Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Little Bay

There were 20 tons of bolt metal per ship.
I live in the mid-Atlantic and am surrounded by interesting history.  There is a ghostly and mystical place nearby that I had always wanted to visit, but did not have the opportunity until recently when the access had been created.  This was another one of those special canoe trips.  There is something about a canoe that lets you slide right up and hear the ghost's sigh and smell the ancient air and sneak behind the bright day to snatch the history.  Besides you really cannot get deeply into this shallow and maze-ridden area by anything other than a canoe or kayak.

This place is a little embayment just off the Potomac River called Mallows Bay.  The day was almost cold and certainly eerily gray and misty with lots of exotic shadows.  Perfect for a ghostly paddle into and over some history.  The cries of a few water birds and the crash of leaves from the rare startled deer in the forest on the shore were about all we heard...except...well let me not get ahead of myself.  First, here is a little history, greatly shortened for there is a whole book on this area.

We have to go back to 1917 and WWI.  President Woodrow Wilson put out a call for building many more ships (ten times more) as we entered this war since we were going to move quickly and supply an American Army in Europe to defeat the Germans.  Because metal ship building was too slow and expensive, an engineer suggested the building of 1000 cheaper wooden cargo steamships to send across the Atlantic and past the many German submarines.  (I wondered if it even crossed the engineer's mind about the greater danger to those sailors making the crossing on these more fragile ships.)  Eighty-seven shipyards across the United States from the east to the west coasts got contracts to build this armada.  Bureaucratic delays and ineptitude and Germany's eventual surrender came as over 100 ships were completed with few to none crossing the Atlantic.  But an additional 200 ships continued to be built as the war wound down, and even as there were charges of poor assembly, leaky design and over contract budgets, the construction continued...sound familiar?

Eventually the fleet was mothballed along the James River at a large expense to the American taxpayer and finally offered for sale 'as is.'  A Virginia marine salvage company bought many for salvage of the metal, but accidental fires and sinking of vessels at their shipyard compromised nearby navigation and threatened the important shad fishery in the area.  The company was forced to move to the more remote area known as Mallows Bay and a massive facility was built to rapidly move this salvage operation along.  In one day a large number that had been towed to the area were torched in the shallow waters to reduce them immediately for metal salvage.  I cannot imagine the water pollution that resulted and the skies filling with acrid smoke.

The area soon became a graveyard for the remaining ships buried there because the stock market crash of the 1920's brought the price of scrap metal to a new low halting salvage operations.  Other entrepreneurial development near the salvage operation included bootleggers and floating brothels.  They were less accessible to the long arm (paddle) of the law due to the abandoned shipwrecks making navigation dangerous in the waters.  Of the 285 steamships built, approximately 152 ended up in this bay and today the remaining 80 or so lie at rest in all states of deterioration.  

The area became important once again when the advent of WWII renewed the value of scrap metal, but this value was only temporary.  The area was soon abandoned and now efforts are being made to keep it as an historic sight and as nature has grown to reclaim the area, an environmentally rich artificial reef has formed.  There has been some wheeling and dealing of a shady nature in recent decades due to the valuable real estate.  Only time will tell how protected the area will remain.

While quietly and carefully going between the sunken hulls and avoiding the dangerously protruding metal spikes that could poke a hole in our aluminum canoe, we did hear, without warning and with breath-taking suddenness, a single large explosion that boomed across the glassy waters' surface and broke the quiet air.  We held our breath waiting.  It must have been from the military testing base nearby, because, after a while, no helicopters or boats raced down the river toward the sound.  Just a ghostly and frightening reminder of wars, I guess.

These photos were taken at high tide and I hope to return in the summer at a low tide for even more interesting shots.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Post TG

Just a little update.  She appears to be a keeper and we are waiting with baited breath for a more serious announcement in the coming months.  Trying to be patient and realistic at the same time.

Well, I overcooked the turkey, but oddly it was delicious and I over-salted the mashed potatoes, and they were oddly enough quite edible as they went back for seconds.  No pumpkin pie this year, just her homemade chocolate chip cookies and my apple/cranberry cake which more than filled the bill for dessert.

