Thursday, December 31, 2020

I live Next Door to Martha Stewart

Drip, drip, drip.

I have blogged (belabored) several times on the economics of my current neighborhood, and this over-blogging of the subject, perhaps, was because I grew up poor.  The kind of poor where there is food on the table but not enough to fill a growing teen's stomach..especially when there were five children at that table.  The kind of poor that when you outgrew last year's winter ice skates, there was not enough money for a new pair. The kind of poor where you did not get the gifts you hoped for Christmas, so you did not make any wishes. My parents were loving but somewhat distant as life pulled them here and there while trying to make enough money to feed, clothe, and shelter a family of seven.  We were never the "homeless" poor although my father was on unemployment for one year.  I was in sixth grade the first time I ate in a restaurant, and that was with a friend and her parents.  Our form of eating out was the 15 cent hamburgers at MacDonald's when I was a teenager. I never knew how difficult it was for them to make ends meet, as they were good to shelter us from the tensions of money problems and we did not live in a community where there were wealthy that flaunted their fortune.  We never felt we were poor...just a farm family.  I am sure this is what makes me side with the liberals, as I know the hard-working poor.

Education was important and we all worked hard to make good grades.  Besides, that was the only way we made getting "A's."  We did not get an allowance.  I did have the fortune to go onto a small state school where I got a Bachelors's Degree.  Then after saving carefully at my first job I was able to go on to get a Master's Degree.  I met an educated man at graduate school and he was also a good and honest man and we married and raised our family on a solid middle-class income with a small nest egg from living 9 years overseas.  To me that is rich.

So living in my current middle-class house, which we designed and had built, is a dream.  As I have written before, the neighborhood is mostly upper-middle-class with at least three millionaires in the larger houses and everyone else solid middle class.

I have written about the lovely large house to our left and our good neighbors with whom we went out to dinner at least twice a year and talked on the phone as needs arose.  They finally downsized and now have a small apartment in the Capital city and a small Condo in Florida. Their huge house sold in two days!  The new owner(s) moved in over the weeks of December.  Three moving vans illustrated that the new owner(s) had plenty of furniture to fill up the place.  This was followed the week before Christmas by a large tree to decorate.  I do not spy on them, but as I did dishes there is a clear view between the bare winter trees and I easily saw the day-long activity.  

I called my old neighbor and she said that the new owner was a single elderly woman.  "Single elderly?" I said to my  former neighbor, "She must be very wealthy to live in a huge house like that by herself."  The response was "Oh, she has lots of money!"  This from neighbors who themselves have "lots of money."

I will try to get to the end of this ramble here about money, neighborhoods, and neighbors.  This week my husband harvested the last of the carrots from the food pantry garden...pounds of carrots and nowhere to deliver with a closed food pantry due to Covid and holidays.  The pantry was not to open until the second week of January.  So after calling around he found a good place for distribution but saved two batches for our neighbors on each side.  Therefore we(he) got to meet the "elderly lady" with a hospitality basket of carrots and a welcome card.  She was very gracious and surprised that we were the first to drop by.  I think she thinks our neighborhood is neighborly...

She told my husband she had sold her 600-acre farm to the north and hosted a garden show on PBS for she likes to garden and she must be VERY good to be on PBS. As hubby and she chatted, they realized they were the exact same age spared by a few months.  Her husband passed a few years ago.  So when hubby came back with a name, this nosy old bitch (me) had to Google her and I found that she is listed as a Philanthropist, rather than a TV host.  She has donated a million dollars to our county hospital and hundreds of thousands to other venues in this county.  We are so lucky to have people like her.  She is beautiful (maybe a face lift) but a lovely smile and warm face.

This morning my husband noticed that "Martha" was out in her front yard planting a tree!  She was digging a hole with a shovel and then she brought in bigger tools.

I told you she was Martha...she drives that bobcat!  You can just see her on her knees doing something with the vehicle.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


First, an answer to the older post titled "An Abstract" and posted on December 14 was BS as in Bird S###.  But it did make a nice abstract pattern within the shadow of dock railing at the fishing pier.  I was surprised at the evenness of the white spray!

Second, another answer to a more recent post, the gift WAS a pot mover and it "seems' to work well enough.  The problem is that many of my plant pots have become brittle with age and need replacing.  You must have a very good thick pot edge to tilt the weight back against those suction cups.  I will not be moving plants again until the end of March or early April, so my plant mover has gone up into a vacant closet.

Last winter here was very mild.  We got so little snow and so little interruption in our daily lives.  While this had a good side, it does mean that climate change is more impactful.  This year we knew we would not get a white Christmas.  We did get a "dandruffy" Christmas Eve.

I looked out the window at the weekend cabin across the way and what, at first, looked like fog or mist became a snowfall.

The flakes were like small tufts of feathers from the white breast of our Canada Geese that gather on the river this time of year.  There was a small breeze and the "tufts" came in waves.  If you click on the photos you may get a better view of what was drifting across the back yard.

Grandma shook her quilt against the sky and even more feathers filtered down but disappeared as they hit the warmer earth.  It lasted all day into the late afternoon sun which created a brighter light as the lowering sun peered through the thin clouds of snow.

