Friday, December 30, 2011

The Next Journey

We are on our way to a new year.  A year that we fill with hopes, dreams, passions and successful ideas.  We tuck it tightly under our arm and head out, chin high, eyes clear, looking only forward with no backward regrets or reviews of past failures.  It is a clean slate we have before us with no marks or smears or scratches, yet.  We only see the clear blue of potential and the electricity of energy to meet that potential.  We get another chance.  We forget those embarrassments of ourselves and of others.  We will ignore the obstructions that were placed in our path by others and find a new way around them.  Our shoulders are square and our focus is determined.  This year WILL be better than last year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Rains

What a bitter afternoon this has been.  After a fall of calm and moderate weather the winds have decided to howl and throw biting rain at my windows.  The young oak trees that have held on to the copper leaves now flutter them like mad brown butterflies revving jet engines before taking flight.  If I must be sick, there is nothing more comforting than lying in a cozy bed and watching the cold gray battle from inside.  The wind roars now and again with angry energy to remind me of its power.  The river and sky are both the same angry gray color.

The whole day has been dark gray with copper browns of attached and fallen leaves, and now it is blanketed in wetness adding charcoal shadows.  I think about those who had to go to work, as I once did.  Having to hurry down sidewalks and clutch at coats and scarves as if in some Sherlockian story hoping to make it safely home by the fire by days end.

I almost feel good enough to start a fire in the fireplace this evening.  I want to bide more idle time as I heal.  At least when one is retired, one does not worry about all that is left undone at the office.  I get to worry about several piles of laundry...big deal!

I will have to plan meals tomorrow.  I have had no appetite to speak of for days, just soup and cereal were all that I made, but the bear I am married to is getting better and seems to want real food.  He was going to venture out to shop, but I am sure when he wakes from his nap, the weather will put a figurative and literal damper on that plan.

In actuality the weather is somewhat exciting and I feel no guilt in staying prone to mark its course.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

I drove back from daughter's house with a sick husband who toughed it out because he did not want to miss their Christmas.  All three grandchildren were sick with coughs and runny noses, but that did not stop them from enjoying a present-filled Christmas  My granddaughter opened the large box she had seen at my house when she was staying with me last week thinking it was a large fan.  It was fun to see her face when she recognized that it was the Barbie Dream Townhouse.  This thing is perfect example of materialism with food, a light when you open the refrigerator, a noisy shower, and a laptop among 50 other things.   Barbie does live the good life!

When I got back home late on Christmas day, the cold grabbed me by the throat and chest, shook me hard and threw me on to my bed.  I can't even remember if Hubby and I ate anything for dinner!

Last night was a disaster of coughing and this morning I have lost my voice completely.  Oddly enough it bothers Hubby that I can't talk to him and respond to his comments.   I always thought he felt I talked too much.  He tries to cheer me up by spotting a waxwing and a piliated woodpecker in the back yard. When I do not make an attempt to leave my bed he realizes I am really sick.  He is getting better, so now he can wait on me this day.

My chest congestion sometimes sounds like a cat purring and at other times a wheezy bellow.  I hate, hate being sick and am drinking lots and lots of tea, chicken soup, and coffee.  So much for starting on the New Year's list.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Greetings to You and Your Kin

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
~Ada V. Hendricks

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Fly--not at all in a Holiday Mode

Just like that aberration in the same-named movie, the fly started annoying with a soft buzz on her right side.  She had just settled down to read before bed.  Cushions had been propped carefully, the comforter tucked across her legs and lap and the book in the perfect halo of the lamp.  The room was cozy and quiet...except for that damned fly.  He was closer now.  She heard the buzz just behind and above her head.  How on earth could one have a fly in the bedroom in the middle of December?  Was this some Superfly that had hung out in the garage in semi-dormant sleep these past weeks just waiting for the door to be held open for the perfect moment so that he could enter this castle of warmth?  This was more than annoying and oddly a little scary.  She felt somewhat powerless.

She turned her head and saw it was a small common house fly as it darted beneath the brass lamp cover and sat so close to the bulb he would certainly fry.  She batted lightly at the lamp with her book and he flew out and away to another part of the room.  She could still hear the annoying buzz and soon it got closer once again, ever annoying and even more scary this time.  Was it going to fly in her hair, her ear, down her pajama top and buzz her to death?

She swung crazily behind her head with the open book and she could hear it once again dancing above her head toward the ceiling.  Maybe it was a little angrier,or was that just her imagination?

Sighing in frustration she knew that turning off her light and turning on the hall light and sitting in the dark would cause him to leave the room in pursuit of a new artificial sun and she could close the door behind him after turning off the hall light.  But her husband would be coming to bed shortly and opening the door and starting this whole war all over again.  She threw off the covers and headed for the laundry room to retrieve that high technology tool, a fly swatter.

When she returned there he sat on the wall as if it was summer sunbathing, just above the glow of the lamp.  She gave him her best shot, which was not good enough, since he darted once again under the brass cover of the lamp.  She prodded somewhat carelessly with the edge of the swatter beside the bulb and then was rewarded with a thwup as something small hit either the back of the mattress, or the pillow, or the floor.  She looked everywhere carefully.  She listened for many minutes for the awakening buzz.  Nothing revealed a fly.  Finally in resignation she carefully crawled back into her bed and renewed her nighttime rituals.  The evening passed without further incident.

In the morning she had forgotten the intruder as she headed to the kitchen for her wake-up coffee.
When she crossed the kitchen floor she noticed a small dot on the warm wood which upon closer inspection was the fly bathing in the light of the kitchen on his back feet up in the air with no modesty at all.  She didn't know whether to be relieved that he met his death or mystified at how and why he died here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Thus far today my birthday has proceeded according to a typical plan.

  1. Last night my granddaughter, who is staying at my house this week, had a horrendous nightmare and then proceeded to come down with a nasty cough the rest of the sleep for me.
  2. This is birthday breakfast at my house in the photo above.  E-Z prep.
  3. Last night hubby asked if by any chance I had purchased the cake candles when I went grocery shopping!
  4. This morning, on my birthday, hubby asked if I had come across the cake mix and candles that he hid!  He can't find  the bag anywhere!  (Don't ask, because I cannot answer your many questions on this.)  I have spent 15 minutes helping him look without luck.
  5. He finally found the bag under his jeans on his bedroom chair.
  6. The first, and thus far only, birthday call I have received by 10:00 A.M. was on my cell and it was from my stockbroker!  
  7. We are eating dinner out (the 3 of us) and I am hoping that the restaurant doesn't burn down today.
  8. My last gift today will probably be a cold from that precious little girl in the photo.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

J'accuse the Jacuzzi

It is like my private pool,
All white and big enough
for two to meet.
It lies alone most days
Waiting for my attention.
I fill it with water that is hotter
than a Japanese geothermal spa.
I enter naked and carefully
To sit not on river rocks
but a textured plastic bed.
The ointments dance with
the watered bubbles of air and
soon I am sitting in
a field of rain-bowed orbs
with burbled sounds
drowning my thoughts.
I am up to my ears in
pinks, yellows, greens and blues.
It is a glittering luxury.
Enough water to quench
the thirst of an Egyptian family
for months.
Enough perfumed balms
to satisfy any Cleopatra.
But I am no beauty.
I study my shell and
find I no longer recognize it.
It is covered in smudges
brown, pink, red and black.
Some smooth and some
like rough sand.
When did I lose my skin?
Did I shed it like some snake
and then step aside or 
did it flake away slowly
like cream-colored wallpaper
disappearing in the air
as I walked?
These days I must contort
like some gymnast
to enter and exit.
Some day I will not
be able to enter my private bath.
My limbs will petrify
ever so slightly but harshly.
I slip beneath the
white foam
and ask for forgiveness
and another day.