Finished with board games and we gals beat the pants off the guys.  And really football because no one was addicted that attended this year!  Just nice background music.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big Food Day

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Why?  I don't have to buy and wrap gifts that may or may not be on needed and appreciated.  I don't have to decorate more than the table.  The day is all about food, one of my favorite vices.  It is all about cooking, a favorite hobby.  Even vegans will find enough to eat at my table.  It is all about being thankful for anything and everything that has happened during the year.  It is about the history of our country and the hard working people that held it together so that we now have this beautiful if somewhat dysfunctional democracy to shelter us.  It is (even if somewhat anecdotally) about the history of two disparate cultures coming together during a time of hardship.  It is not about a specific religion, so every friend and family member can agree on the reason for the day.  (All the whiners, complainers, and dieters please stay home.)

My TG day will be smaller this year which is a little strange for me.  TG is supposed to be lots of people and lots of food and with my family going different directions as my life moves on this is not always the case.  BUT it is supposed to be a time of thankfulness and I certainly have much to be thankful for.  My daughter has decided to go to the in-laws (even though mashed potatoes come out of the box, some people only eat chicken, and pies come from the bakery there).  My son is coming here and he is coming with his new girlfriend, so there will be some good reason to cook.  This will be the third time we have gotten together this fall, and that is super cool.  I am going to use the best china, my M.I.L.s silver (plated) utensils which I have NEVER bothered to use and buying some flowers for a centerpiece.  Weather is supposed to be cloudy with a 50% chance of showers...who cares!

May you have enough to eat and someone to share with on this holiday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

She Shrugs Her Shoulders Sometimes

My grandson is now into volcanoes for some reason.  At five years of age the volcano is still romantic and exciting in his mind and he loves the hot lava.

This image above is a scan from a slide that I took back in the early 1980's.  The mountain in the far center is Mount Merapi.  The photo was taken from an open area at the top of the house where I lived in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.  'We' hung laundry there. (As an aside, laundry was not done by was done by my babu cuci or laundress.  All laundry was done by hand and therefore had to be done almost daily.)  

There is/was a public park on the side of that volcanic mountain with a children's playground and picnic area that we walked to just off the roadside.  We drove up there every once in a while to get out of the noise and dust of the city and to enjoy the slightly cooler mountain air.

As you most certainly know, and can see, this mountain is volcanic, and currently very active.  It has erupted several times recently even causing the early departure of our President on his recent fall trip.  I imagine the area is filled with chaos and refugee activity these days as people living close to the eruptions flee their villages for safety.  My heart is with them and hopefully things will settle soon.  We were reminded of the volcano's angry energies when we lived there because we got earthquake reminders which I once wrote about here.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday 13---Things I Learned in Class

As you may know, I have been involved for almost two months in the pursuit of a Master Gardener Certificate.  Some cherish Emmys, Oscars, blue ribbons or even those rare blogger awards.  I am, instead, stalking the Master Gardener award.  This award requires substantial sacrifice in money ($175), time (12/ 2.5 hour classes and two field trips) and brain power (reading a 656 page textbook followed by an actual test).  BUT I am less than two weeks away from reaching my goal!  I still have to put in 40 hours of volunteer and leadership work and find some advanced workshop to take before 12 months pass.  This challenge is not for the light-hearted nor those who still have nightmares about going to school.  Now for the 13 since some of you asked how the class was going...the interesting stuff starts at 7.

1  Do not mow your lawn lower than 3 inches unless you want weeds instead of lawn.
2  A family of 3 can reduce green house gases by 275 pounds per year by composting yard and kitchen waste.
3  If your yard doesn't have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight you will grow only shade plants successfully.  (We have just 6 hours and we are not allowed to cut down our 100 foot we are being optimistic.)
4  Continually and excessively roto-tilling or digging your soil will bring up the 300 to 600 dormant weed seeds that have been waiting for you to release them for decades.  Thirty-year-old farmed lands have 'seed banks' of 100 to 600 million weed seeds per acre.  Bless the farmer!
5  Weed is a valid term among the experts...dirt is not.  If it has a broad tolerance for soil types, sunlight or shadow, and tolerates frequent cutting and grows is a weed.  "Dirt is what you sweep under the rug."
6  You can improve your soil, BUT you cannot change your soil type unless you use raised beds.  I will always be growing in clay soils no matter how many dollars I throw at it.
7  On the odd chance that you never knew...insects mouthparts can be designed for sponging, siphoning, piercing-sucking, rasping-sucking and/or chewing-lapping.  (I know....ewww!)
8  Plant diseases are always a challenge.  Potato blight (Phytophthora infestans) caused the death of more than a million people by starvation between 1845 and 1860.  Later this same blight, so famous in Irish history, also brought about the demoralization of the German army when they read about the starvation of loved ones in the letters from home, which added to the collapse of the German army in WWI.
9  Disease of rye called Claviceps purpurea causes ergotism.  The diseased tissue on the rye contains high amounts of an acid that we know as LSD.  This diseased rye defeated Peter the Great's army invasion of Turkey before it even began as both his soldiers and their horses became blind after eating bread made from diseased rye, or in the case of the horses, the rye itself.  There is some theory that the Salem witch trials may have been more about the effects of ergotism (seeing visions on those acid trips) on the part of both the accuser and the accused although the link was never proven.
10   Hydrangeas in our area almost propagate themselves when the branches are buried beneath the ground.
11  An asparagus bed can last up to 75 years!
12  Out of  more than 100,000 species of insects in the U.S. less than 10% are considered pests.  I think at least 9,000 of those that are considered pests have parties in my yard on a regular basis.
13  Reading and following carefully the labels on herbicides and pesticides whether organic or not is still the best advice you can give anyone if they find they must use them.

