Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Night Out and A Mellow Out

My husband an I too rarely take advantage of the many activities in nearby Washington, DC.  It is over an hour's drive and we have to stay at one of the kid's houses in the suburbs and sometimes these activities are expensive.  But this past weekend we decided to take advantage of a Pink Martini pops concert at the Kennedy Center.  The Kennedy Center has several stages and presents all types of musical and dramatic events.  Some are free and some are very expensive.  When I had first moved to this area decades ago and first went to the Center I asked my neighbor if I had to dress up.  She laughed and said unless it was an "opening" I would see everything from nice dresses and suits to students with back-packs and in jeans.

This last weekend I saw the same.  Although some of these folks looked familiar and clearly were a celebrity of some type.  Nothing I could place in my limited cultural background.

Pink Martini is an international cultural band and now are based out of Portland, Oregon.  This particular evening they also showcased the talents of four of the great grandchildren of Maria and Captain Georg von Trapp.  These young ones are also now working out of Portland, Oregon, moving recently from a lovely little town in Montana.

It was a great experience because it was supported by National Public Radio, one of my favorite stations.  Ari Shapiro, one of their international correspondents, sang TWO solos and one duet.  Who knew?  What a talented and entertaining young man.  The very next day he flew back to Scotland to report on the independence vote in that country!  Also making a special appearance was Scott Simon from NPR, who cannot sing, but was most entertaining with his attempt at yodels.

I brought my small point and shoot camera and captured a few throw away shots.  My mind was not really focused and thus the camera had the same problem.  But I thought I would share the elegance of this concert venue for those who cannot visit it.

Just past the Hall of Nations into the North Grand Foyer where President Kennedy's bust towers over everything else.

Outside on the terrace where stunning weather allowed ticket holders to sip their wine or eat their candy while having quiet conversations before the opening curtain.

This view from the terrace looks across the Potomac river toward Georgetown.  (Maybe you will remember we ate dinner from that side and I posted a nighttime view of the Kennedy Center across the river?)

We were blessed with a stunning sunset looking toward the Virginia side.  This photo is blurred...like most of these and it "might" have been that great "Pink Cherry Cosmo" that I had with dinner at P.F.Changs in Arlington that increased the sloppiness of my photography.

But this last photo below turned out really fun...sort of like one of those rainy day impressionist paintings from a French painter.  Even mistakes can be rewarding.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Redisovering Cooking

Most of us get a lot of landfill in our mailboxes. If you contribute to even one charity or political action group you get on the mailing lists of hundreds of others.  I am in that demographic group (upper middle class old farts) that would get the type of mailing the Great Courses group sends out.  They offer courses on history, music, and science.  These courses come with textbooks and DVD's (downloads if you wish) and usually run well over $200 for a complete course.  Thus, I usually throw the catalogs away figuring there are enough free courses on the internet for most of my needs.  (http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses  -  https://www.edx.org/ - https://www.open2study.com/courses -  Some of these need Apple interfaces but most can work on any computer.)

Anyway, when I received the recent catalog I noticed that the usual courses had substantial discounts.  The course titled "The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking" which had been priced at $269.95 was reduced to $39.95!  This includes 4 DVDs and a book.  This course comes out of the CIA (the one at Greystone, New York) ...not the spy agency but The Culinary Institute of America.  (I know, you were wondering just what type of meals they taught!)  This CIA is a premier institution and I actually ate at one of the school's restaurants after a conference a long time ago.

So envisioning long winter months ahead, I opted to purchase this course.  Yes, I know it is dated and that is why they reduced the value, but it meets my needs.  There are 24 lessons at 30 minutes each taught by Chef Bill Briwa.  They are designed for home cooking and not commercial venues.  Thus far I have gone through lesson one which is an overview of ingredient, techniques and flavor, and I did learn a few things.  The second lesson was about essential knives and I learned even more.  Next I listen to the lesson on more essential kitchen tools---from pots to shears.

The lessons are a little dumbed down for my tastes, but I like the fact that they are short and to the point.  The book that comes with it follows exactly.   Oddly enough the chapters come with a list of ingredients to shop for but no recipes.  I will have to see how that works out as I move forward!  I guess if you have to know how much of something to add, you shouldn't be cooking???  Anyway, I am looking for an improvement in techniques and not new recipes!

I will keep you posted on how my spatchcocked chicken turns out.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Our Heroes

I just finished reading the autobiography titled My Beloved World (2013) by Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor.  As the 111th appointment and only the third woman and the first of Hispanic heritage to the Supreme Court she is one of the most interesting and groundbreaking women (people) in the justice system.  Her biography left me much more comfortable about our Supreme Court than I have been in ages with those old white dudes that sit next to her in their robes and their parochial minds and their lack of insight into how this world is changing.

