Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bubbly for New Year's Eve.

Hope you are going to have a perfect New Year's Eve followed by a better 2018.   We are not celebrating with anyone, anywhere and will probably watch the event on TV if we decide to stay up!  

These birds got me thinking about how to celebrate the incoming of a new year....

House Finch

Eastern Bluebird
So, I went out and bought me some bubbly for the big event.

These are bath "bombs."  Cheers!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Do You Have a Clue?

Taking a photo of a wood orchid a few years ago.

One of the real problems that I (and most of us) have is understanding each other. It is hard to see the big picture when you know the people involved only somewhat superficially. Just because you work with them and see them maybe monthly at meetings or because you run into others three times a year at one of your daughter's project events, or you chat with someone on a regular shopping trip to a retail outlet, this does not mean you have even a clue about them, about their challenges, beliefs, prejudices, history and/or motivations.  This is because the yardstick by which you measure these encounters is YOUR yardstick.  The nicks and faded numbers on it are from your experiences and your wins and losses.

Our current cultural shift has seemed to drain the swamp of empathy as we are told that most people do not deserve anything they have not earned.  So, I try to work harder at this understanding of people and not come into relationships with pre-conceived opinions of where they get their opinions...

But I do need some help on this one:

I post my photos regularly on Facebook.  I post my photos (the ones that I am most pleased with) on a less regular basis on an Australian website that sells digital art.  I have sold maybe two dozen items and made enough money on all of them for dinner out for two at a nice restaurant.  Clearly, I would have starved as a digital artist.  I only mention this to illustrate that I do take this a little seriously.  As the year progresses I may have hundreds of photos on Facebook.  These go into albums such as family, trips, and my yard, etc.  At the end of the year, I begin to clean all this up both for personal privacy reasons and to protect my artistic work and to just be able to keep track of what is posted and what is not.  The more artistic photos I will post in lower resolution on the off chance that someone would 'steal' them.  My friends ask if they can use them for odd things and I always let them copy and re-use so it is not a hard rule.  

So, now for your challenge and response.  I recently deleted a bunch of photos and posted on FB that I was cleaning up my albums getting ready for 2018.  One of my virtual friends (He is very smart, very opinionated, and I do not know him very well. He worked IT and I rarely saw him when we worked at the same company.) went off on a tangent.  He was furious that I was deleting photos and he said he was not going to comment in the future on my photos if I deleted them, etc.  I commented that I was sorry, but that was the way it was.  I went on in my life and last week decided to re-read that conversation as I was still mystified and the thread was gone!  He had deleted it.  Weird.  I do not care about this person.  We are never meeting in real life.  I am just curious about what would make a person think he had control over anothers' creative work?  Why would he care that his comments on my photos (which were short and flattering and mostly just LIKES) would be gone forever?

Where is Miss Manners when you need her advice?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Christmas Day and for a day or two after people post all their photos of family gatherings on Facebook.  This is fun and always portrays well-dressed people behaving correctly with big smiles facing various cameras.  I thought I would post a photoshopped picture of my grands for a little more anonymity.  This is one of the earliest photos of the day where the three of them were waiting,... and waiting, ...and waiting for parents to join them so they could open their presents.  Patient souls.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Is That Not Special?

Today is my birthday. I do not feel it necessary for others to make a big deal of it.  I really had very little to do with it.  I am sure I was pretty passive and considering my personality, probably did not want to enter the light of day! 
I did cross a major decade last year and the big deal made by members of my family (a trip to and a play in NYC) was a lovely gesture and I do not regret that, but I still would have been completely happy to have been the recipient of only good. This time of year is super busy for people and taking the time to honor a birthday seems to be an avoidable excess. This in no way means that I decry the birthday celebrations that others look forward to in late December. Go for it! In my mind, it has always been just a number. Treat me nicely always, call me, email me, make dates for lunches during the year and I will be most ingratiated and not miss a cake or card or gift on the anniversary of my birth.