Just skimming the surface on things I learned.  Now go forth and plant that shrub or mow that lawn, and yes,  I guess I am a bit of a smarty pants.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Truth, the Whole Truth

I sometimes take hundreds of photographs on a day trip. I used to be conservative and clearly egotistical thinking that I should be selective and only try to take the 'best' shots.  I also felt going through 300 photos when I got home would be a headache. It isn't really...just deleting 99% is the tedious part.  I find that among those 300 there is usually one or two worthy of a post or adding to my collection. I realized that just posting these 2 or 3 was not a fair or realistic story of my photographic trips. So below is a more accurate photographic journey that I took in the canoe just a few weeks ago.  (The 3% will be posted on my other blog in the future.)

It was a beautiful if somewhat nippy fall morning.  We drove up to the landing at a small river that flows into a small bay that is a protected area for wildlife.  The foggy mist was just lifting from the water and made for a nice but not great early morning shot.  I had to carefully stand in some squishy wet grass that was just beginning to thaw from the early frost and to lean out across the water.  It was hard to see where the land ended and the deeper part of the river bank began.  I only got a few toes wet and cold which is the sacrifice one makes for a photo.

The air was crisp and the sky was a perfect November blue.  Some of the trees were still clinging to their colored leaves and the water was like glass.  I had my camera, my paddle, my paddle-mate, my warm gloves, my travel mug of hot coffee and a package of donuts.  Perfect for this little Queen, I thought.

I was able to manage a paddle stroke and a sip of coffee while resting my bismarck on the bow of the canoe.  I had the rhythm going.  Of course it helps that your mate does 90% of the paddling while you eat and drink.  As we got to the wider part of the river we could hear the geese that were sheltering in this preserve.  The sound of gunfire was intermittent in the distance which must have been making them leery.

We heard the geese chattering long before we rounded the grassy point and actually saw them tucked against the marsh. I immediately recognized the photo op and quickly set down my coffee cup which promptly spilled on my foot warming my previously chilled toes...but I got the first shot before the geese were bolting.  I watched them gently swimming away from us and grumbling to each other as I dabbed at my now warm foot with my wool neck scarf and uprighted my travel mug.  I lowered the camera and removed my gloves and took a bite of the frosting sticky donut and noticed the geese didn't fly.  I licked my chocolate frosted fingers as I pondered the hesitation of the geese.

Suddenly without warning and just to the back of my left shoulder a large flock of ducks broke the silence screaming in panic.  I rarely can get photos of our wild ducks, the above photo being a prime example.  They are very leery and so my heart jumped at seeing so many and so close as they raced across the bow of the canoe quacking and flapping.  I grabbed my camera covering the hand grip with frosting and snapped this blurry tilted photo above.  Then while trying to manually focus for a better shot I got more frosting on the lens!

I grabbed the damp wool scarf at my feet and brushed it across the lens quickly and leaning back in the canoe snapping this shot above my head as the ducks banked left toward another marsh.  Please notice the framing, the focus and the artistic use of lint which is not something I have seen on many photos.  (You should click on the photo for the complete experience.)

Oh, yeah, I also got this sharp photo of a hawk...feel free to identify!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


(As a pre-script today is our Veterans Day.)