I wonder if we will get snow this year to any extent?  In 2017 we got this much snow at another house where we lived closer to the city.  We were certainly sheltering in place for quite a few days back then.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Guessing Game

Christmas is not Christmas without something given to you in pieces that you must assemble. Some of the pieces were so small I lost them in carpet threads sometimes. Directions were only two pages long and in English...good English, so we (me) got it together in about 15 minutes. Pat this old lady on the back. It did take me some effort to get up off the floor. Can you guess what it is?

Friday, December 25, 2020

Squinting Through the Holidays

Today is Christmas.
I am waiting for a call from my children who want to open presents via Zoom.
I got out grandma's China for hubby and me to eat our meal.
Since Hubby cannot eat mammal meat due to his allergy we spent a small fortune on live lobsters.
The lobsters are in a box in the garage where it is very cold.
I did no baking although Hubby made a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin we had sitting on the porch from last month...a post for another day.
I bought a tiramisu from the grocery and it looks beautiful, better than anything I could make.
Below some photos from our rainy Christmas Evening.
One is in focus and one is hand-held blur. 
Which one do you like?

If you squint your eyes you can see 2021 on the horizon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Very Very Very Busy Solstice, Grab Some Coffee or Tea

The 2020 solstice day was a busy, busy, busy shortest day of the year. We packed the car with gifts for the kids and grandkids and then headed up to a small town about 20 minutes north of us. I had a doctor's appointment for my chronic cough which is still a mystery. He is increasing my meds by 30% in the hopes this will work! He is a jolly man and actually spends time talking to you about stuff other than your illness. I like him and trust him. 

Then we were off to to the city to visit the daughter and her three children. Her hubby was off for his shoulder therapy because he injured himself months ago on one of his many sports. When we arrived the granddaughter was upstairs with her therapist working on the pain in her ankles, probably from cheer where she is the base holding people 2/3 her weigh with her hands and shoulders! The oldest grandson has had the boot removed from his foot and still takes some therapy for that injury but he explained there was only a little pain now and he was working his therapy exercises. It seems he has an extra bone in that foot...rare but not so rare that they have never seen it. The daughter arrived at the door apologetically as she had three remote meetings and two conference calls that day and was squeezing us in. But since we arrived early she had not had time to wrap our gifts and was adamant that we wait so that we can take them. She went upstairs and we visited the two boys while she wrapped. The youngest boy was happy and healthy and not in any therapy! I told my daughter that I expected her to take better care of her active family and she laughed.  She told me to open the large box at my feet as it was my birthday gift---my birthday is on the solstice.  It was glass storage containers and I was thrilled as I am moving away from the unhealthy plastic in our lives. We visited a bit more, deposited our rather large box of gifts, and then headed to another suburb 20 minutes away where my son lived.

My son was alone except for his neurotic dog, who is sweet, but like many of us has issues.  His wife had driven far north to the Great Lakes area to see her grandmother who lives in an elder home and had just contracted Covid.  She is 91 and we are all praying she does well.  She is a bubbly and delightful woman and one of those who takes the tragedies and changes in her life with aplomb.  Son was also was panicked upon our slightly early arrival and proceeded to wrap the gifts as they were still in their cardboard boxes from the mail delivery on the table in his living room.  We all maneuvered in his small living room around the big tree and the enthusiastic dog and the rolls of wrapping paper.

He handed me a lovely and sweetly written birthday card (as I wrote... the solstice is my birthday!) and explained my gift would come by email and while we could not hug and kiss we deposited our gifts at his tree and gathered our boxes from him to put in the trunk of the car and air-hugged before we pulled away.

By this time it was mid-afternoon and we had not eaten since breakfast, so we decided to find someplace with take-out as this  County does not allow indoor eating ( which we would not do anyway).  I really craved a hamburger as hubby cannot eat beef with his allergy and we found a place that cooks actual hamburgers and not that flat meat that MacDonald's and Burger King now offer.  The fries were limp and needed more salt, but my burger was delicious with the fresh toppings!  Hubby had a mediocre grilled cheese.  It was an adequate birthday lunch/dinner.  Since we were eating so late I knew that once we were home it would probably just be ice cream for dinner.

We headed home after 3:00 P.M. and we faced absolutely gridlocked traffic all the way around the beltway of the city to the other side.  There were police pulling over cars, at least one large toll truck broken down, and just lots of cars trudging along.  As we sat in traffic, we remembered that on my birthday the "Christmas star" (the close matching of the planets Jupiter and Saturn orbits so that they look like one star) would be visible just after sunset.  

We stopped to pick up the mail about 10 minutes before sunset, rushed home to use the bathroom, get my camera, get the binoculars and head out to a nearby farm field to see if we could see these planet phenomena which had not happened for something like 1600 years (?).

I leaned against the car as the sun's fading made the planets and stars visible and tried to be steady with my handheld camera.  We saw it better with the binoculars.  It was exciting and even my meager photos will help me remember.

We finally returned home, started a wood fire to thaw, and watched a couple of episodes of The Crown before we sleepily headed to bed.  Such a looong day for two old retirees.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Regrets, I've Had a Few

Each year I drag out fewer and fewer Christmas decorations.  This year, with Covid hanging in the air, no one comes into the house.  The decorations are just in two rooms and only for the two of us.