(Some may find it interesting that the photo above was originally a lovely sundog I had captured one fall afternoon.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Angry Birds

Fix your face she said.
He wiped the smile away.
She sat on the couch and focused her attention on the re-run.

It was just a squirrel
to run around and around
in her easily distracted mind - he understood.

He sat in the faded chair
by the window and picked
with one arthritic hand at the broken seam in his pants.

Fix your mind he thought.
Her eyes got that far away look.
Today was just like that long ago yesterday.

And it now appears
It will be a repeat of tomorrow.

(Something that came to my mind as I watched an elderly couple in the restaurant.  This is the life we all may dread, but some of us cannot avoid it.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Few Last Words

This will be the last post on my project for a while.   I will try to provide more interesting fodder for my readers on other subjects in future posts.   But I have continued to write on this story...there seems to be endless research that interrupts my every sentence.  Thus far I have researched flora in Australia, bakery goods in Australia, aboriginal names, and more on geology, mining, and mineral values than I will ever put into any book.  But it seems one must be able to swim in the deep waters before heading out to the cleaner parts of the pool.  (Geesh...what a weird analogy.)  Granny was correct in commenting that many have files of well-intentioned stories that seem to be still born.  But I am enjoying this project thus far and setting aside some time each morning to work on it.  It even is competing with my morning light photography of birds!  By the way, I actually sold a photo as a greeting card this week.  It is not about the money CLEARLY...just such a reward that someone wanted to buy a work that I created!  Well, I have to head out as hubby is banging dishes about in the kitchen and the day is well underway.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Project

Is it a good (?) thing that this motivation has continue to stay with me over the days? (If you are in a fog...see two prior posts.)  I am already thinking of how I could keep this story moving forward and more self-motivating...making it into short chapter stories before I weave it into the big picture.  Do I dare make it a New Year's Resolution?  I actually keep most of my resolutions so I do not make them lightly.  Well, time well tell as I usually have a lot of that after the holidays.  Thanks for the motivational comments, and those who did not comment I am taking as a polite but important pass which I must consider.  Enjoy you all.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Beginning

Writing the beginning story post below is like casting a net.  It keeps getting caught on so many rocks and shells and such. I have to research a zillion questions for these two people.  I have to research archaeology, opal mining, visas, Australia, and who knows what else!  So much for following the rule that you should write what you know.  I have the vague outline of a story that came in my sleep, and so, I had to capture it with this start.  The writing is OK, but not as image filled as I would like.  But, you either start writing while the idea is fresh or your wordsmith it into constipation while in gestation. I will work on this and see if it goes anywhere and be sure to let you know...if you want.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Self-imposed Exercise

Amelia had finally made the break.  She was at long last able to set her course for freedom and independence, far from the confines of her parochial small town at the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  This new job was in a remote corner of Australia.  She had scored a job with a mining company whose retrieval of opals had brought it too close to a possible human migration site.  She was going to be one of their required archeologists.  It paid very well, but her real pull was that it was far away from her family in Denver and the work she had been doing there.  It was far away from anything and anyone familiar.  It was a fresh start.  She would be on her own at last.  She needed the independence and the freedom like she needed fresh air and water to keep her spirit from dying of suffocation.

At least, that is what she thought.  As is so often true when we are young, what we want is what we want only until we get it day after day.  The dusty little wooden house that she rented near the town was barren and empty of personality.  She was far from any neighbor, and her late afternoons were filled with too much quiet.  She would take long walks with the strange mangy dog, who somehow captured the name "Mangy", and who had adopted her.  They would wander around the dry fields and down the dusty roads after an early dinner.  And as the days and weeks became months of this pattern, she began to second guess her decision to erase her former life.  For the first time in her life she began to feel a need for company.

She had recently noticed that the seasons were changing and the dry weather was moving on.  The rare passing truck did not stir up its usual tornado of dust as it roared by.  The air on that particular afternoon seemed cleaner due to last night's rain and many of the blossoms of the bumble tree on the hill she was passing had opened spilling their perfume down the field to caress her face.  She looked up and decided to sit in its shade.  Mangy ran on ahead as if anticipating her decision.  As she found a clear place to rest, she noticed a different smell, fragrant like roses.  She had not smelled roses in months and recognized the sweetness immediately.  She turned to her right and just on the other side of the hill in the flat grasses was a small cottage with an arbor covered in pink and white roses.  They were covering the roof tangling carelessly and almost blocked the shadowed doorway.  Behind the house the yard was in the deep shade of several large apple trees.

There were also small beds of other flowers, most still in bud at either side of the front of the small tidy blue house.  What was this out of place in this arid land?  Who spent the time watering and watering to keep this garden alive?  It seemed as if no one was home.  There was no car and no sound.  Mangy had gotten bored resting at her feet and turned to head down the hill toward the house having seen some rodent movement in the shrubs, perhaps.  She sighed as she knew she would have to follow him to keep him from destroying the flower beds in his quest for fun.

He was a smart dog and did not bark but approached his prey quietly like a cat.  He stopped first with his nose at the base of an exotic Sturt pea plant.  It had several of the well recognized and dramatic red blossoms with dark black centers.  Amelia was never unsurprised by the exotic and striking plant life that she encountered on this harsh continent.

She was just about to call Mangy back to her side when a figure appeared beneath the arbor deep in the shadows with only scuffed brown boots showing in the light of the sun.  As the figure moved more into the daylight she saw it was a man in his late 40's or early 50's with a graying beard and sun wrinkled eyes.  He stood in a plain tan shirt and worn denim jeans with his hands in his pockets.  She couldn't help being startled, embarrassed, and somewhat threatened by his sudden presence.  But the flood of emotions did not stop her from quickly and too harshly calling back Mangy.

Mangy paused and then returned to her side as he glanced at the silent man.

"I..I'm so sorry.  My dog and I were attracted to your lovely garden."

The man paused and looked somewhere over her head before saying, "It is not my garden."  His eyes returned to her face with what seemed hesitation.  He remained silent.

"Well, it is lovely.  Not a common sight out here."

He brought his lips together as if to speak and then just seemed to sigh silently as he studied her.

"Well, we enjoyed the view.  Bye."  Amelia clapped her thigh to indicate to Mangy that they were moving on.  They climbed the hill and she only turned back when she had reached the shade of the Bumble tree and the sun was no longer in her eyes.  The quiet man was not standing in the arch of the roses anymore.  He had silently disappeared back into the little blue house.

She kept the strange meeting in her thoughts all the way home.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Time Before

They once were unique and individual.  Some tall, some short, some medium.  They were thin and fat and muscular and lanky.  Their hair was brown or golden or fiery red.  When they aged the crown of hair on their head reflected the passing of the years by turning silver or white or disappearing entirely.  The purple and green and rainbow were not the crowning colors seen today.  The exaggerated curves were not the norm. 

Most were healthy with clear eyes and quick smiles, although their teeth were not the glowing white they are today.  Skin was not as smooth and tight as they all reflect now.  In earlier times, their skin was common and not covered with sparkling tattoos as it is today.  They talked with voices of all timbre and volume.  Laughter was a cacophony...not the LOL as it is today.

