Bisson Avenue. I asked Jim to go around the block and I showed them the part of Akron developed by my great grandfather, James Hogue, and Frank Bisson, his business partner. Since my last trip through, blocks and blocks have been redeveloped. Jim says by Habitat for Humanity.

To celebrate that, Jim pulled into Krispy Kreme on the way by. This is one of the few stores left in Akron, the first, and the store that still makes the goods. You know what I brought home for lunch. Red raspberry filled jelly donuts.

Since we were on a roll, I asked Jim to go through the drug store drive through to get my Lyrica script. I intended to play my new game. When the cashier asks "Are you aware of the price?" I generally reply "Let me guess. Is it three hundred dollars this time?" Since I donut holed, it runs around a hundred thirty.

I waited and waited. The question never came. Finally she asked if I had any questions for the pharmacist, and I said "Yes. How much is it?" "17.44," she replied. "It's gone generic." Very anticlimactic on one hand, and fabulous budget news on the other. 

But wait! There's more to tell. Some time ago I ordered a rug for the living room area. I expected it today, but finding it on coming home from breakfast far exceeded expectation. Lynn and Jim seem up for anything, and when they left, the rug was on the floor.

And if you thought that was the end, what could possibly be left, it was not the last surprise of the day. Hours later, eating supper, I heard clickitty clack. I looked over my shoulder, and to my surprise:

Yes, when I go shopping tomorrow for a high backed, high stool, I will also purchase double sided carpet tape, for those corners.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Faint hope

I'm worn out today. I started the day with the grocery store. I get up early enough to start my days early, but out and about still is a low priority activity. However, I really wanted to make stuffed shells, and needed all the fixins, plus some more containers to freeze the extra portions.

First stop the container store, second the grocery store. The good news, it was early enough in the morning to have the stores to myself. Bad news, no giant shells. I settled for giant rigatoni, not so easy to stuff with stuff. 

Worse yet, I stood so long at the counter stuffing, my back is in screaming pain. That's just something I must deal with, and the solution is a trip to the thrift store for a bar stool (with back!) to use at the counter for long, tedious tasks. Soon, I think.

Almost ready. When the timer buzzes, I'll take off the lid and let it start cooling.

My cat has yet to forgive me for leaving him for a week.

But rather than glare at me most of the day, he's playing big cat, little cat. I'm the big cat, and he spends the day annoying me. If I sit down, he's into the chair. If I lie down, he's beside me.

None of his toys hold his interest, so I bought a new toy. The online videos show kittens and young cats beating the snot out of this toy. There are three levels, and three inextractable balls go round and round. All the video cats are on the hunt for the balls, around and around.

Mr. Cat has demonstrated the ability to pin all three balls at once, look over his shoulder and telepath his opinion, "Is that all ya got, big cat?"

Monday, August 5, 2019

Wisconsin miscellany

We had an adventure. There was a pop, and a gauge on Ann's six month old car announced the decreasing air pressure. We waited quite some time for AAA, but help did arrive, and a chatty young man loaded Ann's car to the flatbed and me to the cab. It all came out right.

As ever, I photographed barns, and I found another old school house to photograph, too.

The road went on and on, under blue skies and white clouds. A beautiful week; it could have been longer.

I opened my door to this shadow on the opposite wall. The blind, my curtain, and outside, a mandevilla tendril, doing its thing.

And the mandevillas are in full bloom. The red mandevilla finally has put out blossoms!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Mitchell Park Domes

A lot of sightseeing went on last week.  Like all of us, there is a lot of her state of Wisconsin that Ann has not explored, and takes advantage of visitors to get there. We spent an afternoon at the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee.

These are conoidal (not geodesic) structures, a horticultural conservatory. I made a link to the technical description. Now for a picture heavy trip through. There are three domes, one for wet and/or warm climates, one for hot and/or dry climates. 

The third changes, and currently features a series of vignettes constructed by local groups. After a quick look about, I sat out the third. The mechanical elements of that structure made a direct attack on my hearing aids.

Outside, a sundial. Stand on the correct calendar month, orient the sun to your back, and your shadow rests on the time. It works.

The entrance, including all three domes.

In the lobby, there are scavenger hunt flyers. Young parents set the children the task of locating the plants listed. And with no further ado, the tour:

A youngster on the hunt.

I remember difficulties of photographing fish through water, years ago. I remember needing a polarizing lens. Either technology is advanced, or goldfish are different from brook trout. The concrete frog is very overexposed.

This photo collection is more a statement of me than of what I saw. The first half is dry region vegetation, the second wet region. There was a good deal of humidity involved, or not.