"A-n-y-w-a-y" as the Valley Girl says: Today we will celebrate my birthday by doing some quick last minute shopping(!) and going to see the newest Star Wars movie (which is the movie my hubby really wants to see). None of these Star Wars movies will grab me the way the first Star Wars movie did---especially the bar scene which seems a great comment on living species. You cannot improve on the original or re-capture that first time.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year...and a happy birthday or any other day you may be celebrating!

Monday, December 18, 2017

This Could Have Been Too Easy

(I have published a series of three blog posts on words and their significance in our current culture.  This President and his CDC could have made this fourth post waaaay too easy with the newly listed seven banned words that cannot be used in their reports and that they have released recently, and later denied banning them.  But this fascism is too easy to denigrate, or make humorous, or present an argument on how an administration that "talks straight to the people" --- and not allowing questions on the talk as there are always those "gotcha questions" ---  is dangerously close to destroying the first amendment.  I would like the White House to be banned from using the words "everybody" "they"  "moron"  "amazing"  "tremendous" and  "terrific.") 

BUT this post instead is about what I did today in my garage and mud-room.  This is the time of year that I must take care of those bulbs I refuse to throw away by fall:  my amaryllis.  I once had over 40 of these plants lined along the wall with French doors of my family room in my prior house because I just could not bear to part with them.  Eventually, before my move, I took them to a fundraiser and got rid of all of them.

This year I have slowly started that addiction over again at, perhaps, a better and slower pace.  Still, I have planted (counting the pups or smaller bulbs) twelve individuals in pots and put them in the sun along with 4 other newly purchased bulbs that I may or may not give away this season.   Not everyone wants a plant as a gift.

In the coming months, I will try to remember to post the beautiful blossoms that these amazing, terrific, and tremendous plants that everyone loves will provide.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Words Do Matter

Since words do matter, far more than we realize, I have decided to do some quick and dirty Internet searching to add to my prior posts on selected words.

More words of the year 2017 ---

Oxford: youthquake complicit
Collins Dictionary: fake news

Back in 2016 ---

Merriam-Webster:  surreal
American Dialectic Society:  dumpster fire
Oxford:  post-truth  xenophobia

For the history of how "Word of the Year" or WOTY are selected go here.

Do you think you can write a short paragraph or poem using the above??

Thursday, December 14, 2017

South of the Border

Regarding yesterday's post, her is another take on the word of the year (there is some offensive language): La Brigada Feminista

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Merriam Websters Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster Dictionary's "Word of the Year. "

Do you know what the word is? I will give you a clue. It is not covfefe. That is not a word, just a lazy tweet. Another clue is that it starts with an "F."  It is not a swear word.

Before I reveal this important word, I want to discuss a conversation my husband and I had on the recent reveal of all the men in power that have sexually assaulted, molested and/or scare-threatened women while the men were running businesses, making movies, drafting legislation, running cooking shows, managing restaurants, attending military shows, etc.   We were talking about why men in power do this?  (The real question is why are there more men than women in power, but this post is not about that.)

My husband seemed to think it was a deep biological need.  There is a biological programming for males to extend their gene pool for survival.  I claimed it had to do with a hatred and sometimes fear of women and a need to reassure that oneself was still in power.

Now that I have dwelled on it, I think we are both right.  Have you ever had the opportunity to watch an elk herd get organized in late fall?  I have.  The younger females drift over to the better looking younger elk males and give each other the tentative eye.  This lasts about 10 minutes and then the major elk, the older one with the big shoulders and rack and bigger, well you know, comes around and paws the ground and demands the females get back in their place with serious threats.  He will run off the younger elk and then strut his stuff and herd his harem roughly to the other side of the meadow.

There is a deep biological need to continue one's gene line.  Male lions rape and kill for sexual reproduction and otters attack females for the same.  This is found throughout the animal kingdom.

But humans are sentient, living an intelligent and civilized life; and hopefully, we have moved beyond those physical power plays and forcing themselves on others, at least most people have.  So those who molest are throwbacks to an earlier time.  They have failed to evolve, or they have a deep-seated mental illness.