I notice each year the ones that are handmade.  Most are handmade by my Mother-in-Law.  She did not have much time on her hands with the full-time care of my blind and demanding Father-in-Law, but she was always generous and cheerful.  When I received the handmade decorations each year, I am afraid I was not as effusive as I should have been.  Oh, I thanked her and was appreciative, but looking at them now in my old age, I realize how much care went into each one.  I also realize how far away my grandchildren are from appreciating anything handmade (other than friendship bracelets) in their digital world.

She made several of the ornaments on my small tree like the one in the photo below, all in different colors.

She also made these little stuffed Santa Shop characters that greet me as I walk up the stairs several times a day to my computer.

And leaning again the candle holder, made from a wine barrel stave (made by my brother and sister), I have propped these little felt ornaments.  I cut off the little rocking horse on the right with this camera angle, accidentally.

While she did live with us for her last few years, I do so wish that sweet lady, who was given such challenges in her life, was back here so I could thank her properly!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Drive-by Shootings While Running Covid-Safe Errands

I most certainly did some sharpening on these, but I thought they were fun.

Monday, December 14, 2020

An Abstract

Go ahead and guess. Not too hard.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Keeping Parallel

Not sure how time can fly faster and faster and faster when I am moving much slower these days.  There must be some physics formula about my solid body and the dimension of time which is not solid that overlaps intermittently.  I think it has something to do with parallel universes, those universes that say I am moving backward someplace else and getting younger.  ( There is some theory about a parallel universe that moves backward as ours moves forward.  I am not even remotely intellectual enough to go there.)

I do question that other dimension.  Do I still make the same mistakes or am I wiser? If indeed I am moving from my 70s into my 60s-50s am I wise enough to live a more healthy lifestyle?  Do I respect the elders more?  Do I understand their issues? Do I stop and smell the roses more?

Of course, I am taking this all too literally and it has something to do with order versus chaos among atoms and not a duplication of ourselves.  Even so, it would be fascinating.

Our tree is up...a small artificial tree that I put on a small table to make it look higher.  It comes with lights and we just put on decorations, not the familiar homemade type as I gave all the "kids" their decorations when they each moved into their own homes.  I have about 4 or 5 that were gifts these past years.  It is a lovely Charlie Brown tree and meets with my idea of simplicity but LOTS of gold globes and red glittery birds!  I am a conundrum...must be that parallel universe swerving.

The neighbors have all lit their docks this have we.  It is getting a little competitive as some are using more lights each year!  But there are lovely reflections against the water.  Two images of lights...parallel in their beauty except one is wavy and moving and the other bright and static.

Well, time to attend to some errands. Stay parallel until our Blogs overlap once again.

Monday, November 30, 2020

What Was That Sound?

The "food lovers" holiday has past and we now must dust off the treadmill (or in my case the elliptical). That extra five or eight pounds is not going to go away all by itself. Now we must also promise ourselves to eat super healthy for the next few weeks until Christmas (or other holidays at this time of year) when we can eat all the bread we want again. 

To also improve my health, I have been trying to increase my hours of sleep and one would think with the shorter days that this would be an easy win...not. So I was up at 5:30 A.M. this morning and listening/watching a course I am taking on photography via my laptop. The house was almost quiet except for the TREMENDOUS wind and rain we are getting today.  It would come in waves and then stop for a few minutes.  I paused the laptop video to refresh my coffee and just before I stood up, I heard a thick thud coming from the kitchen.  Had a tree branch hit the side of the house in this angry storm?  Did something fall over behind me in the kitchen?  Was I still alone with hubby sound asleep in bed or was someone stalking about the house in this dark morning?
I did not panic because it was a familiar sound.  It came from my citrus orchard in the corner windows of the kitchen.  The "thunk" was the fall of a Kafir lime about the size of a golf ball as the tree shed its ripe fruit.  It does become a prickly treasure hunt when I try to retrieve the green orb and nine times out of ten it falls into the farthest corner.

I am growing a Meyer Lemon tree, a Calamondin tree, and a Kafir lime tree inside and all super pruned so that they fit!  The large pots sit in plastic bins (ugly I know) because I have to really soak the trees each week.  They are mostly root and little soil, so I also fertilize every six weeks or so.  The Kafir and the Calamondon are full of fruit.  That means this winter I will get lots of fresh vitamin C.  These windows do not have the coatings that most windows have to reduce sunlight on fabrics and floors.  The timed lighting is necessary or trees would be dropping leaves as well as fruit!

I made turkey curry last night and the citrus was a nice addition sprinkled over the top of dishes and added to our beverages.

If I closed my eyes I could pretend I was eating in a small breakfast lanai on Bali.

Thursday, November 26, 2020


This is my favorite holiday. 

It falls usually on the mildest of days before winter and therefore you can have a fire in the fireplace or not!

It is a holiday where religion or lack of religion does not matter. You can still be thankful for all that you have been given and appreciate those around you whom you love whether you are thankful to a God or to good luck or to some mysterious Karma out there.

This is a holiday where you can eat most of the items on the table.  There is enough there to avoid allergies, avoid fatty foods, or just throw out the diet for 24 hours.

This is a holiday where people bring their best dishes and it is like going to a fancy restaurant with a large menu of endless suggestions.

(Yes, I am ignoring the history of how we treated Native Americans and tried to pretend that we were a peaceful refugee in a wonderful new land.  That was bad, but I am sure there were stories of refugees getting along with the natives back then as there are stories today of the same with new refugees.)