Their health was not so tenuous as it is now.  They weathered the changes of winds and attacks of germs much better with their own genes and immunity in more primitive times.  Now with the decades of use of designer foods and designer medicines, their bodies have evolved to a weakness that insures their extinction in the future.

We saw the future coming, but no one believed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

That Time of Life

(My guy readers can skip this one.)

Many years ago a stand-up comedian Roseann Barr had her own television show.  It was the counterpoint to Bill Cosby's upper middle class black family.  It was about the lower blue collar white family.  It was brash, loud and different.  While I did not like Roseann's character nor her real personality I did find the show worth watching as they tried to deal with issues of the day.  For some reason the show was almost like the reality shows today, in that you sometimes forgot it was people acting.  The dialogue was real.

Last week Roseann Barr, who now lives like a retired farm lady in Hawaii, guest wrote a column in Newsweek on how she had changed since she went through "the change."  She said she was mellower, calmer, less angry and more laid back.  She was an angry bitch in her earlier years, and that is why I didn't really like her.  But this column was so well-written  with touchstones you can believe that she wrote much of her own show.

Below just a few quotes that I found worth 're-quoting' on this article about menopause.

  • In discussing Madonna's May-December romance:  "Despite the Botox, spas and youthful boyfriends, about the time you acquire gray pubes, a clothing line not with Dolce Gabanna, but at Macy's, will be all the haute couture your dusty old brand can muster."
  • "After menopause, I discovered the joy of drinking wine, and of sinking deeply into writing and time alone."
  • "My three daughters are approaching middle age themselves, the age when the libido of a woman speeds up for a time, just before it has a stroke, goes blind and dies."
  •  "Hey for starters, we only get old if we are lucky!  Can we let the logic of that sink in Sisters?"
  • "Menopause is the victory lap over the curse of being born female!"
  • "Sometimes, as the months whip past now, like telephone poles from the window of a bullet train, I continue to realize how much of my life I spent firmly under the thumb of Mother Nature..."
  • "...what do I do with some of the time that I don't spend being whipped around by the desperate process of staving off the appearance of aging and all the rest of the crap we're sold 24/7?  For one thing, I meditate, and then think for a bit."
  • "I am here to say, we could use a lot more women who don't beome mothers of their own offspring, but instead Mother the world in a more expansive way..."
  • "You don't need a young athletic body or piles of money to read some of the world's great books; or to soak up brilliant music and art; or to grow something beautiful (and edible?) in a garden spot.  May your uterus remain relatively undisturbed during these, your glorious turban years!"
Seems that I have more in agreement with this lady than I thought...

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Whew. Everyone  has eaten too much food and they have finally left in their cars, one family to head home and decorate their house and the other couple to head to (future in-laws) the house of the girl friends parents which is a 6 hour drive north.

The house is peaceful and I am sure, once I find energy, I will be retrieving left-behind treasures and other nefarious surprises.  I still have windows filled with scotch-taped home-made Thanksgiving decorations.  I may just leave them up and write off the Christmas decorations altogether!  I have linens from the dining room and the bedroom and bathrooms to wash, crumby floors to sweep and bathrooms to clean (not sure why young boys miss more often than hit the target).

Fridge is stuffed with food and I am loving not having to cook for days only needing to make a few sauces and perhaps rice.

Hubby wanted very much to take a canoe trip today after we waived goodbye.  I really wanted to collapse and do nothing, but he really needs the water exercise for his peace of mind after days indoors with toddlers and I agreed.  It was lovely in the 60's. misty sun through the clouds and mirror still waters to make the ride so smooth.  Photos may be posted on the other blog.

While it was not a perfect TG (turkey was finished 2.5 hours early...another story if you request! and some toddlers had various melt-downs, my son-in-law and I try hard to find more to agree about) it was the closest I have been to a perfect TG in years.  I am blessed this year, and thus, will not complain on any future holidays that do not meet my  high expectations.

Having returned from the 4 hour canoe trip, I am going to heat a cup of apple cider and add some spiced rum and put my feet up and watch a little TV before heating leftovers for dinner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another American Holiday

I sometimes have holidays filled with guests, friends and relatives. Some holidays are quiet as I try to get through them by avoiding the crowds.  I am having a reasonable sized group of the above this year for Thanksgiving and started the shopping and cooking yesterday.  It is so much easier since I no longer work!  I am doing all the traditional cooking and decorating and planning and working into the traditional frenzy of a love/hate project.

Thus, I have decided to provide a link to a more subdued Thanksgiving that I posted about a while back, just to let you know that there are no best ways to celebrate a holiday.   It is usually whatever works and we just have to go with the flow.

Go to the link below for our box lunch.
Box Lunch.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Kerredelune brought this to my attention.  Get yourself something 'cool' to drink, put your feet up and listen to this:

Manhatten Transfer and Route 66

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I have been watching a retro TV show called Route 66 while resting my ankle in the afternoons. Route 66 was a famous highway in American history that ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ended at Los Angelos, California...a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).  This was the artery for those escaping the dust bowl recession in the 1930's, although the TV series was from 1960 to high school years!  This highway has been removed and replaced by the Interstate Highway system, but parts of it still exist and are designated as scenic byways.  It still holds its romance for many road warriors.  (If you have read any of my blog posts about my youth you know that I had wanderlust big time.)

I was a fan of the black and white TV series not only for the wanderlust it satisfied and the edginess of the stories, but also because there were two young male leads.  One dark, handsome, and rebellious (Buzz), and one well-educated, rational, and boy-next-door (Tod).  I had a crush on both males in the series and had fun fantasizing how the romance would pan out with each one.  My decision recently to re-watch a few episodes revealed how well written this series actually was.  The dialogue might seem somewhat derivative today, but then it was written more like a play with emphasis on characters and with the words that were being said more important than any car chases or stimulating violence or naked skin that drives TV series today.  The themes dealt with the difficult social issues that were at the forefront of the 60's decade.  Still, CBS producers (most likely male) were concerned about the heaviness of the show and wanted to see more "broads, bosoms, and fun".  The older generation was more widely and fairly represented than today, although the series was darker than the perfect suburban family shows of the 1950's.  A bit of information that I learned about the series was that Robert Redford had been considered for one of the parts.  The crew moved to a different location every week and Newsweek called it "the largest weekly mobile operation in TV history."  Perhaps, this series was the precedent to "On the Road" and "Easy Rider."

My son had mentioned watching something from his youth and commenting on how times have changed!  Just wait, I thought.  I watch stuff from decades ago and am fascinated by the even greater cultural changes today.  Since there are no cell phones characters must run or race everywhere to deliver those important messages. Sex and violence are presumed and not shown in glorious HD.  Both the leads were always well-groomed unless emerging from some day spent in blue-collar toil.  And blue collar work seems to be romanticized.  Buzz's darker side is subtly they would have him getting drunk or taking drugs.  The rich are rich but not disgustingly so and the poor are poor but shown sometimes through overtly pink romantic glasses.

Apologies to those who were looking for a more interesting post.  When I reached the well and brought up the bucket, this was all that sat in the sludge of the bottom.  So, let me know, did you have a favorite TV show in your youth?

Saturday, November 12, 2011 it all?