For those males who bemoan today going to the holiday parties worrying about how to behave, I have little sympathy.  Treat each woman as if she was your mother or sister or daughter and you will do just fine.  If you feel you need to hug someone, ask them first!  If you are under the mistletoe, act embarrassed and walk away.  If you drink too much call a cab and go home.  NEVER tell off-color jokes, ever!  Compliment a woman on her dress only if you regularly compliment a guy on his tie.

I am not sympathetic to these creeps as I have been a woman always ducking that snake at the holiday party, always looking over my shoulder when alone at night, always dreading the boss who told dirty jokes, feeling belittled when denigrated by gender at a meeting.  I managed that for years, so now men can manage the other better type of behavior!

Oh, the word --- feminist.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

A Thursday Thirteen...these are totally random

1. Walking to the gate in the fog I saw two rust brown wrens flittering in the pile of kindling I had made after the last tree fall.  Since I was in camo it took a while before they saw me.

2. I drove up to the city for a birthday party for my D.I.L. and upon my return, I noticed that 90% of the leaves had finally fallen in that short period turning the trees into skeletons.  Fall is departing.

3. One morning this week I walked in the early mist to the dock to catch a photo or two of the geese gliding on the river.  Some broke into noisy flight heading toward the cornfield when they heard me.  Then shortly I heard gunfire and felt terribly guilty.

4. Yesterday I woke early and saw that the woods were shrouded in fog, so in a sleepy "fog" myself put on my frumpiest clothes and headed down the street by my neighbor's houses without even taking a brush to my hair looking for photos.  It is amazing how many of my neighbors have to drive somewhere that early in the morning...wondering if they recognized me!

5. Lobster tails were on sale the other day and so we bought two jumbo tails (which we may do once every few years or so) and had a lovely pre- New Year's dinner. Side dishes were asparagus sauteed with dill and oyster mushrooms and mac and cheese.  It was a mini gourmet dinner.

6. My grandchildren have such a parade of guests coming through their home that they are not surprised to wake in the morning and find I have spent the night!

7. I am working this week on the gift list. One of the hardest parts of this season as I put great effort to get it right and many of those I buy for live in abundance.  I do lots of donations which does lift my spirit.

8. Binge-watching House of Cards and wondering how they are going to end it without the lead after so many years.  With today's support of an accused pedophile for Senate and a President who admits to infidelity, the series seems rather tame with its prostitution and threesomes.

9. "To face unafraid the plans that we made while walking in a winter wonderland."  No longer making those long-range plans as I age, this thought crossed my mind as I listened to my holiday music.

10. This past week I have made persimmon bars, persimmon cookies, persimmon bread and persimmon pie. We gave bags of fresh persimmons away at a recent party.

11. My Christmas card list gets smaller every year. I am of mixed emotions on that.

12. We are well into the first week of December and I still have guara flowers and pineapple sage in bloom!  Cold front coming this week.

13.  For the last in this list, I realized, almost too late, that this little fellow could have gone into the persimmon jam I was making as he was so color-coordinated!   This December has been exceptionally warm.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Wounded Warrior

We lost a "wounded warrior" Blogger yesterday.  She had not been able to blog for several years but fought her battle with ALS on Facebook where many of us continued to support her.  She recently added a new war against cancer.   She was strong, witty, and funny to the very end with the support of her loving husband, Dave.   Knowing her made a difference in my life and that of many others.   She left a legacy of hope and determination for all of us who fight our daily battles.  I will miss her terribly.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Lifting Up the Spirits.

Well, my spirits have lifted somewhat (temporarily) and I found a Christmas present in the news today with the indictment of Flynn. The White House says he was an Obama holdover (Obama fired him and Trump re-hired him). Incomplete pass on their part and they need to explain why they ignored the FBI warning telling them to get rid of him and ignored that dear career lady with the intelligence and ethics.  I am patiently waiting for the dominoes to fall.  Trump, Trump Jr., and Kushner and Ivanka have all had ties to corrupt money launderers and domestic and foreign criminal groups most of their lives, so they know how to accept bribes, hide money outside this country, and have gotten away with it, for now.