This year on Thanksgiving we must remember that even alone, we have much to be thankful for.  There is always some part of this past year that was rewarding or surprising or just peacefully there.

I hope that you can start a list of thankfulness and watch it grow as we move into the New Year.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Not Busy Enough?

There may be people who find sheltering at home in a blank canvas with little to do.  Oh, you can always do the cleaning and repairing and maintaining that living in this world demands.  That back bedroom can do with some dusting and drawer emptying.  That hall closet is certainly a mess.  Just making the weekly food shopping/meal list can take an hour or more.  And certainly, your email box(es) need(s) attention.  Those old computer files are not going to delete themselves.  And at the end of the day to pass the time there is that long list of TV shows you have recorded.

But what if that is not enough?  Many businesses (such as local and city museums etc.) are working hard to get a little money from you using virtual lectures, podcasts and tours. Some are free and some require money.  My mailbox is full!

From the Kitchen with Marcus Samuelsson, Acclaimed Chef, and Restaurateur.  (This from my stock advisor...YES I know!)

Our series of tips covering functions on your camera that you’re most likely not using.

ELA Webinar Recording: Deer Resistant Native Groundcovers

The Case for Embracing Uncertainty in Art

How a Mary Wollstonecraft statue became a feminist battleground

A Winter Solstice Celebration from the Smithsonian

Take Some Time to Enjoy this Nature Centered Podcast from WBU!  Winging It Through Winter  (How birds survive.)

Mozart: The Reign of Love

Well now in all of this cutting and pasting from my emails, I have lost my Html font codes buried in a lot of lines of blogger code and I am too lazy to fix!  I guess the next virtual class, lecture, webinar I need will be on Html and Blogging editing.

Hope you are keeping busy virtually!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

The Fog Seems to Be Lifting

I am not a patient person by nature, but I can call forth a version of the strength of patience if I am not distracted by other things. It is so easy today to get distracted by stuff.  Wandering through your bank statements to make sure nothing has been posted that should not have been posted.  The same distraction of statements from your credit cards.  Nothing comes in paper, so all of this has to be done on the computer screen and each place I stop has a different layout, different tabs, and a different list.  The use of paper was so black and offers or ads or bright colored menus that take you down the wrong path. 

My driver's license is due to expire in December.  I thought I should make an appointment this month to make sure I can get in because our Covid numbers are now climbing once again.  I find on that cluttered website where there are photos of people smiling and wanting to provide good service, that I cannot make an appointment and the Dept. of Motor Vehicles has to send me a notice before I can begin the process to make an appointment.  So I have to trust that they will notice on the database of my pending expiration.  Then I have to hope that the mail they send me will get to me.  Our mail is slower these days.  Also, my driver's license has my physical address and not my mailing address on record.  I use to have a rural mailbox, but after two years in a row of trees falling on it and destroying it, I decided to rent the expensive mailbox at the Post Office.  I did get a license sticker last month that had been delayed because it did not have my P.O. Box in the address.  Therefore, you can imagine my concern that I will not get such a notice for my license renewal.

Therefore, I downloaded and printed the change of address form.  (I had put off filing this because it also would impact my ability to vote!  That is the address they use to certify the validity of the voter form which I dropped off.  I just Knew with 2020 being the evil year that it was, I would be told they could not count my vote due to the discrepancy.)

Therefore, this week I began to complete the form to mail to the DMV for a change of address.  This is not easy.  They need several numbers that are on my car.  I have to walk through a muddy forest to my neighbor's house, an acre away, to get the numbers off my car!  We had the driveway re-sealed yesterday...thus leading hubby trying to park the cars on the street road and my car sliding off the side of the grass into the muddy thick ditch.  We had to call the tow truck to pull it out and then asked our neighbor if we could park in her driveway.  (Her house is under contract and no one is living there now.)  Since I cannot walk on the driveway for several days, I must cross through the woods.

This morning hubby found he had left about $100 of meat in his car after our food shopping trip two days ago!  We bought a lot of stuff from the big box store and he missed his two little shopping bags.  That now goes into the trash!

These are not the distractions that I wanted to take my mind off of  Pennsylvania counting ballots (that they could have counted days ago!) following their state laws of having to wait until after election day!

Please tell me that 2021 will be better. (I just heard that Biden has been declared the winner...that helps!) To leave on a calm note, I posted the photo below toward my side of the river as the fog was lifting---how symbolic!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

That Old World Will Spin On

It seems that my days are filled with several hours of computer interaction.  Most of my shopping including 80% of my food shopping is done online.  I get a service to deliver and I leave a very generous tip because I am so thankful and I understand they need the money!!  I am so lucky and blessed that I can leave a good-sized tip.  Yes, they sometimes get the wrong thing or put in one thing I did not order, but it presents a nice challenge when I have to edit the weekly menu.  I do have to go to the store every third week, just to see what is there that I might have forgotten.

I order everything else online...fall bulbs, FUDs, camera storage unit, a few books, printer ribbon, etc.  You may wonder what a FUD is??  Well, we are doing more hiking and canoeing and I am weary and leary of all the porta-potties or lack thereof.  A FUD is something I can use at a hidden shoreline or hiking off-trail.  You can Google it if you like.  I also pay all bills online, negotiate business transactions via computer and all meetings are virtual.  It can be exhausting I think.