"In conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others," according to that virtual authority Wikipedia.  I have always had  a tug of war with vanity.  I would never leave the house without a good outfit, groomed hair and make-up.  But if I was hiking and camping I could care less what I looked like.  In contrast, at the end of a sweaty day of hiking hubby cannot take me to a restaurant of any stature.  I refuse to look that bad when eating dinner. 
I had at least 25 pairs of shoes when I was working full time.  Now I tend to purchase only sandals, tennis shoes, hiking shoes for this new life style but I have a dozen pairs of these in various styles and colors. 

Today, the problem is that I can only wear two pairs of tennis shoes comfortably since my injury.  Fortunately I have not been anywhere special in months and do not need fancy shoes.  I rarely attend the holiday fund raisers that are around the corner. My mother wore tennis shoes to my daughter's wedding beneath her long dress.  I honestly thought she was just being difficult, but now I realize I was the one who was being difficult.  Her feet had not been in fancy shoes for years and she was not going to be in pain all evening just for us.  She was never a vain woman.  I remember giving her a magazine haircut when I was 13 or 14 and being so proud of how she looked.  She just seemed amused.

Today I tend to begin to limp and walk slower if I have been on my feet for hours.  We take a flat long walk down a wooded trail and I find my vanity forces me to try to hide the limp and to try and walk more steadily, in spite of any pain in doing that, if I see other hikers!  I get irritated that hikers pass us on the trial when I remember I was the trail blazer in past.  If we stop to chat I find it necessary to explain my ankle injury so they know I don't walk like this without reason.  This must be vanity.
Recently, I had one of the clerks in the department store offer me a wheelchair from the front of the store and it took all my resolve not to deck him!  I try to hurry when people hold the door to the Post Office open for me, embarrassed that I cannot walk faster. 

How do people with permanent handicaps show such dignity as they hike through life?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

You Need More Greens

Many years ago when my son was a teenager just a year away from college, we had reached that stage that some families reach where you are terrified that your child cannot make it on his own, and yet, you are so sick of dealing with him that you want him out of the house.  Yes, some families do not have to undertake crises management with their children, and you are blessed.  You can believe it is because you were such a great parent, but in reality, luck of the gene pool has something to do with this.  (Your gene pool...not your child's.)  He did end up being forced to go to a therapist for a handful of times, which resulted in a diagnosis of depression.  Glad my health insurance covered this waste of time.  When he found out the insurance would run out and we would be paying out of pocket for the sessions he refused to go.  He insisted he was smarter than the therapist, and I actually think he was!  I tried to get him to test several therapists to find one he liked, but he has the same stubborn dynamic of his dad.  He wanted to deal with his life on his own, a sometimes dangerous decision.

Anyway, he did survive college (majoring in that super useful undergraduate degree, Psychology, oddly enough) and went on with additional training to become a successful sound engineer.  He recently won an award as sound mixer for the year from his company.  He still has issues with mild mood swings, but can deal with it without relying on drugs or alcohol.  We are blessed for that.

I remember his freshman year when dropping him off that I noticed a lovely woods near the campus.  I told him that was the place to work out issues.  Lone walks, intensive runs, whatever he could squeeze in to help with the stress of college.  He actually agreed with me.

To this day, we both realize that the great outdoors is the place to go when life seems so heavy you are down on your knees and knuckles facing the dirt with the hot sun at your back.

In the November issues of Newsweek magazine, Dr. Andrew Weil (one of those new age hippie philosophers), emphasized the importance of getting away from our artificially created environment whenever we can.  The noise of city life, the smells, the continual stimulation is ruining us.  The stimulus of technology which brings us instant entertainment, instant stimulation, superficial connections with people, and overwhelming information is not something our brains and senses were designed to assimilate in such constant and large quantities.  Most of us now have sedentary indoor jobs which are also unhealthy.  Our natural sleep cycles and other circadian rhythms are not followed.  "Human beings evolved to thrive in natural environments and in bonded social groups."  Depression has become so common that children today have been diagnosed with 'nature-deficit disorder.'

Sitting in a field or on a cliff is not as exciting as shooting down a helicopter with your remote control and not as compelling as checking Facebook on your phone every 15 minutes.  But I feel safe in insisting it will keep you alive so much longer and that you will actually enjoy your life so much more.

Now, turn off the PC and go talk a walk.

Friday, November 04, 2011

In a Fog

I am standing in the IHop waiting to be seated.  An IHop is not a dance hall nor a kiddie zoo with rabbits, for those who live outside the United States, Canada, Mexico or Guatemala.  An IHOP is a restaurant famous for its high-calorie, salt-fat-sugar rich breakfasts.  They also serve standard dinners and lunches.  It is very popular (especially with old farts) because the servings are large, the service is usually fast and the prices are not high.  It takes a really bad restaurant to screw up a breakfast of eggs and pancakes.  I am rewarding the healing of my ankle with my first trip to the outside world.  I admit that I am a fan of the International Crepe Passport breakfast.  (Doesn't THAT sound sophisticated? -International Crepe Passport*  Two eggs, two crispy bacon strips and two pork sausage links served with your choice of two crepes with fruit)  I do not eat both sausage and bacon, my heart-attack-waiting-to-happen husband is happy to help with those.  But I do order a side of hash browns which I split with him as well.  I do not weigh 250 pounds and this meal, over 2,000 calories, is usually eaten about 9 to 10 AM and pretty much the only thing I eat all day except for snacking at dinner!  Sinful to have such an abundance of food in a world where many are starving, I know.  Sorry, but like most liberals I carry my guilt to the food table.

Anyway, while I am standing waiting for the hostess, I notice a really sweet little 4-year-old girl in front of me with a 250 pound mom carrying a new baby.  The little girl is focusing intently on something in her hands.  The hostess returns and takes the mom to a booth.  The little girl remains standing in front of me.  I tap her on the shoulder and tell her that her mother is down the way.  The girl looks up at me and I see she has been intently focusing on an IPhone.  (IHop, IPhone?)  She is moving images and links across the screen like an expert.  She looks back down and continues her screen activities.

The mother gets seated a short distance away and gets the baby in a high-chair and then turns back to the little girl and calls her.  The girl does glance up, has heard, but still does not comprehend.

The hostess returns to seat us and I point to the mother as I place my hand on the little girl's shoulder once more before we begin to scoot around her.  The little girls looks up at me again with clear blue eyes and then back to the phone.  We walk around her and head to our booth and I will be darned but she follows us not looking up at all!  Clearly she is joining us for breakfast.

It actually takes some effort on the part of the mother and me to convince the little girl that she is at the wrong booth. Actually the effort is on getting through the fog of technology.

I hate these technological babysitters...they are a drug!  Thank goodness they were not crossing the street and it is amazing they made it across the parking lot.

(For a more enlightening day in the fog...go here.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Enduring Waiting Without Anger

Well, I am guessing the evil spirits of Halloween or the good spirits of All Saints Day have worked their magic as I am almost back to normal today.  Just the rare achy night and not being able to run are my worst problems!  Still cannot see my inside ankle bone, but swelling is only a 10th of what it was.

I was totally fascinated by the gradual healing which I monitored daily.  I could not push it faster whether I rested more or exercised more.  Yet, every day, probably because I no longer work and can stay at home and have few distractions, I noticed a measurable improvement.  This slow healing reminded me of so many things in life that move forward at a snail's pace.  (Actually these last two days I have been able to noticed a faster improvement if I took two aspirin in the late afternoon and then put my foot under a heating pad...this blood rush did make things better more noticeably.)