The  National lighting of the Christmas Tree had the smallest crowd ever in front of the White House this year and the weather was beautiful, rows and rows of empty chairs.  He keeps getting fewer and fewer supporters in his gatherings even on such simple unpolitical things as holiday activities.  Obama had standing room only when he lit the tree each year.  I do miss the intellectual transparent honesty of his administration.

So, today after the morning news, I binge watched that old TV series "Frazier" which has such snappy dialogue and proceeded to make about 100 persimmon spice cookies while I watched and reminisced.   Half of these chewy spice disks are in the freezer and the other half we will eat.  The recipe only used about 4-5 of the hard persimmons, so making no dent in the harvest!

Even the folks at the food pantry are too picky to want to take these home for the holidays!

The kitchen was full of dirty bowls and utensils and I just finished washing a batch and am now running "pro-scrub" on the dishwasher for the rest.  The small artificial tree is up, a few wreaths scattered about.  Mage made me feel guilty  reconsider and not give in to the challenges my family is now facing and become a ghost (i.e. ghost of Christmas past).   We played Christmas music while we decorated and hung a few strings of lights on the deck and took out a few sentimental items.

We blog readers lost the activist Hattie from Hawaii this past week.  She was tough and took no prisoners and I will miss her intellectual arguments greatly.

While this is a tough month I will hang on white-knuckled and fight for everything I want and I hope you do the same.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

You Don't Have to Read This, but I Have to Write It.

When one's life is a daily pain, one withdraws into oneself.  There is no need to burden others, because they cannot share your weight. and they cannot really understand unless they have also opened a parcel and seen the same daunting burden and carried it in their life.  This heavy amorphous sorrow is firmly attached and if torn away you will go screaming into black midnight blinded by tears because you become even more helpless with foolish understanding.  What a frightening feeling to realize that no one can help.  What a horrible feeling to realize you are not alone and your pain pierces the hearts of those you love.  And to protect others you begin a list of secrets ... lies of omission.  What a helpless feeling to realize that the pain is caused by someone you love more than life itself and you may use up what little power you have in that relationship before the carrying journey is over in so many tragic ways.

I have always loved stories of  mystery, drama and love.  I have been willing to fall into the escape of movies and books and sometimes even music.  Now, when in the heart of the turn of the story/movie or crescendo of the Opera Seria, there is a sharp blood drawn reminder of some weakness/misery of one character that pulls me back into my reality and as if in a time warp I crash again to earth and I collapse in tears.  I become a cloth that has been  thrown.

I cannot accept sympathy of others, because my life has been so rich and lucky and unearned.  Even now I watch the news and realize my pain is just a splinter among those who flee war, slavery or starvation.  But I do now feel a filial relationship in the great migration  of humanity looking for answers to  "What's It All About?"

(Sorry this is so enigmatic.  But it is what it is.)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

That Busy Time Before Thanksgiving

Return to my house on Sunday, I was greeted by this in my driveway.

It looks like a skinny trunk but that thing was at least 12 inches across at the base. I held my breath 
and drove on in and parked the car in the garage.

The pine tree had been dead for a year or two as can be seen by the fungus on the trunk. I later was concerned I could be trapped at home if the tree fell overnight in the winds and went out and moved the car to the end of the driveway to pick up hubby from the airport the next day.

Picked up hubby from the airport on that Monday. Busy holiday rush travel had already begun and I hated the traffic.

We were very busy the next day, but the day before Thanksgiving the tree made its demands by falling further.

Hubby got out the chainsaw and wedge and safety gear and I got out the camera.

We were able to get the heavy part tree fall away from the driveway.  Then we tied a rope to the base of the remaining snag and pulled and pulled and pulled across the driveway until it was all the way down and mostly unsnagged.

Rewarded with firewood for next year after it ages.  While pine is not the best, I do get our chimney cleaned annually for safety.