I saw the daughter's family a few weeks ago.  We met outside on her porch, although we did go inside the house briefly with a mask.  We went out for lunch to an open-air restaurant.  The kids are involved in daily athletic activities and interact with friends, so I must be careful.  I got some great(?) photos to add to my mantle.  They grow so fast even when you see them, it seems they blur the lens focus with their growth!  We will probably not meet for Thanksgiving, and all but the youngest has outgrown Halloween.  Then Christmas may be via some device.  We are working on that.  They have all apple devices and I have an android.  I did figure out an app to talk to them on my phone recently while my daughter was giving the eldest boy (Who has hair so thick and long a small army of mice could nest in it!) a hair cut.  She is the most talented daughter!  I have no idea how she got those genes. That was a bit of joy even when viewed on my small phone screen.  I am so thankful for such short moments.  My son and his wife call every so often but we have not been able to meet up.  He wanted to come down this week, but the remnants of Zeta have canceled that.

I finally was able to schedule specialist appointments for my chronic and sometimes debilitating cough.  It had gotten much worse starting this past January and not to belabor a health subject, we are working on an allergy-related premise.  ENT visit with a long camera down the nostril (that was fun!), chest, and nasal X-rays, and finally a visit to an Allergist who did the "multiple pricks of the inner arm test" and said I was allergic to "lots" of stuff.  He prescribed a nasal spray and a pill and sent me on my way for a month to see if we can treat it without shots and more tests.  Been in and out of a lot of doctor's office during this pandemic and staying lucky thus far.  Each office has a slightly different protocol and I see people who are not panicked and those who are VERY concerned.  Some of the offices let you wait in the car and call your cell phone.

We took a few days off and drove down to Charlottesville, VA to tour and try to forget about all the nastiness of 2020.  Our hotel assured us they had sterilized the room and I took wipes and spray to do a second sterilization.  We were there 3 and a half days and had no maid service to worry about.  We ate outside at restaurants or took take-out and ate in the hotel room.  Breakfast was in their breakfast room with only a handful of others.  The most dangerous part was the outdoor toilets.  But that was over two weeks ago, so perhaps we dodged the bullet there.  Montecillo is lovely even though I have been there dozens of times.  The gardens are ever-changing. The University of Virginia was a needed burst of energy, even though there were few students on campus, mostly seniors it looked like.  And catching fall in the Virginia mountains, although we were a bit early, was soul inspiring.

University of Virginia


Here today is gloomy with Zeta hurrying our way.  We are listening to Lang Lang on the DVD to pass the time.  I am blogging and hubby is reading.  I need to exercise and have been postponing due to my cough/allergy, but that is really just an excuse as my breathing has not been impacted.  I do not sleep well at night, so it takes me some time to get my morning/afternoon/whenever energy up.

Now I am off to read your blogs, which I have certainly missed, both actually and nostalgically.  I hope you are all keeping the blues and grays at bay and staying as kind to yourself and others as you can.  There is much kindness out there, although you do not see it in the news as much as I would like.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Yes, I am here and well

Absolutely no motivation to write on my blog.  Not sure if that is related to the horrible politics, the COVID19 fears, the normal creativity slump in writing, or that I am a bore to me and others.  I am back for now.  I will not write too much as I have to catch up on blog reading from all your posts!

Enjoy this bit of a warm fall while I disappear again for a bit and catch up.

Sunday, September 13, 2020


The new neighbors across  the way and the new neighbor  who coud not build on the "unperkable" property, and instead, put in a dock for 6 his six figure boat with  two 100 HP outboards makes weekends a bit noisier than usual.  I do not begrudge them their  weekends and holidays and perhaps we also were noisier when we first moved  here having visits with the grandchildren, but I am older now and would like a more peaceful neighborhood.  All of our quiet neighbors have left for retirement communities and a younger crowd is moving in.  This crotchety old one is going to have to accept the motocycle, skidoo,  large motoboat noise along with that of weekend lawmowers and leaf blowers, I guess.

It was noisy on the river this Sunday while I was weeding.  I was in my front yard and the noise on the river was muffled and blocked  by the house.  Hubby,  on the other  hand, felt it was time to  mow the lawn!  There were several hours of  THAT noise and then suddenly he was way up by the driveway and I had peace and calm once again.  Amazing how body tension disappates  when all is calm.

I could hear my natural neighbors once again.  I heard a woodpecker making some call.  I heard the song of an unusual bird  and wish I was able to find it.  Birds are migrating and we never know what is coming through this month.  

My face was covered in sweat with sweat drops falling off my nose as I put down the clippers and got  my camera.   I sighed as the quiet  of  the  woods settled  in.  I was on my knees taking a photo of a very small gray tree frog that I had carefully avoided  while weeding earlier.  He was about the size of  my fingernail. Then in the quiet I heard an unusual sound.  

It was a very close whoosh-whoosh-whoosh.  I looked toward the garage wondering if  hubby was in there and had turned on some fan that had trouble starting.   It was an odd quiet sound and I just knew it was mechanical.  Then a shadow  crossed over me and as I looked up a  large bald eagle flew 12 to 15 feet over  my head and was crossing the lawn heading toward our gate and other trees at the front of the yard.  