Her life is rich and her own exploration of her life was marvelous.  She has such insight and is so willing to admit her errors and review her philosophy as she lives her life.  She is both an everywoman and a genius at the same time.  She is that woman you wanted for a sister or best friend.  She dances between poverty in Puerto Rico and touring with the Fendis in Italy and does not miss a step.

Lest you think I admire her because she is a liberal justice, please note, Sotomayor's circuit court rulings led to her being considered a political centrist by the ABA Journal.  Also A Congressional Research Service analysis found that "Sotomayor's rulings defied easy ideological categorization, but did show an adherence to precedent and an avoidance of overstepping the circuit court's judicial role."  Yet, when you read her biography you wonder at her ability to not get an ulcer when the Supreme Court ruled recently against affirmative action because we not longer need it!!  I am looking forward to her role on this court in the coming decade.

I recommend this biography to anyone who is interested in learning who makes up our citizens and who loves this crazy quilt of different cultures that makes us the nation we are today.

I understand there is a new biography on her and I will have to research that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Leaking Color

Mage challenged me to black and white...more sophisticated and more artistic and something I rarely if ever do because I am a color freak.  I took a walk around my garage to see what had the texture and structure for B & W.  But as you can see I kept letting the color seep into these photos through the leaks of my brain.

Monday, September 08, 2014


Passions come and go and some of them come and never go.  The wonderful thing about retirement (if your family is amenable) you can indulge to your heart's content those things that light your fire if they do not require large amounts of money that you do not have.  You DO have time!  Lately photo manipulation has been my addiction.  I go out and take a bunch of photos and if the lighting or focus is particularly good I can manipulate it until the cows come home or my back screams for me to get up and get moving and just have fun with the creations that appear.

Below is a butterfly I found sitting on my deck this past spring taken with a Canon point and shoot that I rested on the railing.

He is perhaps not exceptional, but the white background lent itself to manipulation.

First I cropped him, changed the photo light levels and contrast and then gave him super cool edges.

Then I decided to really turn him into a work of art.

I found in a coffee shop the poster below that seems to say it all when it comes to my approach to photographic art.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

David Simon's Dangerous Ideas

This HBO writer "The Wire" puts succinctly and with great clarity the argument that should reach a much larger audience.  Please take the time to listen to the entire speech.  (Please be aware it includes profanity...in all the correct places.)


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Two Sides

Two sides of the same coin.  One side is smooth and peaceful and the other is detailed and interesting.   One finds days without tasks a dangerous passage of endless time where one can see one's mortality looming ahead.  The other finds days unscheduled with meetings, errands, duties, appointments, or social obligations important days to be filled with nothing but pondering the beauty of a rich life.

One of us can nourish the soul on tufts of time between hours of busy accomplishments and discussions with others and the other finds it needs huge pillows of time as the only way to survive in the cacophony of living. 

One of us sees time as something to manage and the other sees it as a rich amorphous fragrance.

And yet, we do manage to walk this road hand in hand.

Monday, September 01, 2014

A Review: Movies and Holidays

We had those 4 young people Friday and Saturday.  The first day was quiet with wine on the dock and good conversation.  A crab and salmon and freshly harvested oyster dinner went off without a hitch on the deck and the mosquitoes held off until late evening.  Since one of the young men was from Hong Kong, he fully appreciated the fresh seafood even though it was not prepared as he was used to.  The next day was full of loud and busy boating.  Everyone was out on the water from noisy ski-doos with teenage boys hanging on to drooping swimsuits to those super fast useless speed boats filled with bikini-glad dyed blondes and the guy who owns the boat.  Little guys were driving(?) small flat-bottomed fish boats and others were pulling floats behind with small brothers.  We cruised to a nearby pocket beach and snacked on cheeses, deli meats, olives, dried fruits, etc..  The heat was a bit much, but we survived well, except for one small accident by me which I will save for another  post.

The couple that is friends of my son and his wife admitted to us they were thinking wedding plans!  It is not an easy road for the following reasons:  her parents are traditional, southern, and very conservative and somewhat religious, his parents are a big noisy Chinese family from Hong Kong with that Asian energy the Chinese bring to any celebration which can be somewhat overwhelming and demanding.  They are also not Christian.  I did not ask what religion or if they belonged to any religion at all, but the young couple were clear it was NOT going to be a church wedding.  They are not wealthy so having to keep all decisions frugal or give in and then let the families fight over who pays for what and thus runs the show...not a good scenario.  (I will let you in on a little secret in that they were thinking and we encouraged that they go ahead and get married secretly by a "Justice of the Peace" so that the future husband he can get on the bride's health insurance plan and they "plan" another wedding in a few more months when they have saved more money and had time to create a strategy.) The young man from Hong Kong has become bored with his job, and because they have no mortgage, no children, and are in their early 30's, he has decided to leave this job to join a start-up with greater risk but far greater potential but with no health insurance.  I am excited and hopeful for both of them and want to help them in any way without adding to their stress.