Nights have not yet been super cold, so only a few fires in the fireplace.

While others were preparing Thanksgiving desserts and side dishes, we were being "woodspersons."  Have a good day today whether you celebrate this holiday or not.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

When Did You Throw In The Towel?

Since I have been alone, I have filled my days with errands and goals and now come to the end of the list. The next list is holiday shopping and I have no immediate desire to work on that right away.  I will not be entertaining as my daughter has insisted she be the center for that.  It  is OK as it saves me a lot of work and  I figure in years she will have reached my time in life and have a better perspective.

Today and yesterday I stumbled across an old Netflix e-mark that I had on that popular series "House of Cards."  We had watched the first and second year and then for some reason forgot to continue to watch..actually I thought it had been on another pay-per-view site.  I am old, what can I say?

Anyway I spend about three hours each evening catching up.  At first I felt guilty.  I had concerns about watching a show that has a star with a recently exposed despicable background.  There is that important question.  Can you admire the art of someone who has been revealed to be evil?  This post is not about answering that question, although I would really appreciated your opinions on that.  The show involves many people who will be paid residuals and who are talented, and therefore, I do not feel guilt.  The writers, the directors, the co-actors all deserve admiration of their work.  I also have realized with this Congress and this President, the story is not that far fetched.  The headlines of today are pretty good in melding with plot points on this series.

I got a Skype call just an hour ago, from my husband who is on the other side of the world.  You remember that, right?  Anyway, they were just evacuated from their hotel  due to an earthquake.  Do you realize there have been at least two major and many minor earthquakes recently?  No?  Well, he is safe and he sounded very calm.  His good friend, who is in his 80's, is with him on this adventure.  See?  Life is not over unless you throw in the towel.  I hope that I am that interested in adventures in my 80's.  Even if you find you do not get to see your 80's due to some crappy quirk of fate, let us hope your warrior side kicks in and you squeeze out the juice of  the life you have been  given.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cold and Hot?

North of us got their first freeze and we are 34F this morning with no frost on the grass. Everything still looks the same outside the windows. But I slept in. I am alone ( I keep reminding you) and I woke up around 6:00 A.M. and read a little in bed. Then I turned off the lights and snuggled back down into the soft flannel sheets and under the light downy quilt and drifted back into blissful sleep for several hours as dawn slid into place. It was the cold outside that makes me lazy and slothful inside. I love pulling up those blankets and not having an agenda set by an alarm. I have worked hard (not as hard as many) for this time in my life and I am thankful for this morning.  I eventually made a pot of decaffinated coffee but returned to reading "The Forest Lover" by Susan Vreeland.  (It is the life story of the Canadian artist Emily Carr based on her journals.  She lived 1871-1945 and lived in the Northwest with the indigenous people much of that time and with great discrimination by her culture.)  The writer brings me to cold and rainy British Columbia as I remain so warm as I snuggle back into bed with a warm cup.

Now for the hot:

For those of you who know about Scolville scales with hot peppers, you may remember the big deal when Habaneras became a fad for cooking.  They were not a condiment for the faint of heart and kept their level at the height of heat in pepper cooking.  They were rated as 250,000 to 577,000 on the scale.  Well, hubby got seeds from our daughter for the newest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, which he planted this summer.  This pepper is rated as 1.6 million(!) and has held the world record since 2013.

We (daughter, hubby and I) chopped some of them for testing.  (When green they have no heat at all!)  

I took one of those tiny red pieces and put it on the end of my tongue and I died.  I spit it out, but the heat kept on.  My daughter also choked on the heat.  My grandson (pretended) it was not bad at all.  My daughter put it in some vinegar for taking home and adding to whatever.

While they are extremely beautiful, this is killer stuff.

I have no big fondness for super hot food, although I do like my chile with a tiny bit of bite.  Researching I found there is a new pepper accidentally raised in Wales that will challenge the Carolina Reaper.  It is called Dragon's Breath and is 2.48 million on the Scoville scale.