Yes, I was too much in awe of  his prescence to  turn  the camera on him fast enough.  His flight was so quiet that you would only have heard it when there was no other noise aroundIt reminded me of the very quiet flight of the barred  owl  that we had unintentionally followed down the river on our second canoe  trip  the other day.  These birds of prey are certainly most stealthy.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Life Is Too Damn Complicated

My first advice for the day is to not order expensive European chocolate over the Internet.  I know, you have probably never considered that luxury.  Hershey's Company has made it very difficult to find something not overly sweet but creamy and chocolaty in the USA.  They have been able to manipulate what comes into this country to compete with their overly sweet candy.  But in the time of COVID I decided I needed a fancy reward.  It tasted fine...BUT!!

Several people commented to my last post about their complicated life with passwords.  I decided to take a photo (heavily blurred) of my MANY passwords lists.  I keep them on spreadsheets.  One spreadsheet is titled SHOPPING/BILL PAYING/INVESTMENTS.  Another is titled COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE  (i.e. router, laptop, wifi...)  I also have photography, travel, and subscription spreadsheets with passwords.

This might give you a clue as to why I do not change them very often, but instead, try to make them complicated.

I had to log into a government server the other day for my husband's evaluation of some grant work.  That site required at least one lower case letter, at least one upper case letter, at least one number, and one character.  But it also had to be twelve characters in length!  I really wish we could implement safe biological scans soon.

Here are the many pages of stuff I try to maintain:

I have some sympathy for those who are not as well-organized. People, like my husband, find this technological world a nightmare.  This world is not for the weak of heart or mind! 

Oh, then you also have to remember the passwords to access the spreadsheet files on your computer!!

Thursday, September 03, 2020

"A computer hacker is a computer expert who uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem"...right!

It all begins with just one creep from Russia with too much time and not enough money. Somehow Hubby's email got hacked. The first time in decades, so I guess we should count ourselves lucky. No bank accounts or other emails or friends' emails seemed to be impacted.  Then, being the good person that I am, I went in and changed my two email passwords as a precaution.  (I did not change the password for the email I use for this blog...but I must admit I rarely check it!)  The result of all this careful tying up of loose ends was that I got logged out of everything each day.  Blogger, Facebook, three emails...etc.  I worked my way back by re-entering or in some cases changing those email passwords again, but I am too stupid to make sure the interface I am using keeps me logged in because I check the "keep me logged in" box and I still have to re-enter the next day.  At least a drop-down box asks me to save the passwords...each and every time....drop, drop, drop.

I actually have two personas on my PC.  My hidden one for Blogger privacy and my other one for the real world.  Yes, it is all way too complicated for an elder world.  Thus, it has taken me some days to be brave enough to log in here.

I did not get logged out of bank accounts or doctors' portals which is good!

Because I am a slow elder and cannot really understand the difference between Google and Microsoft and why I need passwords for those, it has taken me days working to try to get this all straightened out once again on my computer and I was not the one hacked!   I am not sure that I have completed my work, but I am here at Blogger once again!  (I have lots of blog reading to do.)

There is a bright side to every storm front and that was we got phone calls from friends we hadn't heard from in decades!!  (How can they be friends if we do not keep in touch you may ask?  Well, when you have lived a long life you leave friends like breadcrumbs as you move around)  Hubby actually had a week full of long phone calls with old pals as we caught up on their lives.  I think his (fake email) call for help had many worried due to the real issues with Corvid19.  It was almost like being able to travel about once again.

I was involved in some of the calls as both of our cell phones and landline could be busy at the same time.  Two of the callers asked if we were Republicans?  I am not sure why they thought this had to do with anything, but I explained that I was not and would not talk politics with them if they felt that was not a good thing.  They dropped the subject and we went on to other issues!

I know so many nice people and some of my FB friends have said the same for them knowing nice people who support Drump.  I am not saying I am dismayed by I am liberal on some issues and conservative on others.  I am dismayed by friends who are The Donald supporters because our current leader is a disease...not an ideology.

I do sometimes wonder if challenges such as computer problems become more important because we are so isolated these days and feel even more so when cannot connect electronically.  

Well, now I need to go write about our long canoe trip the other day on my other blog.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Beginning of a New Season

Above is the completed new patio with the teak gazebo (turned into an arbor) donated by our neighbors.  This was taken before the solar lights and the flower pots I need to add.

I have been taping the Convention via Cable.  I do not need to see all the ads and PBS seems to have too much talking before the speeches.  Therefore, I tape and watch at breakfast the next day.  I can fast forward through lots of advertisements which really shows how much money CNN (and other networks) make on this!

I know that it is all ritual and programming and well-crafted timing and allotment of time to those who have paid their dues.  But it is the way of politics. Trading and bartering and the Dems are the big-party umbrella of varied people who have lots of issues they want to be addressed.  I just hope that the far left can be patient with the changes they are demanding and have willingness to compromise.

I will probably not watch the GOP convention as I have seen the guest line-up and most of those people are either from the upper-middle class and have no history of serving their country or helping their countrymen.  They are mostly scandal headliners who got in the news for their extreme behavior or behavior not normal for an average citizen.  It will be a convention of hate and not vision or hope.  

This afternoon since the weather has cooled we will go out for a canoe paddle in an area that we have not visited via water.  I hope to get some later afternoon photos of wildlife or scenery and I hope you will enjoy my sharing on my other blog.  Hubby probably hopes to catch fish.  We have not gone out much because the parks and boat ramps have been closed due to the virus and the weather has been too hot and humid to sit in a slow-moving canoe.