It is not hyperbole to write that World War Two changed the world.  It was fought on 6 of the 7 continents and in all of the major oceans.  British historian John Keegan wrote "It killed 50 million human beings, left hundred of millions wounded in mind and body..."  In early November we had a cold spell but were entertaining family so ended up walking on the windy National Mall.  My son's new girlfriend volunteers one weekend a month at the World War II Memorial, and thus, we got a special private tour.  It is a vast and impressive memorial, the newest on the Mall.  In spite of this, my mind and heart collide when viewing any impressive symbol of the death of so many good people. 

I have just finished reading The Book Thief  about a young girl growing up in Germany during this time and the visit to this memorial was most searing that day as the images of what had happened in Germany were still in my mind.  I am also reading a true story about another war, The Reluctant Spy:  My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror by John Kiriakou where he confirms that evidence was beginnning to be manipulated by the administration in their commitment to go to war with Iraq back in 2002.  This administrative focus adversely impacted the CIA's resource commitment to finding bin Laden and ultimately led to CIA Director George Tenet's resignation.  Kiraiakou's job was to provide the intelligence reports that he found were so heavily redacted and even changed by Chaney and his staff.  This may well be the longest war.

The World War II Memorial Act was introduced by Democrat Marcy Kaptur back in 1987. It became a bipartisan effort in 1993 and finally was approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law on May 25 of 1993.

Four hundred designs for this memorial were submitted.  In 1997 an Austrian-American's (Friedrich St. Florian) design was chosen...which is karma...isn't it?   Actual completion of all of the details of the design by various entities did not happen until 2003.

Former President Bill Clinton appointed a 12-member advisory board and they raised 197 million dollars from citizens including 16 million from the federal government.

Design and construction was fraught with controversy including the location. People were concerned that the sweeping views between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Memorial would be blocked.  Thus they dug down below the horizon so that the sweeping view remains. The round pool in the photos was actually the Rainbow Pool which was already there.  The memorial was opened to the public on April 29, 2004.

The memorial is divided into the Pacific and Atlantic theaters of WWII on each side of the pool. The monument consists of hundreds of symbols in the bronze sculptures and in the bronze reliefs and in the inscriptions.  The placement of state names and U.S. territories was carefully chosen.  Materials for construction were also selected from various areas of the United States.  A concerted effort was made to recognize those women who assisted in the war at home.  I learned that the 24 bronze bas relief panels depicting the war years, at home and overseas, are made from actual historic photos.  The 4048 gold stars along the far wall (Freedom Wall) each represent 100 Americans who died in the war. 

An interesting fact that I learned and couldn't find on the web is that the two victory columns have wind monitors that change the height of the volume of water pumped into the fountain so that on windy days visitors standing nearby won't get wet!  For the next few years when visiting the memorial you will be able to see veterans of this war.  Most arrive in wheelchairs or with canes and walkers. There is a program of some kind that helps finance their visit including allowing the payment of an assistant.   Most just come with their families.  It is moving to see them come and look out over the monument in silence or while talking and reminiscing with others that fought this war with them.  Our guide did say that she occasionally gets a question from a visiting foreigner on why the Memorial is U.S. centric since it was a 'world' war.  She tries to be diplomatic in her answers.  Expectations on being the leader of a free world are surprising sometimes.

Monday, November 08, 2010


I looked outside into the sunny day that had followed a rain sparkly morning...but I saw nothing unusual or intriguing.

I looked around my room which was not too neat, not too messy, not even 'just right' and saw nothing of importance or intrigue.

I thumbed through the mail, clicked through the blogs, scrolled down the email and even stopped a half dozen times at FB for updates along the way...but nothing pushed my creativity button at this time.

I folded clothes and allowed my brain to wander with the soft jazz from my stereo... NOTHING was floating by!

So all you get today is a photo that may (or may not) stimulate a creative thought for your blog post tomorrow.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sane (and Insane) Characters

Part II on the Rally to Restore Sanity:  

When we arrived at the metro station our first clue that we might have to eventually walk was when we saw the mass of people standing in front of the ticket machines. There were about 7 machines and all of them said NO BILLS which meant they only took change...anyone got $6 in change for the round trip?!  There were two machines that took credit cards. What a nightmare! We stood behind a nice looking young man in his 50's with perhaps his son in his 20's. They needed a little help with the ticket machines which we 'tried' to provide as we pulled out our credit cards. They had driven for about 5 hours coming from Kentucky. He explained that mostly angry people attended rallies there and it was hard to have a civil conversation on issues.  He needed this rally was to help him realize that the whole country hadn't gone crazy.  (An example of this type of anger that you can meet anywhere was also be found on Peruby's recent post...Being a gardener I was surprised to find they even blame the pumpkin shortage on this adminstration!)