I have read that eating lots of hot food does kill the taste buds over time and may be the reason that people who regularly eat hot food (Indonesians) find most food in the U.S. too bland.

I will also leave you with this caution:

"Concentrated capsaicin, found in the Dragon's Breath and other extremely spicy peppers, can trigger the immune system to go into overdrive. Capsaicin activates the proteins found on nerve endings, and those proteins can mistakenly interpret capsaicin as a signal of extreme heat entering the body, Live Science reported. The result? Reactions like anaphylactic shock, severe burns, and even the closing of one's airways are all possible, experts warn. So this extreme pepper is nothing to mess around with."

Monday, November 06, 2017

A Late Harvest of Gold

Late September and much of November are harvest times here at my house. Hubby has planted several persimmon trees outside. They are slow to ripen and, if you know anything about persimmons, the Hachaya type is astringent to eat if you do not wait until it is soft as jelly on the inside. We grow both the Hachiya and the Fuju which can be eaten before it gets soft. It is the round one that can be eaten over a longer time frame.  Early it is more like an apple and then it ripens to a juicy pear.  Its Latin name means "wheat of Zeus" or "God's pear" and "Jove's fire".

I like that I have ripe Kaffir limes and Meyer lemons to add to the recipes.

When hubby is here he makes persimmon freezer jam and persimmon bread. Since he is not here that task has fallen to me. Trying to get the accurate recipe, particularly for the jams, is hard because the persimmon has to be scooped out into measuring devices before you can find out exactly how much pulp you have for the recipe. It cannot be left out in the air for too long as it turns cloudy and brown.

The Hichiya is hard to pick because the ripeness makes the fruit as soft as a globe of jelly.  Touching the fruit for this softness as well as noticing the translucence in the fruit are the clues for picking.  But you have to hold it like a soft-shelled egg.

There is another problem in identifying those persimmons that are only half ripe and hoping that they can be used in a few days.

Then there is the basket of those that were harvested by mistake or fell that must sit in my kitchen and give those fruit flies their best days while waiting for ripening.  (It is hard to have a glass of wine in the evening without having a fruit fly go up my nose!)

I followed a persimmon freezer jam recipe exactly the other day and made three containers of freezer jam.  Unfortunately, they did not set!!  This is the problem with this fruit.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.  We will use it on toast anyway.  It is also good with vanilla ice cream.  And because it is not cooked it maintains its flavor and vitamins.  According to one website "Persimmons are low in calories and fats - they provide 70 calories per 100 grams. This fiber-rich fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin A and good source of Vitamin C and contains a range of antioxidants and minerals. But as with most fruit, you should eat these in moderation because it contains fructose, which can be harmful in excess amounts."

The flavor?  Maybe someone else can explain, but it is sweet and delicious and one of my favorite jams.

Friday, November 03, 2017

The Silence of the Limes

I wrote in an earlier post that I am alone until the 22nd of November.  Hubby is on the other side of the earth.  Those of you who are divorced, separated, unwed or suffered the loss of your partner may have gone through the first of the transition of living alone a long time ago.  My life partner is not a quiet soul.  He fills the house when he is here.  Even if he is down in the basement in his office I can hear his voice on the phone through the heat register in my bedroom.  While he always looks for reasons to "run errands" he is here much of the time.

Now the big house is really quiet.  No pets and a quarter mile from neighbors on either side.  I cannot get good radio reception unless I carry a laptop from room to room, so I keep TV on in the background in the mornings.  I don't really watch it.  In the afternoon I play music, although my cable company has majorly destroyed my amplifier/speaker setup and it takes me some time to figure it out each time!

Anyway, late in the evening when all noises are off and I am finally in my warm pajamas and reading by the light from my end table I find myself listening carefully.  Do I hear a scratching in the ceiling over my head?  Have the mice moved in again?  I strain to hear the Canadian geese down on the river, but it is just a lone Mallard because the geese have not yet returned.  Eventually, I fall asleep.  Out of the blackness of the night, I am jerked awake but not sure why.  I hold my breath and listen.  I freeze as I tune into anything that makes noise.  I can even hear the creaking of the refrigerator in the kitchen, but nothing else sounds out of place and I fall back asleep.  The next night I have the same event, only this time while I am straining to find out what is wrong I hear a loud thunk.  It comes from the kitchen and I at first wonder if a thief is making a midnight snack.