Restrictions on life are not going to change anytime soon.  Colleges are now realizing that Americans are neither sheep nor passive when it comes to restricting their social behavior.  We are a spoiled lot.  It has been drilled into us about our rights and science has become so politicized that common data and facts no longer penetrate the beer fogged brains of the young.  They are also angry that their youth will be restricted.  They are shortly facing adulthood and feel it is their right to party these few years they have.  Besides they will not be the ones with inflamed organs or facing death.  Have you ever met a twenty-something who felt death was possible?

I have tried to get back into an exercise program and that process has been fraught with both success and failure.  For instance, I am VERY good a finding excuses to postpone the effort!  I do feel better (if sorer) after my exercise, but I still do not like it.

Currently reading the book "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable" by the NFL player, Michael Bennett.  It is rambling but reasonably well written so must have undergone some editing.  He confirms everything I have felt about both the NCAA and the NFL.  I am speed reading it since I am not a football fan and have not been for decades, but I want to know how he sees societal change and what he wants to do.

Well, my coffee is now cold.  So going to get out of pajamas and into canoe clothes.  Hope you set aside some time today to enjoy...just enjoy.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Are You Getting Enough Water?

The world goes around. The seasons change. I am fully aware this will continue even when I die and after I die.  There is nothing special about a human that stops the movement of the universe.  

My days are filled with less in the way of successes or progress or something to be proud of.  I cook and then I eat what I cook.  Pandemic or not, old white ladies must have our food.  I admit that I am eating far more vegetables because I refuse to throw out good food.  People are starving, you know!

Beets and fennel for roasting.

If you think you have the worst of it these days please watch this 12-minute PBS report on a desperate journey following people who REALLY have the worst of it this year.  I guarantee you will be very thankful.

I have completed my request for an absentee ballot.  Hubby is driving it up to the election office to drop off since we can no longer depend on secure and speedy mail delivery.  He will park outside the election office and phone from his car and they will come out to pick up the request.  We can vote fairly early and there are election boxes to put your ballot into.  We have quite a few spread across our county.

One of the counties to the north of us just shut down all their testing sites due to questions on the protocol they were using.  Everyone who was tested in the last two weeks must now get tested again! 

have put in a request to see a specialist for my ongoing cough/allergy issue.  It has not gotten worse but has not gotten better.  I don't know if I can meet directly.

A TV doctor did say today that a child getting a serious Covid illness or dying from Covid is pretty rare, like getting struck by lightning or hit by a car.  He did not mention that the child would be standing out in the middle of a thunderstorm or in the middle of the street to actually validate this comparison to going to an enclosed classroom every day.

Well, I must go and fold the clean sheets.  I love having clean sheets on the bed!  I am so thankful that I can do that, and the water flow to my washer is phenomenal, thank you very much!

Friday, August 07, 2020


I was trying to create a mental image of what is happening in my little world.  The Corona pandemic has put us in boxes. Some are big boxes and some are tiny boxes.  The boxes I leap into have high walls even if they are larger than the box I just left.  No matter how high I leap to bravely land in the next box, I cannot see the horizon or even check out the box thoroughly before I land like the timid house mouse I have become.  I will not be able to see the horizon for a year or more.

Hubby and I ate out TWICE this week.  The first venue was a card table on a patio of the restaurant at least ten feet from any other table.  The second venue was a picnic table on the lawn of the restaurant also far from other tables and with canvas on the side to prevent those on either side from sending their breath our way.  Disposable menus, masked staff, and one-way doors in and out were the rule.  I felt reasonably safe.  I have reached the time in my life where I feel this venture is a bit necessary or I will accept being a hermit permanently.  We used alcohol gel on hands before touching utensils and glasses and then washed when we got home and tried not to touch our faces.  I did eat the french fries with a fork and then used my fingers toward the end.

I live in Trump country and most of the people I encounter think this is all too much carefulness (nonsense), which means I have to be even MORE careful.  I will NEVER understand how science became the enemy.

My daughter and her family drove down to the Carolinas to spend a week with friends and a week in a rental house on the beach last week.  She left the dog for us to watch.  Below nice and clean after I gave him a bath in the sink.

When daughter and family return on Sunday to get the dog I will be cautious about making the visit short and not inviting them inside for refreshment.  If they are OK in 14 days, I may drive up for a visit....maybe.  My daughter said she felt safer in a house that they rented...not sharing an elevator, not sharing a hallway, not needing a restaurant or sharing a swimming pool with anyone but the family they are close to.  She was in a much larger box for 10 days that I have encountered...but still a box!

Regarding Isaias., my daughter's vacation was denied only one day due to rain.  They were able to pool swim and beach walk and it has certainly been a wonderful trip for them.  Here in our area, we also had no trees down and missed the three tornadoes that were just miles away!  No flooding, but one leak in the roof above the upstairs bathroom!  Now not sure if that was wind-driven and not a problem or if we need to inspect the roof.