We finally got to the very crowded metro platform, and after waiting 25 minutes, a train arrived that was so full of people it couldn't open its doors.  We then realized that more time even hours would pass before we could get on a train.

Standing nearby we got to talking to a couple our age that had flown in from Monterey California two days earlier.  He had a business meeting, but they had decided before they left California to stay for the rally. She was an American citizen born in France and he was an American citizen born in in India.  She was as round as he was thin, but both were full of energy.  All four of us decided we had to walk to the rally.  Good thing they were regular bikers and we were regular hikers because it was at least 6-7 miles before we could catch a cab to take us the last 2-3 miles closer to the mall.

Once at the mall we had to wiggle and squeeze between many bodies to sneak closer to the front just to see the screens and be able to hear the speakers.  I stood mostly in a group of young people perhaps 18-25 years in age, but in front of me was a young couple with a baby (!) and directly behind us stood a retired couple.  My feet did go numb after standing for 3 hours...but that passed once I started walking again after the rally was over.

We waited almost two hours after the rally (getting some chocolate and cabernet savignon at Co Co. Sala's) before deciding to try to catch a metro home.  The crowds were still large but manageable.  On the metro we met and assisted two young college kids from Boston with directions.  They had to ride the metro out our way as they had a gift certificate for free meals at a restaurant on our metro stop.

This was NOT a political rally (no political speeches--no politicians) but a few signs carried by rally attenders made fun of the conservative Fox News Channel which had been caught reporting news using inaccurate videos or by focusing repeatedly on inaccurate re-statements said by their pundits.

As a famous liberal columnist said :  "The rally was a simple reminder that certain things bring out the best in people, and certain things bring out the worst. It's not that the people who attended the rally or watched it enthusiastically on television were nicer or better than those who didn't. It's that the rally tapped into the humanity we all share, but that is rarely called forth, shown, or celebrated by our media or our political leaders. As promised, the rally was non-partisan -- making the mainstream media's unwillingness to allow their reporters to attend all the more ludicrous. Not surprisingly, many in the media seem to have totally missed the point of the day, even though Stewart clearly laid it out in his brilliant closing speech. Better to miss the point, and dismiss the event, than deal with the witty but powerful indictment the Daily Show host delivered."

Having never attended a rally, I am glad that I went to this one. I still think that the reasonable people of this world will emerge as leaders and statesmen and that those of the angry rhetoric will be seen for the immature and uncreative approaches they are using in these trying times.  

I must say that I am gloomed by the fact that among those re-elected to high office recently was a Senator that believes that carrying AK-47 weapons is 'normal' and a right at a political rally, believes that repealing the Civil Rights act is not dangerous but a good thing for American business, and that stomping on the head of a small women by a grown man as another grown man stands by yelling is "unfortunate" but not necessarily something he has control over among his supporters, they are just so passionate and ardent about their beliefs.   He will soon be a very powerful person in our government in that he will be able to stop legislation single-handed via filibuster
(Apologies for the screwy fonts...Blogger has me on the ground with its foot at my neck.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I Was Sane for a Day

First let me preface this by stating that I am 63 years young and (to my knowledge) have never attended a rally. I guess I have always felt that no one cares about my cheer. Well, I happen to love the intelligent and funny humor of both Jon Stewart and Stephen I did attend the Rally for sanity and/or Fear on the Washington DC Mall on October 30th.

(For those few readers of mine who live in other countries these two men are very popular comedians on cable TV's Comedy Channel and have been making fun of the inaccuracies and exaggeration of news and politics on both sides of the aisle for several years. They end up hitting the truth on the head with their commentary. They lean liberal but are pretty careful not to affiliate with any candidate or party and consider everyone fair game.)

Officially from Jon Stewart the purpose of this rally: "This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies."
There were celebrities and funny skits and singing, but the goal was to remind people that discussions of our disagreements begin with dialog
...not shouting at each other or calling each other names.  Even violence was recently brought to light again when a supporter of the newly elected Senator Paul Rand brought a women to the ground at a rally and several men began punching her and one even put his foot on her neck!  Senator Rand refused to acknowledge the violence.