I throw back the quilt and without a weapon in hand (ever the optimist) I head into the kitchen.  I turn on all the lights.  I scan.  No one is there.  No animal is hiding in a corner or behind a door.  Then I see the cause of the sound on the floor.  Thre are two of them, small and round and each the size of a golf ball.  They are surprisingly heavy for there diminutive size.  They are kaffir limes.  They have ripened and are falling from the tree at will.  I soon will have 40 of them!

Kaffir limes are knobby and odd and small.  They have a very interesting and almost floral fragrance to compliment their strong lime taste.  The leaves from the tree are used in Thai cooking as the flavor holds up to strong spicy dishes.

I have three citrus trees (a small citrus orchard) that get moved into the house every fall and returned to the deck each spring; a Calamondon, a Meyer lemon, and a Kaffir lime. (The Meyer is struggling as it was severely damaged when purchased, but it is hell bent to catch up to the other two.  It has eleven lemons and almost as many leaves.)

I have been told it is not a true lemon, but I have no idea what that means.  These lemons are bigger than store bought and will indeed make a much louder thud when they fall in the middle of the night.  (By the way, both of these always fall in the middle of the night!)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Fly on the Wall at Lunch With My Daughter

Subtitle: Why I am dressing as a ghoul for Halloween.

Me:  I saw those photos that you posted on FB.  With those women.  What were you celebrating?

Daughter:  It was sort of a bachelorette party for J.  She is getting married.

Me: Who is J?  Do I know her?

Daughter:  Remember she lives across the street?

Me:  The woman with a 7-year-old son and a daughter in a wheelchair?  I thought she was married?

Daughter:  No, they got divorced two years ago.  He already re-married and now she is re-marrying.

Me:  (Frowning)  Really...that is too bad.

Daughter:  No, Mom, is it all OK.  They have worked it all out and he lives nearby and takes the kids enough of the time.  They are happy.

Me:  So you also had dinner with M the other night. Just the two of you.  How did that go?
(M is an extremely special person to me, and I could not love her more if she was my own.)

Daughter:  She is still struggling.  She has no one to really talk to help her through this.

Me:  What about B?

Daughter:  B is really busy with the new baby.  Remember how you and I could never have a decent conversation once my son was 9 months and mobile?

Me:  Yeah.  I remember the shock of returning to the attempt to talk to adults with little ones.  What about her best friend S?

Daughter:  Well S discovered last month a lump in her breast and she has been diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer.  She may end up having both breasts removed.

Me:  (Sighing out loud and trying to fight back tears.)  Did M's weekend with the old college girlfriends help?  She posted pictures on FB.

Daughter:  Yes, but they are a day's drive away and both of them are really struggling with money issues in their families, so unable to drive up and visit at all.

Daughter:  She told me that she really has no one except her therapist.  She told me she is taking a collection of meds...antidepressants, etc.

Me:  ( I am frightened and speechless.)  Well, can we plan a "girls" weekend soon...maybe as a gift for her upcoming birthday?

Daughter:  Sure, just I cannot squeeze anything in until January. 

(My daughter is not exaggerating as she is always on the go with three kids and a very busy job that requires travel.  I am depressed among other things.)

The photo above is a solar-powered garbage barge in the harbor of the city. It cleans up all the paper and plastic and crap that blows from the restaurant tables of people busy living their lives but it does nothing to remove the ugly film of oil that floats on the surface constantly.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Night in the City

Hubby has a trip, a long trip both in time and space, that he is making. He is going to be gone for a month working on a project on the other side of the globe in the middle of the ocean.  He likes to tell others it is a company he started. It is not. It is a hobby he started employing a few staff at poverty wages, and it is a bone of contention between us in terms of its expense to our personal bottom line since there is no profit margin at this stage (the first decade of its operation!). It is keeping him alive and energized, so I am of two reactions on this "project" and do a continual dance.

