Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Two Weekends in a Row

Some of us elders have the luxury of hanging out with Millennials.  I had back-too-back late 30 and early 40 somethings for two weekends in a row last week.  I did manage to talk myself out of a food panic.  I always want to be the gourmet/original/healthy/luscious cook when folks come.  Yes, I  am an  idiot.  Yes, it is a very bad habit.  This time I took a deep breath and decided to do something simple.  In one instance it helped that we had fresh crab for a central dish, something not easily obtained without money and something not all that hard to cook.

I took one of the couples, who are relatives, to a discount store of which we are members where they could do some shopping with savings.  They got to the candy aisle which was full of bags of candy for the distant Halloween holiday.  This involved a lot of discussion over which type of candy and how many bags.  It went on for some time.  Finally I went over to the  couple and asked why this was an issue.  The wife said, "Our neighbor across the street has caramel apples and hot apple cider and the kids walk on by our door even though  we are sitting outside.  We have to get better candy."

Yes.  In the grand scheme of things this is such a sad  situation.  Only in a first world country and in an upper middle class neighborhood is sweets giving so competitive!  I would be mad about having lots of  leftover candy and would have just turned off my porch light and  not  given out candy!  Such a bit of silliness.

Most of the rest of the weekend with them was boating and beaching which could help them unwind from stressful jobs.

The second couple who came the very next weekend brought along a lovely two-year-old girl who, while having one or two "terrible two" tantrums, was a delight to watch and share activities with.  This couple is just friends.

The husband of the little girl is originally from Hong Kong and so I was able to ask him to write up some notes for my husband's dietary restrictions during our upcoming visit to China.  He was able to write in the Chinese characters for both Northern and Southern China.  Fortunately, hubby's dietary restriction is not life threatening as it may be with others!

The husband of this couple also prepared a lovely salmon dish for our first night.  They brought ALL the necessary ingredients.   The biggest surprise was he did not have to ask me where any particular tool or ingredient might be in the kitchen.  My hubby can rarely make something without calling me  back a few times to  find something in the kitchen.  I was left to sip my glass of  wine and watch the toddler put together  one of my many children's puzzles.

There was so much more I learned and could say about these two visits, but I have rambled on  long  enough for now. 

This next week I face a long list of things  to check and do before our flight on Friday.

Saturday, September 21, 2019


My days have been filled with company and volunteer work and a few meetings. While I know that being active is very important in retirement, I am looking forward to some downtime before my 22-day trip that is also filled with stuff!

This post should go on my other blog, but I just posted something seasonal there, so I will write about it here.

Reptiles lay eggs in many different areas of the wild.   I have seen them move the gravel from the side of a busy road to lay their eggs.  I have come across them laying eggs at the edge of a hiking path in the forest.  This year one of our box turtles decided that the compost pile would be perfect with its summer warmth. The eggs usually hatch in late August and early September. Hubby was flipping that good earthy compost a few weeks ago when he found this

He is a scientist after all and realized he had torn an egg and induced an egg hatching before its time! Thus a section of my kitchen was immediately converted into a hatchery for one lone box turtle. He avoided turning the rest of the pile for another two weeks!

He brought in the aquarium and filled it with some of the compost.  I got a timed light to replicate the sun.  We added a small dish of water to keep the aquarium moist.

We had some watermelon and put a little of that in the aquarium/terrarium while waiting for the turtle to hatch.  Days went by, but we could see slight movement if we touched the egg, so we knew it was still viable (alive).  Finally, just before the visit of the first grandson, the little guy/gal shoved its way out of the eggshell and crawled to the watermelon and ate!

Hubby cut up a worm or two a day later, and turtle also liked that.  I was told by a friend that they liked grubs but never seemed to find those in our dry soils after weeks of little rain.  We also added pawpaws which are ripening in our woods now, and that was a favorite.  He still had his little egg tooth!

He did well for the weeks that we kept him, and it was hard to let him go out into the world of snakes, fox and whatever else might want to eat him.  We put him back near the compost with a little food, and maybe next spring he will return!  We will not recognize him and I doubt he will recognize us.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Blue is for Girls and Pink is for Boys

As in introvert I have found this rapidly ending summer to be a little "too much" in my face. I spent two weeks very closely interacting with relatives in July. I returned home to spending parts of weeks with my grandsons, involving planning days full of activities and love and joy.  This was followed by a weekend visit from my son and his wife, where I tried to give them a bit of respite from their demanding  lives. 

This coming weekend I am entertaining another young couple and their 2-year-old that I have not seen in 18 months, when the child was an infant.  I still am not sure why they are coming.  They want to expose the daughter to marine life...or  something like that!  While I am  flattered they think we are  good guides, I am also so done with company.  After all, in early October I am going to be on a 3 week  trip with my  family across China.  That should be a pleasure and so exhausting.  Those lonely short days of winter cannot come too  soon.

The coming visitors are "modern" parents focusing on gender neutral activities and ideas, even to the point of not allowing pink in the nursery.  It makes me realize that my ignorance of colors  and color stereotypes perhaps saved my sanity.  I had both a boy and a girl and therefore our house was full of all types of toys and books and I just let them play with whatever they wanted.  They also spent years in foreign countries which certainly broadened their view of the world and gender standards.  Seeing men in sarongs and skirts was common.  My daughter was a blue jeans kind of pre-teen and teenager and I did miss having the fun of dressing her up, but not the drama that comes with most girl teens!   Oddly today she wears designer clothes for her job.

My son participated in sports because we insisted for social  and health reasons, but music was his space for retreating and recharging.  Today his  hobby is songwriting.

While gender neutrality has its place, I think it is better to  focus on shelter and  rest in any color.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Things I Learned and Did Not Learn This Summer

I purchased a second hummingbird feeder so that the hummers would fight less and find that they prefer only one. I switch them and it makes no difference as they will still go to the preferred feeder. The feeders are identical. Hummm?

I learned when you buy tickets to an event at the Kennedy Center, it is not always a culturally accurate presentation and can be a political sham. (Explanation maybe in another post.) Anyway, the evenings are so worth going up there.

We once again missed the Dragonboat races but were down at the water the night before when eyes were being painted and tongues coated. Maybe I will learn to be better organized next year.

I learned that my husband will always have enormous ideas for projects!

I learned if you accidentally tear a turtle egg in the compost pile, you are responsible and it will change your kitchen for a few weeks.

I learned that when your daughter says the kids may be too busy to come down during the summer, at the last minute you will get at least two of them. What fun!

I also learned that leaving a teenager alone to bathe in your Jacuzzi can be a surprising experience for both of you...modesty notwithstanding.

Never too old to learn!