  • The slow emergence and growth of a seed into a plant.  You can check it each day and see the growth, but there is nothing dramatic or surprising in its changes, unless some rodent eats it to the ground.
  • Losing weight requires endless patience and if you give up just one day you will not see measurable loss.
  • Babies change so slowly if you are able to study and watch them each day.  They look toward your sound, than at your face and finally are able over time to focus on your eyes and then respond to your smile.
  • Good poetry must be read slowly, then re-read (out loud for me) and then over time it grows on you and thickens with meaning.
  • Love, real love that goes beyond sex and eye candy, takes such a long time.  The melding of good and bad habits and trust happens over days, weeks, months and becomes a strong if not beautiful foundation only over decades after all of life's tests and challenges have been met.
  • Developing an expertise in something comes only with time.  Talent you may be born with, but honing that into an expert skill requires time.  Malcolm Gladwell ( a somewhat controversial author) in his book "Outliers" writes about how long it takes to really become an expert. "Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. He also notes that he himself took exactly 10 years to meet the 10,000-Hour Rule, during his brief tenure at The American Spectator and his more recent job at The Washington Post."

I do not think it will take me 20 hours of walking for 10 years to be an expert at walking, because clearly I never had the talent to begin with!  My point is that everything worthwhile seems to take a lot of time and therefore we all better learn patience.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Holiday to Keep You Busy

(Monitor lizard at the zoo!  He is a little angry!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slicing and Dicing

(Being somewhat unable to get around I have pulled up something I wrote a while back and was never going to post.)

They came and took the teachers and all their things.
"You do not need this," they said.
Paints and chalk were placed on the cart.
"Creative thinking is for math and history."
The string instruments were locked in cabinets.
"Self-expression should be in sports or...
well, nothing else really." He said as he packed the make-up.
"We will tell you how to express yourself."
"It is not what you see in this room that is important,
It is what you hear that must be learned."
"Listen, repeat, and repeat again.
That is good."
"Don't you want to pass the test?"
"Don't you want to defend and protect the country?"
"Just fill in the blanks."
"Learning is so easy
Is it not?"
Is it supposed to be easy, I wonder.
"You do not have to add anything.
Just remember what you are taught."
"You do not need to disagree or
question or be so critical.
There is no time."
"Find a space at the end of the row."
"Do what you are told."
The classroom is so crowded.
The teacher is too busy to
attend to my individual quirks.
Science, poetry, acting and art are all too big
for my learning space now.
Sit get 30 seconds of directed attention.

Does anyone have a band aid?  (Photo was taken at the Zoo.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It has been eleven days since my careless accident.  The swelling is almost gone!  The pain, while at times unbearable if I twist a certain way,  is mostly minimal as I limp around the house.  I feel lucky that this was not as bad as it could have been at my age!

My cabin fever reached a peak yesterday and I asked hubby to take me for a ride in the country side.  Our goal was to reach the mountains which are about 2 hours away, but along the way we encountered a detour.  It seems a bridge had washed out in the last storm and the road had to be closed for repairs.  This was a major state road. I live in an area of meandering coastlines and rivers and marshes.  Some of you know this means there is rarely a straight line between two points.  This a bridge being gone means we had to detour an hour north to find another crossing.  Sometime during the long detour we decided to fore-go the mountain trip and just explore the nearby countryside and visit a few state parks in the lovely fall..

We pulled over to the side of the country road that passed beside neat Amish farms and brought out our road map to see what might be close (the Truthsayer -GPS- was in the other car).  While holding our heads bent close over the map we heard a loud tap at the window on the driver's side of the car.  We looked up and saw a women in her fifties with frizzy hair, casual clothes, and a very tired look on her face.

Hubby rolled down the window.

"Can you give us a ride up the road." she asked in a gravelly voice caused by many years of smoking.

We both looked at the 'us' and her companion was a twenty something girl dressed in a red striped shirt and too large flowing plaid pants.  She could have been wearing pajamas or a costume.  Not the type of clothes most 20-somethings would be caught dead in.  Both looked pleading and the older woman was panting as if she had already walked a long way.  We hesitated only shortly and complied.

I could smell the cigarette smoke as they entered the back seat.  The trip several miles up the road was to reach a friend's house since the woman's car was no longer working.  The woman just oozed stress and was a very sad candidate for living as she explained how her luck had run out this month.  A sister had just died of cancer, her father had just passed away and the house she inherited from him was being managed legally by another sister who had borrowed money against it and had a gambling problem.  This morning the final bad luck was a car that wouldn't start.  (Yes, I have encountered story teller shysters before, but these people did not ask for money and were able to look me straight in the eye.)

We dropped them off at a small rural house with several cars scattered around the open field.  While we felt sorry for their situation, both hubby and I felt more sorry for the young girl who followed her mother up the dirt road to the door.  Already in her short life she was trapped in poverty.  She would probably marry the first economic light that entered her life and if her luck ran out she would be just like her mother in a decade or so following the same mistakes.

These are some of the people that President Obama says live paycheck to paycheck.  They are not smart nor industrious nor understanding that they make some of their own bad luck.  But in earlier times, before this recession, I wonder if their life might not have been so harsh as they got by week to week. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Alright, already.

You asked and thus you shall little Halloween ghouls!  Sorry there isn't more black and bluesing for your blood lust.  (And, yes, the glitter toenail paint was on long before the accident.  If you look closely you will see the legs have not seen a razor in weeks!)

I managed to be on my feet for two hours this afternoon at a volunteer training session.  I am now resting up, but I am getting there little by little.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If Wishes Were...

I know he is trying to be helpful and showing concern but:

I wish he wouldn't ask me if I wanted my morning coffee and then totally forget.

I wish he wouldn't volunteer to vacuum the main floor of the house and then go downstairs to the basement and forget to shut off the vacuum....or forget to put away the long snaking cord that lies like a booby trap in front of the bathroom door. (Yes, it was due to a phone call.)

I wish he wouldn't make a simple stir fry and find it necessary to use every counter space and most of the cooking utensils in the kitchen.

I wish he would accept that dishwashers are environmentally good appliances and not wash 70% by hand and pile things in the drain until they begin to fall away.

I wish he could make it safely back to bed at three in the morning without banging into the bed, swearing, and causing me to slide up against the headboard.

I wish he wouldn't go grocery shopping and forget to bring back the one item I asked for.

I wish he would remember to finish the laundry and not just start it as I struggle to get the wet clothes out of the machine and into the dryer while balancing on one foot.

I wish he would check the mail before bringing it home and finding that no less than 5 of the envelopes were supposed to go in the box next to ours.  (I must admit that this mail snafu rarely happens.)

I wish I liked chile three times a week.

I do not have to wish that he stays in a good mood because he is the eternally happy guy no matter what he must face.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Using What Works

Such a lucky lady I am. I am healing and I can actually feel and see the difference each day. I was religious the first 48 hours in applying the ice at intervals. I stayed off my foot as much as possible and elevated it. Today, 4 days later, I find I no longer need the hiking poles to walk around the house although I limp like a broken wheel across the floor.  There is not much pain if I am careful in how I move.

I must get better sooner rather than later as this morning when my husband heard me hobbling from the bathroom he asked if I was ready for coffee.  I called back in the affirmative as I settled back into the bed, and then 45 minutes later when no coffee smells were even wafting from the front of the house, I hobbled into the kitchen to see if could start something of my own.  He looked up from his book startled and said "Oh, gosh, I forgot.  I am in the middle of a major Civil War battle!  The Battle of Gettysburg."  This nursemaid thing is clearly NOT HIS thing.