Anyway, his first of four flights was departing at 4:55 in the morning this past Sunday.  Since the airport is an hour and a half from our house and since we did not want to pay for a month of long-term airport parking, I had to drive him up there.  But since he knew that he had to be there at 2:55 A.M. for check-in which meant we had to leave at 1:30 A.M. for departure from this house, he compromised by offering me a fancy dinner at the city restaurant and an overnight in the local airport hotel using points.  It meant I could sleep in, which I did, get one of those awful free breakfasts and leave for home the next day around 8:00 A.M.

I had not been in this city for over a year and was impressed by all the changes.  Like many cities, it has its challenges with crime, budget limitations, and culture issues.  But the state officials have made a deal with the devil (a fossil fuel company from another country) and seem to be able to upgrade the nicer parts of the city as this company moves into the state's rural areas and expose others to air pollution and sudden death---NOT an exaggeration as I live rurally.  Chances are slim this wealth will trickle down to the more challenging areas of the city and the school systems.  I have not given up hope, though.

Anyway, while walking around the more touristy parts of the city on a perfect fall weather afternoon, with only sparse numbers of tourists, it became a nice evening to say goodbye to my husband before our temporary separation.

Below, a few photos I captured after a fancy cocktail in one of the seafood restaurants.

Lots of new dock space for all the yachty types.

Lots of crime-free sidewalks to enjoy after dinner although a few skateboarders and bikers could have used some discipline.

Fancy places to work and to live in the heart of the city.

And plenty of chain restaurants to appease the citizens along with a lovely sunset.

Friday, October 20, 2017

If I Got Paid

My last post was over two weeks ago.  If I got paid for blogging I would hate the process because there would be deadlines. But since I don't, I can write when my mojo is puttering along and ignore the lack of a muse when my spirit is deflated. I guess I have been in a funk. Shall I list the reasons? Or would you rather avoid my complaints? They are big and small. The biggest is helping a loved one fight depression and alcoholism, fully knowing my help is in vain most times and realizing that I am only pretending to pull them back from the cliff. We are in good days now so I can focus on the blog and my glass is half full.

The medium reason for a lack of creativity is that multiple health problems have been visiting hubby. Nothing death threatening or even scary. Just constant reminders that our bodies are falling apart as we age and making me face up to the fact that I have to take on more responsibilities and accept a more careful lifestyle as the years move on.  (And also try to find more diplomatic ways to get him to slow down rather than screaming at him.)

Also, I have friends and friends of friends involved with the California fire disaster and I do feel helpless so far away. Yes, this is all linked to climate change... ALL the Armegaddon shocks as our oceans heat up. Scientists are now finding that the warmer the waters of the ocean the slower the circulation of the major currents and the potential for tremendous changes when those biggest bodies of water stop moving. It will mean climate changes in huge areas, loss of seafood, and loss of land food. (Some folks think the scientists are lying to get more money for grants for this research...go figure!)  China is not looking to expand their coal industry because they believe their scientists. They are putting huge sums of their money into solar farms. Just today the Saudi's admitted that developing solar farming is so cheap they have no trouble finding the lowest bid for their development...and they are an oil-rich country!

The smaller reasons for my funk, but no less important, and tied to the paragraph above, are the horrible things happening to our country and the way some Americans accept exaggeration, daily contradictory statements, and outright lying as a means to an end if they agree on that end. 

Well, now that I have got that off my chest, maybe I can actually write something next time!?

Saturday, October 07, 2017


A good blogger would have posted something by now.  I have wanted to write about privilege which then made me think I should tell you about the spiraling web of getting a Brazilian Visa and then I realized I have No Time. I sm busy most of this three-day weekend with volunteer work and then the following days with two medical appointments. OK. I will just leave you this photo from a few nights ago as our sun starts to set once again over the water.