The TBI so changed my brain orientation, I'm now right brained, I guess. So, no description of the facts of each scene, just pictures. I'm used to it now; it's even a pleasant way to pass my time.

Apparently there is controversy about the future of the domes. One factor wants them gone and their purpose consolidated with other institutions. And those who love what they are want them to stay. I just enjoyed the hours.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Conversations on the road

What did I do on this vacation? Talked, of course. Ann owns a business and employs people, mostly high school youngsters, kids moving on to the next phase of life. She tagged along on blogger meet-up lunches with women her age and mine, engaged with the public in similar ways. 

In truth, she did much of the talking, my aching knees and I joining in. I am pleased and amused to report, Ann confessed she could have sent me alone, with nothing to worry about. And I resolved the knees on returning home, sort of. A discussion for another day.

I was about to start this paragraph: Millennials!  Actually, it’s worse than that. They’re called Gen Z in the literature. “Z” may have been appropriated as the next in the alphabet. Or, it may be “Z” as in the old cartoon notation of fast, fast asleep. Kids these days, as noted by we old geezers, respond to no stimuli we experienced or understand.

So, I’m sitting at lunches with adults dealing with Gen Z’s, who all made the same observations. Gen Z’s parents call and make their appointments. Their parents call them off work. Their parents even submit their resignations. “I’m calling to let you know Jane/John is quitting.” “And how much notice are you giving for Jane/John? A week, two weeks?” “Oh, no. She/he is not coming beginning today.”

When dealing directly with a Gen Z, any sentence ending in a question mark is met with a blank stare. There is no apparent recognition of the punctuation mark, or the authority of the person asking the question. When set upon tasks, the Z’s perform adequately, then mill about out of sight, or stand stock still, ‘out of sight, out of mind’, avoiding learning the next job. Or knowing the next job, commencing the execution.

All these points of discussion between Ann and the wonderful lurkers I found did not fall on deaf ears. I’ve had ten or more years of blank stares. The children come home from school with their self-esteem boosted, but little increase in understanding. In short; it’s a pervasive new system. Parents and teachers seem to have cheerfully quit knowing what is best, in favor of gaining the approbation of the children.

And then we would conclude a nice meal discussing the very few we have seen sent out to the world and rising to expectations. We despaired for the many who shunned a trade for accumulating all the debt associated with a profession.  There is not much left for we geezers to do. In due time we will exit stage right, hoping the examples and lessons we’ve left behind will have effect.

I see that worry about the results of the next election, and the big one, after that, are futile. We are left with speaking our minds and making our case. Generations X and Z will turn the election left or right, blue or red. We can only hope there are wheels in play behind blank stares.

I spent a lot of time in Madison, the beautiful capital of Wisconsin. Like my own Case Western Reserve, the University of Wisconsin, Madison area is maintained and upgraded University, Inc., USA. A pleasure to be in, ambiance to absorb, restaurants to try. And the bakery! In Wisconsin you must try every bakery. All those Swedes and Danes and Germans knew what to do with butter and flour!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Toby wishes he'd picked his home more carefully, I know

I picked up this kitten from a parking lot in Pittsburgh, eight years ago. Dr. Mike, my vet of thirty years, told me he weighed barely a pound, was four days old, and probably would not have survived a fifth day. 

All I had to offer him was kibble, reduced to mush in water, and how he fell on it! He wrapped his paws around the custard dish and demolished the contents. My sister was not home, and there were no unilateral decisions made back then, so the kitten and I waited.

"He's so cute!" my sister announced, and so he remained and I started a little blog about a little kitten. She made one further remark of note: "Another longhair!"

Back in the day I was a spinner, and routinely fell for "Can you spin my dog/cat hair into yarn?" And I could, and I did. Eventually I became allergic to cat and dog dander. I used to take antihistamines, and carry on.  Since the stroke, compounded by the TBI, that is totally off the table.

When I left home three years ago, Toby became mine in fact, punctuated by hairballs. I am too allergic to brush him, and Laura disinterested, so hairballs it was. Then I realized my boarding kennel also grooms pets.

They were not too keen on cat grooming, but I convinced them he is a first class woos, so they gave it a try. He indeed is a first class woos, and he's now down to a "short hair" hair cut, every six months.

In the event you don't read cat, 1) that is his back, and 2) those are angry ears. All he has to show for those damn bi-annual trips to Wisconsin is his magnificent tail.

See how he is grey from his arm pits down. That is a phenomena of hair cutting, or shearing.The black on his head and shoulders and tail are because the tips of the hair have never been cut. All the rest has been cut, and refracts light in a different manner than the uncut. Toby thinks there should be a test when you leave.

I had a wonderful time in Wisconsin. Tomorrow or the next day...