Being a semi-invalid does erupt a smack against the head to remind one of how very, very, lucky they are!  The ability to use both eyes, both ears, both hands, both feet.  What a luxury of life!   But being able to adjust, to accept the pain, the compromise in activity, the slow down and to be willing to be patient about the support of others is also an important lesson.  I consciously made an effort to find joy in whatever small things this slow down forced me to notice.  The dance of the afternoon light across the bedspread and through the trees outside, the sound of the wind, the quiet of a well-loved house, the distant activities of a partner, and the taste and smell of food.  All of these I tried to be consciously thankful for to distract me from the impatience.  I am a perfectionist and in old age I have tried to temper that character flaw aspect with a more compromising attitude.  It doesn't always work...but for these 4 days it has.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cherry-Picken' Pain!

My mother, when she was a few years younger than I am now, was home alone most of the time since my father continued to work waiting for full social security.  He usually worked about 60 miles away from the farm.  One autumn my mother was in the process of picking cherries from our three cherry trees out back by the chicken shed.  She got a bee in her bonnet that using the ladder was not getting her high enough.  (What she was doing on a ladder on uneven ground all by herself at her age makes me shake my head?!)  Anyway her attempt to climb higher in the tree to reach the last of that red ripe fruit resulted in her taking a nasty fall.  She broke the heel of her foot upon landing, and nothing else thank goodness, and had to drag herself about 80 feet across the mowed field, over a dry irrigation ditch and over the gravel driveway into the house and eventually to the phone!  I remember her telling me this story, but I was not as impressed as I should have been at the time.  (What a little twit I was.)  I also remember her complaining at how her other remaining children, all living close but elsewhere with full-time jobs, didn't help her much.  I am sure they did as much as they could with their busy lives.  My mother also loved playing the martyr.

This incident came back to me while I was lying in bed this morning greeting a new day.

Yesterday, my husband and I using a much too small dolly were attempting to move one of those huge old fashioned television sets from the garage to the attic storage in the closet of the guest bedroom.  This old TV belongs to my son who had left it at our house along with a small collection of other furniture since he was moving into his girlfriend's tiny house a few weeks ago. Husband was above pulling the dolly and I was below holding the TV against it.  We had just reached the top step of the stairs which has a larger lip when the television flipped off the dolly platform knocking me down a few steps and then landing on my foot and lower leg mashing them against the steps as I fell back.  I held my ground fearing I might fall all the way down the stairs as this appliance rolled over me.  I managed, although in the early waves of pain. to drag my foot out from under the TV and to put the back of my shoulder against the set and scoot slowly down the stairs allowing the TV to follow against my shoulder.

Hubby could not help because he was at the top behind the dolly and it happened too fast for him to attempt anything.  I reached the bottom step and move away while the television slid to the floor taking a piece of the skin off my forearm as it did so.

I managed to limp to the nearby couch before the shock set in.  Eventually I felt waves of nausea and waves of pain and found myself involuntarily hyperventilating, until my body finally adjusted to what had happened.  After several hours of ice-on and ice-off and two Aleve, I had decided that I had not broken anything because the pain was bearable.  I was also very lucky in that I spend time, after lifting leg weights two or three times a week, stretching all of my joints including my ankles to keep me as flexible as possible.  That has given me some good resilience and bone mass.  We have talked to our doctor friend and all agree an x-ray is not necessary as my pain is easing and I can put some light weight on the foot.

Yes, we were idiots trying to get that 80 pound monstrosity up the stairs. I had told my son to just leave it in the garage since I hadn't decided where to store it, another mistake!   My husband had his adrenaline kick in and actually lifted the set and carried it upstairs by himself shortly after!  Probably another mistake but I was too busy trying to bear waves of pain to protest.

Since it was going to continue to be my lucky day, within 30 minutes the TV news stations were warning of tornadoes and major storms moving into our area and showing a lovely home missing its roof just about 200 miles to the south of us.  No way I was moving to the basement!  Luckily the storm missed us.

This morning my left ankle is now twice the size of my right ankle, but the religious application of ice every 20 minutes today, should continue to help keep the swelling at bay.  I am told that the swelling caused by fluids causes the majority of the pain.  The ankle does not appear black and blue which means little blood loss inside, another plus.

Lots of time to write a long post on this laptop but no way to search for an appropriate accompanying photo as they are on the other PC.  Of course, today the sun is brilliant and the angles are perfect for some photography.  Wouldn't you know it?  Then again, I could take a photo of my ankle....Nah!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday 13 # 35 - More Free Advice - via Definitions (!)

Yes, I have changed the mask of my blog. (Don't you love the jig this bird is doing?)  Hope you like it.
  1. Photography.  When photographers say the camera used does not matter, that is 50% true.  A good capture can be made with a cheap point and shoot camera...but a good lens means you have a much better chance of getting that capture closer to what your eye is seeing.
  2. Gold.  There is a BIG difference between buying actual gold as a investment and gold stocks.  Do your research or you will be out a good chunk of money down the road.  (Same advice for reverse mortgages that seems to be promoted this year on every single channel.)
  3. Loneliness.  Most people are "people who need people" as Ms. Streisand has sung.  But many creative souls are perfectly happy being alone and we should understand and respect that.
  4. Parenting.  When you are feeling critical of how your parents reacted to you at some time in your life, just put your child in that same place and think how you would/did react.  (Of course, if you don't have kids, you may have to manipulate this a little for the lesson.)
  5. Losing Weight.  The only thing that works, and it is not guaranteed to work exactly as you hope,  is eating less and moving around more.  Just because you don't end up looking like (insert fav skinny/ripped celebrity name here) doesn't mean you aren't getting so much healthier and happier.
  6. Compromise.  In our complex world compromise is essential in moving forward, whether you are an environmentalist, a tea party protestor, a politician or a parent.  "My way or the highway" only works in Hollywood Westerns.
  7. Pets.  These little organic entities have been proven to enhance, purify, save, and add fun to a life.  If you are allergic you should adopt an animal at a preserve as a remote pet and it will indeed improve your life and help save the world.
  8. Trust.  You should trust everyone in the beginning.  Yes, you will get blindsided once in a while, but you will be rewarded more often with justification for that trust.  (This is why I am so against the political fear drum that is being beaten to death every day.)
  9. Gift Giving.  The best ( and least expensive) gift you can give anyone is time.  Time that gives someone a break to be with someone else, or be with you and your effervescent personality, or just time for them to take a nap!
  10. Moments.  You must try each day to grab some of these and stop and breathe and really look at them closely using every single sense you have.  Surprised?
  11. Religion.  Everyone has one even if they say they don't.  Something is your motivator each day.  People believe in something, even if it is their own powerlessness.  Only you can change your religion, others cannot.
  12. Cantaloupe.  A poisonous and deadly fruit.
  13. Keys to Happiness.  A sense of loving one's self and not giving up...ever...except on those battles that will not win the war,   What war?  The one that fights for you to live your life and not some other person's.
(I searched 'advice' on my blog and came up with 100 entries.  I am the most obnoxious and ego-inflated person I know!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My apologies to the strict and effective writers on my recent sloppy post where I tossed  "person"  or point of view back and forth like a football.   I was just being out to lunch, I guess.  Thanks for wading through the post!!  I will try to be better.  I promise.  Please continue to drop by.  If you didn't notice which post was so sloppy then you are my BEST reader!!!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Three Day Weekend

What do you do on a three day weekend?  Plan a BBQ with friends?  Take in dinner and movie with your love?  Sleep?  Finish most of the stuff on that to-do list?  Chauffeur children hither and yon to their well-programmed activities?  Hit the outlet mall and spend a small fortune?  Volunteer at the fair?  Finish reading that best seller and watch fall creep in?

