Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Wading In and Out

My biggest cheerleader is my husband...this is both a good thing and a really bad thing. (Flattery will get you not very far with me because I tend to be a realist and know that people are just being nice...or they want something from me.)

Hubby is a mixture of both.  He sees my talents, efforts, and energy through rose-colored glasses. He works with a group of community-minded folks that have passion, some have money and even a very few have connections and power. They want to save their little portion of the bay through restoration efforts. This also includes an education component and they have been able to contact at least FIVE schools from elementary, to high school to vocational tech, to help participate in these efforts.  Recently, after some arm twisting on hubby's part telling me I worked so well with children,  I volunteered at one of the elementary schools to help a STEM class with hands-on work with data collection on oyster shells counting oyster spat that about 6 adult volunteers and teachers brought to the class.  The kids were intuitive, smart and well-behaved and it was a fun afternoon.  Not sure what they really learned as scientific data collection is a long term effort in reality, but we found a lot of interesting wildlife on the oyster shells when we removed them from the aquarium.  An elderly lady, my age, ran the effort and did a great job.

Oysters we sometimes eat over the winter that hang out in cages under our dock...the only photo I have of oysters.
Well, the woman who was coordinating the effort emailed me the next day and asked if I would like to be on a "steering committee" toward this effort.  I emailed back that I was NOT a meeting person, but if the meetings were short and few I would come.  I have now attended two that last over an hour and were two weeks apart.  The first meeting had about 8 people and the agenda was somewhat all over the place as we had industry folks, fishermen, biologists, and some hands-on aquaculture guys.  They had projects and plans like an octopus has legs.  I took notes, asked questions and left at the end.  This effort includes building and deploying "reef balls" with attached oyster spat throughout the bay while training the students!  They do have money for cement, wood, a large trailer and are now collecting tools, etc.

The second meeting was last night and plans got a bit more solidified and filled up a calendar for the next few months.  They (only five attended this time) were suggesting we needed a chair for this group.  Everyone (some still worked full time) were shifting eyes and were too busy.  They looked at me and one suggested if I had time.  Well, I was not born yesterday, and I immediately explained that I was coming way late to this group, did not have the experience and connections they needed, and would be willing to volunteer at events, but NOT coordinate anything.  I looked directly at the gal that had invited me, an elderly woman, one of those dynamic movers and shakers.  She had the honesty to look down and make some notes. (I am sure hubby had praised me to her!)

Hubby and she ended up being co-chairs.  Hubby has NO time for this, but that is his problem.

There was an after meeting of a much larger group (fishermen) to which hubby belongs, so I took my car and headed home.  While watching the last episode of Hinterland, hubby returned and talked about someone at the second meeting.  

He asked if I remembered a person who joined the group late and sat across the table and I said, "No."  Well, this person is a really good nature artist and donates lovely water bird paintings to the auction/money raising effort that the fishermen/conservation group holds annually.  I have seen them.  I guess the fellow was out that morning with his camera trying to get some good bird photos as references for his artwork and came back without anything useful and complained to my husband.

Hubby immediately told him we had Canvas Back ducks in the river last week and that I got some good great photos.  Not true, the photos were barely in focus and far away.  The artist was excited and asked for my email and if I would mail him my photos for his work...OMG! to throw out a valley girl expression.  Did I say hubby exaggerates my talents?

This morning I went through a bunch of waterbird photos taken over the years and will email the chap two of them explaining that as he gets to know my husband better he will realize that he exaggerates a bit.

This is the photo that I took last week.

Below is a better photo that I took many years ago.

 (To add insult to injury, last week my DSLR broke and I had to send it out for an expensive repair.  I put my telephoto on another smaller older DSLR that I own and in a few hours the telephoto broke!  In all fairness, this equipment is over 12 years old and while I am careful with it, it does see a lot of outdoor use.)

Thursday, January 24, 2019


Hubby and fishing pals returned two days early from the great Everglades swamp. They caught some fish (didn't bring me any) saw alligators and dolphin and got to sleep under the stars as this was truly camping out. They had two canoes and one kayak all pulled by a small motor, so with navigation by maps and GPS they covered over 100 miles of the islands going from fresh water to salt water. I think they had fun, although this would not be my cup of swamp water even if warmed before a cozy fire. They came back two days early because the weather was nippier than usual...yes, even in Southern Florida.