"According to the best estimate, using aerial photos from Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity," approximately 215,000 people attended the event.   The estimate was made by  That company is considered the most reputable as they publish the methodology behind their estimate, and also release the aerial photos they used to come up with their numbers. Others simply tend to use the non-scientific method of "I think" in coming up with their estimates. This company was commissioned by CBS News to come up with the estimate, and also has been hired by the Pentagon to do crowd size estimates."  

The Metro said they had sold over 300,000 tickets by 2:00PM and we could not get on and had to WALK 7 miles from our start point because the metro was packed by  11:00 AM. MANY of us walked. Later the D.C. metro posted this table after the event.  Over 825,000 rode that day...and many walked or drove!

Of course, some people will say that Washington, DC is liberal and that is why the numbers are so high, but this doesn't negate the rallies that took place in other cities across the nation nor the fact that the people I met and talked to....about 20 of them were 50/50 in terms of living in-district or even nearby.

BUT having written all of this above, the theme of this rally seemed to agree with this statement by social scientist Robert Putnam in USA today article:  

Our research for American Grace makes very clear that whereas religion and politics in the public arena are highly polarized, in our private lives Americans are much more tolerant and comfortable across religious lines.
Now more even than in the past, many of our most intimate relations, including our marriages and our "go-to" friends whom we count on in a crisis, cross religious lines, including the line between "religion" and "no religion."
But the angry public debate gives everyone on all sides of the issues the impression that we are in a no-holds-barred struggle of good versus evil. We are a lot less divided than we think we are, and that mis-perception is itself a big part of the problem.

Here are a few photos of the event and in my next post I will write about the people I met.

We had to walk from Ballston on the far left (no pun intended) 
to the far right of the map on the mall.  Shared a cab when we reached Georgetown.
 I am so in shape! (Click on photos if you want.)

There is the Washington Monument...only a few more miles to go, swim?

This was as close we could get.  Crowd was about 60% under thirty and 30% over up to
us oldies but goodies.  Mostly white but enough diversity to make me happy.  Mostly liberal
but also some conservatives...all moderates.

Tony Bennett (on the jumbotron in the lower right) sang God Bless America at the end.  
I never thought I would have the opportunity to  hear him live
and all our sacrifices were well worth it.
Here is the end of the rally about two blocks from the mall.  
Plenty of taxis around but not a taxi available for miles!  It was a real
love fest as absolutely no one ended up shouting or in anger or drunk
or on pot that I could see.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Variety Is the Spice of Life

I am a fanatic when it comes to variety. I can only eat leftovers once that week and either they get frozen, or the next time around have to be incorporated into something very different on the taste spectrum, or they get thrown out.  This theme is true with restaurants.   It is unusual that I will go back to the same restaurant without going to other restaurants in between.

I do not like to watch the same movie more than once.  (With the exception of Cars, Toy Story, or Tinkerbell because I love holding hands and watching movies!)  There are a few that I will re-see with lots of time in between but that is rare.  (Oddly enough I will watch re-runs of Star Trek or Public Television British mysteries until the cows come home, and we have no cows.)

I will go on a wine tour but that can only happen once or twice a year...then I am done with the whole wine thing for many months.  I am not excited about going back to any annual festival even if I have enjoyed myself the first year I attended.

I will only go to the art museum when they change the exhibit, even if the attendance is free.

I regularly juggle my music on my CD system.  Light Latin, movie themes, retro music, cool jazz and then on to independent international stuff or favorite singers for a while.

When I worked I had a rather large wardrobe because I would not wear the same outfit unless three weeks had passed.

I do get bored if I see people I know too often.  Fortunately my current hermit existence resolves that problem for both them and me.

I do feel that variety is the spice of life.  Thus my husband frequently says to me,  "How did you stay with me so long?"

That is a good question.  He is very predictable after 40 years of marriage.  Our lives are becoming even more routine as we mesh our rhythms together in this retirement.  I think I have fit in this relationship because he is high energy and I am more laid back.  When I need an energy boost I go with him.  When I want to read and drink a glass of wine or take photos in the yard, I send him on his way to his project with my good wishes.  He will compromise, and naturally, I will get what I want.

There are those that hate change in routine, love the coziness of the predictable and want every day just like yesterday if yesterday was good.  There are those who could fill every day with the repetition of their hobby or passion.

What about you?  Where do you fall on the spectrum?