Well, Tabor is going into the city.  She will probably not shop nor visit the museums, although both of those might be fun activities since Tabor lives in the remote rural woods.  She will pick up her jet-lagged husband from the airport and take him to her empty daughter's empty house (they are visiting friends), and watch him fight the sleep genie for hours before he becomes a mummy in the guest bedroom not to be heard from for hours.  She will get him up around dinner and have him take her out to a nearby restaurant and she will listen to him tell her how successful the trip was.

That night he will be restless and by morning they will both try to plan some activity for the early part of the Sunday knowing full well that jet-lag will rear its sleepy head by early afternoon once again.  Tabor will then heat her homemade chili and cornbread and wait for her children and grandchildren to return to their house and enjoy having them, if only briefly, all together for dinner.

The following Monday holiday she will be babysitting all three little ones...a mind boggling, exhausting challenge as the littlest one now CRAWLS!  Hubby will pretend he is helping.  Then late in the day after the grandchildren's parents arrive home from work she and hubby will escape to the house in the woods and let them worry about their own dinner for a change.

What did you say you will be doing?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ten+ Things I Learned

Vacations are learning experiences.

I learned that lighting, thunder, and hail will still turn me back from a high mountain hike to reach a silver lake even if I did see a moose dart into the distant underbrush.

I learned that salami, crackers and fresh fruit are wonderful when eaten in the fresh air and beside a rushing river.

I learned that the desert blooms year round in spite of its sparse reputation.

I learned that petroglyphs and pictographs are EVERYWHERE.  Early native Americans lived a pleasant life in this desert with lots of time for art.

I learned that booking a B&B might not mean what you think it means.  Ours was a re-modeled church in a small mining town and the breakfast was a serve-yourself across the street at the sister motel!

I learned that removing mud from vehicles can be a big business in a land with "off-roads" and lots of mining equipment.

I was reminded how dangerous floods are in the desert as we encountered several washed out roads.

I learned that getting a glass of wine or the odd margarita is harder than buffalo hunting in New York City.  This is Mormon country and, as one waitress said, "Getting a liquor license out here is impossible!"

I learned that the best enchilada and the best Margarita can be found way out in the desert at the Cafe Diablo in Torrey, Utah.

I learned that when the restaurant(s) say(s) the meal comes with scones...these are fresh and delicious products, but they are NOT scones.  They are what the rest of the world world calls a hole-less doughnut.

I learned that I am not too old to learn something new.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Surprise

Upon my return from my 2.5 week sojourn I re-entered my domain with new energies and new eyes.  I saw that my windows truly needed some serious cleaning.  I have LOTS of windows, so this is no idle undertaking.  I started with the kitchen and living area since these are the ones with the views of the woods and water that I use the most.  Three glass doors and 11 windows of casement or sash!  (I have 27 windows or glass doors on the first floor alone and this is why, to date, I have not hired anyone to wash them.  I struggle through on my own spring and fall.  The sash ones tilt out and are very heavy, so my history of doing this on my own will reach a point in time where I have to ask for help.)

I looked up window cleaning solutions on the Internet, got a spray bottle, rags, paper towels and got busy.  I put something on the big screen TV to keep me from going insane with the 'wash on-wash off' nature of things.  Three hours later I had finished that part of the house.  As I went to close the last casement window above the kitchen sink, it refused to shut completely.  I tried opening and closing and after a few minutes I got up on a stool and saw that the cross hinge at the bottom was not attached to the window.  I worked for another 30 minutes trying to understand its dyslexia and even used some WD-40, but could not get it attached.  Another session of huge rains was starting, so I climbed down off the kitchen counter after closing the window as much as possible. 

That next morning I perused the yellow pages, the Internet, and Angie's list and found that my area is so nice and rural that window repair companies are less than a handful.  I picked the first and called at 8:30 AM.

"Hello?"  (He sounded like I had gotten him out of bed.)

" you repair window hinges?"

(short pause)...."yeah."

"I have an Eagle casement window that will not close."

"Um...where do you live?"

I gave him my address and he perked up a little.  "Oh good, that is just a mile from where I live.  I could get there in about an hour."

My antennae are already vibrating.  (An hour...does he not have any business  today?  He is so lazy he only works a mile from home?  He doesn't even identify his company when he answers the phone!)

He was intelligent enough to ask for my address before he hung up.

Well, he did finally arrive after about THREE hours knocking loudly instead of using the doorbell.  He was a 50 something overweight fellow accompanied by another young 30 something man with long hair who looked a lot like Colin Farrell.  Both were dressed casually, but at least clean and pleasant in demeanor.

"Do I have to take off my shoes?"  he asked standing in the doorway.

Tabor who has the spine of a worm looked at his heavy construction boots and said "Only if they are really dirty?" I really need to buy some hospital shoe covers.

She directed both of them to the kitchen and they began to test how my windows open and close.  As they proceeded, the older man asked the younger if he had a small screwdriver and the young man replied that it was in the van.  I provided a screwdriver from my took kit to avoid them tracking more dirt in and out of my house.  They also needed some wood glue, a small finishing nail and some pieces of wood...which I again provided from my handy took box which I had now placed on the kitchen counter.

They studied the identical working window beside the broken one and within minutes they had completed the repairs.  The younger man went out to the truck to get something and the older man turned to me and smiled and shrugged his shoulders sheepishly with his hands in the air.  "Well," he began, "Don't know what to charge you...Why don't you just give that young man something?"

That left me a little speechless.  I was expecting an invoice and a minimum of a $50 visit charge. 

I smiled  with a little guilt and took $20 (all the large cash I had left out of my wallet after my recent trip) and gave it to them. 

So now I guess I really do live in Mayberry or Our Town.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Now Do You Fell More Secure?

According to a recent Newsweek article the U.S. currently spends over 628 billion dollars on security since the tragedy of 9-11.  This money includes 3 billion for the airport body scanners and the necessary staffing for them over the years.

My recent return from Denver required me to use one of these scanners for the first time as I went through airport security.  This masterful technology designed to keep us safe is a glass (or plastic?) round booth and reminds me of those sound booths they used to have on quiz shows on television, except smaller.  I placed my feet about six inches apart on the stenciled footprints at the bottom of this booth and then the female security person asked that I put my hands above my head, as if I had a gun pointed at me.  The scanner moved around me in a complete circle giving me a dose of  "sub-dangerous' x-rays while someone gets an eye full of my 60+ year old body without the mask of clothes. I am sure she said to herself something like 'What great shape this old lady is in!'  I am guessing this because of what happened later.

After this was all completed she told me she had to run her hands over my abdomen, and she did, ever so gently and carefully, just like a lover.  (Maybe we are almost engaged now?)   I could not resist looking her in the eyes (an attractive 20 something) and saying softly, "I'll bet you just LOVE your job!"