Fortunately, I had food for dinner and we ate a new recipe of marinated herbed chicken wings that I was trying.  This dinner was all prepared after I got my kitchen back from their unpacking!!

These photos above were taken after hubby had done most of his cleaning!  I know.  The two men that went with hubby are people he has known for decades, one was a student working under him in Hawaii and the other was a high school chum.  The fourth fellow who is the oldest of all had a serious heart incident prior to the trip and thus could not go as he has gone before, but you see him standing below wishing them well.  These trips do get precious as time moves on.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Re-Classify History

I firmly believe that we must exercise the brain as well as the body as we age. Being more honest, I have always loved being a student and liked school and am always looking for learning experiences.

Hubby and I are watching a Great Courses series called "The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales." It is probably a bit of a slog to those who live in those countries, but it is a particularly enjoyable experience to tour from our armchair. A tour that is not just lovely drone photos of famous structures and areas, but also includes a bit of history, architecture and personal experience from the teacher.

A Castle I took a photo of  in Ireland back in 2014.
While watching one of these digital downloads it occurred to me how those of us across the pond romanticize the castles and ancient churches that are going to ruins.  We are lascivious about the people who lead these times, how they dressed, what they ate, who they loved and how they used their powers to change history while moving through these castles and churches.  We rarely think about those who died building them.

A famous church in Ireland, photo taken in 2014.
As I pause the video, I realize that these castles and churches only existed because there was an oligarchy that took advantage of the poorer uneducated classes of citizens demanding a tax from limited resources.  Those citizens (perhaps like our President's supporters) knew their place in society and gave fealty to the oligarchy, and in turn, might look down on other more poor sinning outsiders seeking safety, to reassure themselves they were not at the bottom of the totem pole of resources after all.

Democracies do not lend themselves to castles.  Democratic religions do not lend themselves to preachers with jets and palatial homes or entire protected cities with secret bank accounts and an ability to live by a different set of rules than their worshipers.

Don't get me wrong.   I do not denigrate the wealthy from enjoying their hard-earned wealth...I just want to make sure it was earned on their own backs,  otherwise, I believe in a more socialized distribution of the wealth that is acquired.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Notes on a Journey to the End of Time

My husband has been on an almost two-week long trip. For those of you who are widowed, this may have less meaning to your understanding of my adjustment to living alone.  I have totally given up the meal planning as I am the only person eating.  I have a batch of leftover chili, a few frozen dinners, and a ham and potato casserole which was left by the guys.  

I have made long lists of projects and want-to-do lists that have been rattling around in the back of my head before total freedom from meal planning days.

The first project was to begin to make a dent in my basement.  Boxes of stuff we never opened since we moved here.  Many folks have those.

I found six of these patio votives which I purchased and have never used!

Elsewhere and not yet found are the iron hooks that go in the ground upon which these should hang.

Above is something to grilled crabs that my husband wanted and which we have never used.  It is going to the thrift shop as is the Sushi maker kit he got as a gift and which we will never use.  I would offer on Facebook, but I think it is peripheral to many of my FB friends needs.

Lots of boxes have been emptied of junk and lots of empty boxes have been collected for recycling to the trash site.

I found files of old brokerage statements...decades old...surely I can burn these??

I have managed to clear some shelves!  I still do not know what to do with the electronic wine chiller which was a gift from son and which we have not yet used.  When I have company and open wine it rarely has time to lose its cool temperature!

Just to let you know I do not have a real wine cellar as some I have seen in friends and relatives homes.

I did buy this item below from the behemoth  Amazon while I was cleaning for storage and it arrived in two days.

This Lionel Richie has to be a daughter's album...maybe not.  Anyway, after I fit all the LPs into the metal file it weighs a TON!!

I do feel that I have accomplished a bit.  But I am also needing some mind cleaning.  When I finished today I returned to my computer and I came across this handwritten note on the table below my computer screen (my best translation):

Camfris Airs
Holiday decorations
Yellow capsules to rend

Obviously this list I made a while back and have totally forgotten what it was for.  Certainly, I recognize the "holiday decorations" part...maybe to put up...maybe to take down?

Well, now I will get one of those bottles of wine open and put a French bread pizza in the oven for dinner.