As an update from my last post, my friend from Scotland who IM's me weekly through FB revealed that he is indeed a "trans."  I thought our messages had been somewhat odd and while I playfully teased him about wearing red spangles, I am so glad I did not mess up and embarrass him or me by saying something stupid!  I asked a mutual friend and she told me he came out a little over a year ago.  I am sure he is terrified of his decision...especially in conservative Glasgow!  I then immediately Googled information on this, because I have not a clue how not to say something unknowingly mean or non-constructive.  I feel painfully for him as he is in his 40s and alone.  So hoping he lives a good and full life.

Planning on staying in the "home" box in the coming week, although I may go out food shopping.  I can order it in, but sometimes my list misses stuff as I start to cook---like my cornmeal.  Where in the heck did that go?

Hope all of my readers are finding their boxes well-cushioned and full of views of green grass and views of summer and a tiny window in the cardboard to see the future.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

No One Gives Ideas on Handling the Somewhat Odd parts of Life

My husband seems to find an excuse to run an errand at least once a day.  Home confinement drives him crazy as he is a people person.  I am not.  I like people well enough, but unfortunately, I like them better across the Internet or through an email.  I think I fall short in the friendliness skill area.  I find I spend a bit more time on Facebook visiting others virtually as they handle the pandemic.

Friko asked if we could go out.  Our state is one that shut down early and has been able to maintain a flat line with few upticks.  Therefore, our stores are open, our restaurants are open as long as the food is served outside and tables are at half capacity, our doctors and dentists are accepting appointments if you are feeling it necessary.  Other retail outlets are also open.  We are required to wear masks in all indoor spaces and wear masks when we cannot distance outside.  We can now drive more than 100 miles from home and the few states to the north of us will let us in!!  I used hand sanitizer on myself and all over the car handles, etc. when I get home.

I still place the mail in a box by the door and then later spray with alcohol before I open it.  It may be a useless precaution, but we are dealing with life and death here.  I wipe down the wine bottles when I pull them out of the cooler for use and sometimes the boxes of food depending on how I feel.

We do not take trips yet, except that one to the historic city I wrote about earlier.  We got out in the canoe and the motor boat...but even those have been delayed due to the horrendous 90 degree days here.

I mentioned Facebook and wanted to write about two friends that seem to be messaging me quite often with rather long talks back and forth.  I am not really close to either of these people.  I met them at my son's wedding years ago and have not seen them personally since.  One is a former CIA person who now works for the emergency services in his state and the other is a young man who works on computer tech stuff near Glasgow, Scotland.  They both are in their early 40's and not married.  While we only talk about things like gardening or in the case of my Scottish friend, how he wants to dress up when he can finally get out and celebrate at a nearby bar... I do often wonder why they message an old lady like me.  They both have parents they are close to because I see the posts on FB.  They both have expressed a wish to find that "someone special" so maybe they are thinking I may know some single girls...which I actually do!  But cannot imagine how in this time and distance I could work out something.

Anyway, I cannot help but wonder if there was no pandemic, would I be juggling this unusual virtual friendship?  Life is funny and odd but, man, if I could hook these very nice men up, I would!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Where Have I Been?

Where?  Here: fighting insomnia with a half pill of an over-the-counter sleep aid, dreaming deep complex dreams ( not necessarily bad dreams, just exhausting detailed events usually full of people I know), binge-watching my favorite British mysteries, and perhaps just procrastinating.

I have gotten housework done.  I probably do this because it takes my mind off of things.  Since we are home more, and hubby and I are together more, I find that hubby is slowly losing his short-term memory.  I may remind him 3 times a day, and unless it is something he wants to get done, it does not get done.  His mother started to lose her memory at his age, and that hangs over my head.  He has left the burner on twice this year!  He is aware of it and worried as he gulps down tons of flavinoids.  He is the one I always turned to for making plans and arranging trips. Good thing we do not have any trips in the future.  I am still trying to get him to cancel the hotel reservations in Hawaii that we made for our 50th anniversary.  We were going in December, even though our anniversary is actually this coming August.

My daughter is coming down the end of this week for us to babysit her dog while her family takes a vacation to the beach in South Carolina.  They have friends down that way.  We bought a timeshare there and they never want to use it, so now I have to figure out how to get rid of it.

I have an uptick in a chronic cough I have had for years.  This is not the time for that because of the pandemic.  I have no fever and do not feel exhaustion, so I just want this cough gone and in the past, the doctor has designated it is caused by post-nasal issues/allergies.  It will go away for months, but lately, it is hanging in there.  It will be hard to schedule a diagnostic appointment.

On another dark note, the south side of our brick home has a rather impressive crack in the brick going down 2.5 stories to the ground, and it now looks like we will have to install two of those helical piers to correct the foundation on that side.  4 to 5K!  Waiting for the engineer's estimate.  Hate to see the home I love aging.

A bad news/good news bit is that our neighbors who we like very much are moving to a larger community to the north.  The good news is that have a teak(!) gazebo that they gave to us and with our helper, we are converting it into an arbor for under the dogwood tree in the front yard.

Good news...there must be no particular order...I will get to see the grand-children briefly when they come down in a few days.  
Good news...I have air conditioning in this hellish summer.
Good news...I am eating very healthy with all the fresh fruit and veggies from summer garden booths and our own garden.

Good news...I found a young gal to cut my hair out on my deck and she is pretty good.  We are slowly beginning to understand how to communicate how I like my hair.
Good news...I have a lot of e-books and regular books still waiting to be read.
Good news...I still have blogging and bloggers to "take me away."