She looked gently into my eyes and said "Yeah" and then grimaced slightly as she walked away.  I guess the romance is now quickly these fickle 20-somethings back away when you try to take the relationship up a notch.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Still Spinning

Trying to slow down now that I am back home.  Bunch of deadline mailings, unpacking, laundry, shopping (since my fridge is still empty from the hurricane visit), emails, land line voice mails, fall stuff and I still have not found time to get outside and check the yard and potted plants.  I hope sometime soon to look at a calendar!

Also trying to get back into the rhythm of being at home.  I am still in rock and roll mode and home is operating on smooth jazz.  Hubby is leaving for a long trip in two days, so trying to get ready for that as well!

I like visiting my relatives every few years.  I do not look forward to it, but once I am there, I realize how important it is to keep in touch with them and how much I do love them with all their idiosyncratic behaviors.  It is so true that ageing hardens your habits and opinions to phobic behavior and I wonder if I appear the same way to them.  They are a mixed troop of conservatives, liberals, shoppers, do-it-yourselfers, rich, poor, hard workers, indoor and outdoor people.  Fortunately disagreements are kept to a minimum when they get together, so they would not make a good situation comedy on fall television.

Weather in Colorado and Utah was lovely with a little more rain than one expects in high desert country.  I took lots of great photos and I will share just a few.

I am still attempting to catch my emotional breath and absorb it all while I push through the errands and tasks of re-opening a house that has been closed for several weeks.  Greeted by a baby black snake at the garage door; just missed running over a tiny box turtle on the driveway; watched a ground-hog devour the clover in the front yard as I drank morning coffee; and am amazed at how many little spiders I keep finding in the corners and fabrics of my house.  It does not take long for the woods to take over once you are gone.  Downed fences and trees still remain for clean-up.

I have been able to catch up on about 60% of everyone's posts, but must admit I cannot finish it if something important happened in your lives (that you want me to know about) let me know in your comments.  You are, after all, my other idiosyncratic family.

(Photo above was taken from my brother's mountain get-away in Colorado.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wrong party!

So I have returned and am getting ready to write a new post and find that I am getting a malware message on my site when I try to bring it up and then edit.  I have been told that I have a bad link from".  For some reason Google has flagged it and when I omitted my link to "Imagine" blog from Kenju, it seemed to work. At least I think it is now working and will only know when someone comments.  What on earth have you guys been doing while I was gone??

Monday, September 05, 2011

Solitary Creatures

Hearing the sigh of air through the rooms of the house
Feeling the fall of the dust through the sunbeams
Creating the echo of a distant laugh from memory

No other soul to share this faint laughter
No other being to study my countenance
No other person to worry about my sloth

The day moves slowly with no rhythm
Just the length of the shadows skirting the lawn
To remind me of the passing time

Today's solitary activities create
No regrets or anxious goals to be met
or concerns for a different tomorrow

All is at last at an even keel
The balance of a perfect floating bubble
And this I will treasure for the whole of time.

(Oddly enough, this was written before the adventurous weather ride we recently took...perhaps created due to the prior drop in air pressure on my brain, you can see I was in a very different state of mind before the storm.)

Planes, and Trains and Ferris Wheels

I have no idea what the title of this post means...just sounded nice in my mind.  Beginning travel in a few days and not sure if I will have Internet access.  Might be good for me to just deal for a while.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

At Last

Power came back on yesterday.  Almost 4 complete days without water and electricity and the loss of hundreds of dollars in food and I am still not complaining...although slowly becoming exhausted.  We brought the Princess (my 4-year-old granddaughter) down here yesterday and she was forced to entertain herself much of the time while I washed out the refrigerator/ freezer and the chest freezer.  The positive side is that both of these fancy appliances are now sparkling clean even if  mostly empty.  We had dragged the old Grumman canoe up into the back yard and tied it to one of the stronger trees.  Hubby left it upright so that the rain filling it would also stabilize it.  That also meant we had lots of water for flushing toilets, rinsing off and washing stuff since we are on a well and there is not water when the water pump is off.

We had also filled several large camping containers for drinking water, although we had enough bottled water to get us through those days.  Two of the days we stayed up at my daughters because she needed someone to watch the little girl while everyone was plugged into jobs and summer camps and that allowed me some computer access.

I think I missed the Blogging and FB and photo access the most.  I will be honest enough to admit that.

There are homes across the big road toward the ocean side that have been completely destroyed by large trees and falling debris.  Some will have to be gutted and completely re-built, so I cannot complain about the inconvenience of the loss of some electricity on my part.

I look around at a house filled with crunchy leaves since a carpet of dead and dying leaves covers all the entry ways and keeps getting dragged inside.  The spiders have recovered the most, as they seem to do after every storm.  There are many large and small ones tucked against window screens and eaves.  I am too tired to move the webs.  Hubby got a new Husqvarna chain saw out of this storm, and he is having fun cutting wood, some of which will go to neighbors who want it and some to the landfill.

I am warmed by all the comments from readers of this blog.  Like good neighbors, you were concerned and had kind words.  May your days be filled with sunny and calm weather.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two photos

 This old cherry was dying little by little and now with a push from the storm seems to have just missed that budget arbor we put in.
Here are three of our neighbors who came by to help and get that big tree cut into movable pieces so that we could get out of the driveway!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I am putting it off as long as I can.  This morning was filled with hot and sweaty work outside.  Lots of lifting and carrying and putting in piles made me sweaty and thirsty.  Now I have come inside and opened the fridge for the very last time in heaven only knows how many days to take out the cool ice tea pitcher and finish it off.

The yard looks like an elephant herd was frightened down the street and took a detour past the house and through both sides of the yard.  The only things that do not seem disturbed are the birds and butterflies who have continued their sugar collecting even before the sun broke through the clouds today.   HUGE and small trees are down everywhere and it is a miracle that the house, shed, boat and dock were spared.

I am writing now on a laptop with a waning battery and am writing this post in MSWord as there is no electricity in the neighborhood, and I hope to post it at my daughter’s house.  Rumor has it that 80% of the county is without electricity due to some major power station router being down.  A man up the road who has a tree on his house and works for the electric company said we might get power by 9:00 this evening.  I doubt  it.  I am not complaining because the temp will not break 80 F for the next few days and I do not have large trees resting on my house as those who live on the Bay and elsewhere seem to have experienced.  There were emergency calls about once a minute to the local fire station last night.  (My neighbor, the lottery winner, volunteers as an EMT, and she has had no sleep all night according to her husband.)

I had promised to take my granddaughter down here this week to care for as she has no school or camp…but it looks like we will be spending the week up at her house.  I am putting off opening the chest freezer and emptying the contents into a cooler to take up the daughter’s house where there is electricity.  It seems like such a long and dreadful project, and I am debating whether to complete a wash/cloth bath before or after.  We are on a well and that means no water can be pumped to the house, so everything is done using the water we have set aside.  I have so much food from the garden that will have to be tossed away.

When I return here at the end of the week I have only a weekend left to pack for a two-week trip, and if there is still no electricity, this could be a bigger project than I wanted.  I will empty the fridge, the freezer, and try to check off my list the things that have to be done when one is gone for two weeks to a place far away.  It will be a job with many small errands and projects and I am fighting a chest cold which drains all my energy reserves.  My adult kids want to join us for the next weekend prior to departure, but I am NOT cooking anything while they are here.  Seems reasonable to me?  Either we BBQ or eat out.

At least, with the neighbor’s help we have cleared the driveway of a 16-18 inch diameter poplar and tons and tons of leaves and branches. It is a long drive this evening up to my daughter's house past many black or yellow blinking traffic lights, dark houses, and darker stores.