Monday, January 14, 2019

As Predicted

They said it was going to be a long and heavy snowstorm. I kept waiting on Saturday and nothing really was happening. It finally started at 10:00 in the evening when I crawled into bed. The next morning before the sun was up I opened the front door and saw this.

As the day wore on we got at least 4 inches.

Yes, it is lovely, but I had a doctor's appointment on Monday, and a 400-foot driveway and an absent husband and no snow service. So I put on my camouflage snowsuit and got the shovel out of the garage and proceeded to carefully move and lift the heavy wet snow in at least the first half of the long driveway. It looked like below at the end of the three hours.

I was tired but not exhausted as I got this far so decided to rest at the gate and save the other third or so for the next day. During the early evening, the snow began again and dropped at least another 4 inches.  When I woke up Monday morning this is what I saw.

Frustrated, I called the Doctor's office, waiting almost 45 minutes to get an answer, and canceled my appointment as most others were probably doing.

I am not going to shovel right away today.  There is possible melting this afternoon, so maybe I will wait and see if the sun helps me.  There is always a good side to focus on and that is no aches and pains, so I must be staying in shape!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

I have a Question

Your hubby is out of town and returning the next morning. A friend of his is arriving tonight to spend the night before a trip they are taking together. He is arriving between 7:30 PM and 8:00 PM. Do you offer dinner, a snack, or what? You ate dinner an hour ago.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Now for the Good News

It is a new year and I thought those of us who hug trees, believe in the integrity of science and scientists, and need some good news might like the following information.

  1. Keystone Pipeline paused
  2. Record corporate investment in renewables
  3. The resignation of Scott Pruitt
  4. New Congress pushing New Green Deal
  5. Ozone hole to close in our lifetimes
  6. Peru and Chile create new national parks in the millions of acres
  7. Latin America signed a landmark treaty to protect environmental defenders
  8. Pacific Islanders take a lead in protecting the oceans
  9. New Weather Satellite launched
  10. POTUS signed the Save Ours Seas Act
  11. EPA has regulated emissions from heavy trucks
I got this here if you want the details:  "Rare Environmental Victories"

Friday, January 04, 2019

Contradictions and Contrasts

I do love to curl up on gray-pending-rain days, the kind of days that good authors use for great prose inspiration, the kind of days that make parents go insane, the kind of days that keep the bars full, and binge watch a few episodes of some dark and somber British/Irish/Scottish drama of the lonely, alcoholic, detective running from dark secrets, a detective who is deeply sensitive and takes every victim of his (usually a "his "but could be a "hers") to heart with deep passion. Hubby, who is a bit of Irish finds these dramas way too depressing for binge-watching, although he can become intrigued by an episode or two.😘

I am not a somber depressing person by nature. At least I do not think so, and no one has told me that I am too gloomy. I am usually considered mildly bubbly and friendly while not necessarily outgoing. So what is it about these dramas that grasps me? I am guessing it is the disturbed hero that I want to be saved from his loneliness in the end, by a joyful young person who re-enters his life or a passionate lover who needs him. I also like the puzzle of solving the crime(s). I am not attracted to the many sexual persecutions of helpless women plots, but if they are peripheral to the story, I will continue to watch a nice bloody murder.  When I feel I need something warmer I will watch something like Midsomer Murders, which requires very little investment on my part.

On very rare evenings I will watch the Hallmark channel with its syrupy characters, cliched and formulaic, but I watched due to a need to see nice interior designs or fantasy holiday decorations or just something you can chew gum and easily watch while fixing dinner.

In the early mornings (with my new Christmas gift of a very expensive wireless headphone set) I listen to the BBC In Our Times from my laptop.  I work my way through the years of titles in alphabetic order....now up to the Fs.  Sometimes I just pick arbitrarily.  This morning I listened to a talk from three astrophysicists on the Kuiper Belt.  The discussion left with a tease of perhaps a huge planet just beyond our visibility that may be very powerful.  I guess that makes me a bit of an intellectual...although these days that is considered a bad thing.

As the morning progresses, I also am finishing listening to the audible version of Born A Crime read in Trevor Noah's own voice and wondering how he got to be so smart and compassionate considering his problematic upbringing.  

I did just finish reading The Tenth Island by Diana Marcum and while it made me want to go spend a month or so in the Azores, not sure I enjoyed it all that much.

All of this keeps me distracted from the torture circus in the news.

So just how are you keeping yourself entertained in our Northern Hemisphere quiet months?