At the end of the second day this couple left on their way to do other things and son and daughter-in-law stayed on through the evening and next day.  We talked and talked (DIL was drinking wine so I did not ask about their plans for children...although I do know from another source that she is trying to get pregnant.)   Son helped us with our wi-fi and set up a password which I have been trying to do for months.  He also fixed some hardware on a window which had boggled my mind.  We have a great relationship with both of them.  Years ago we were not as close to our son who wanted to be on his own and not keep us in the loop of his merry-go-round life, but he has matured and she has also influenced a change in him.  Our times together are fun, peaceful, and rewarding.  I feel very, very, very blessed.  I am not the easiest person to hang out with if I care about you, so we all have adjusted I am guessing.

We did all watch the movie "Noah" on TV one night and may I warn you that it is the biggest waste of time.  The acting is the only thing of any merit.  The script is terrible, the plot is weird, the character development non-existent, special effects ho-hum...so do not waste your money.

Well, I am now off to do 7 (yes SEVEN) loads of laundry.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What a Silly, Where is your happy human spirit?

I will be returning my little grandson to his parents tomorrow eve after taking care of him all week.  There are always food issues, but for the most part, he is a most amenable child.  We visited a reptile show, had a watergun fight, raced Lightning McQueen cars, did new puzzles and watched a few movies.  Hubby played his part and fortunately this little man likes us both equally.  But I am not slated to have time to breathe, read, photograph or write poetry yet.

I must plan for the weekend as I will have guests coming down the very next day.  I do not usually plan a Labor Day party.  I used to ask my daughter and her son, but they already had plans almost always, and we, trying to think of others, seemed to always be between neighbors, so no Labor Day picnic or BBQ was usually on the horizon. (I must be better about plans.)  Please note that I am ignoring the fact that we were not invited anywhere either!

Anyway, my brave  daughter-in-law has asked if she and my son can come down for the weekend.  They have invited themselves.  And I am glad they have, even though I am totally exhausted from my bad back and my grandson.  And I refuse to make them feel imposing and I will pretend this is the best weekend ever.  Another reason is because she is also (with prior request) bringing her best friend and that friend's boyfriend and I just love this couple!  They are struggling in their lives, but are the good people we all want as citizens.  I am really impressed that my daughter-in-law is brave enough to ask to come for the weekend.  I do not know if I would have been that upfront with my MIL, who was a gentle old soul, but did not live nearby

So this Saturday I am up early to clean a little and try to plan/shop for meals for the weekend.  This is the hardest, but I will try to keep it simple and just enjoy their young ideas and energy!  If I learn some new stuff I will certainly share.  Have a great Labor Day, because no matter what you do, you deserve to celebrate you labors.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No Clue

It is early morning just after breakfast and I am sitting on the sofa avoiding as much movement as possible since I seem to have some sharp, terrible, lower back pain when I do move.  I have not had back problems for over a decade, but I did something wrong, cannot pin point what, and am hoping it goes away soon.  I am also caring for my 3-year-old grandson all this week.  Hubby is off to neck therapy as I sit here.  We are a pair!  Grandson is happily ensconced with his second puzzle of the morning.  I am peaceful as long as I do NOT move.  What are the chances of that happening the rest of this morning?

I have had the little guy all week and today is the first day of pain and I really do not think it was lifting him in and out of his carseat, or crawling around on the ground racing cars, or sitting on the floor putting together puzzles or lifting him in and out of a bathtub.  It just started out of the blue as if I had scraped away the soft tissue in my joints during the night and now there was bone on bone!  Many of you have been there and know exactly what I am writing about.

I am just thankful that I have the "easy" child this week!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tag, You're It!

While I was roaming the land of Big Skies with two of my favorite males, I got "tagged" by Colleen Redman.  I must state that I usually ignore memes, surveys, blog-monkeys...whatever you want to call these infectious bugs that dash through the social networks of digital song and make you dance/sing to their rhythm.  Yet, I have read Colleen's blog for years and since she herself is infectious, I accepted her challenge.

This is a very difficult challenge because it is for "writers."  I have just recently begun to see myself as a photographer, and now before I get too old, I guess I must get my mind about whether I am a writer or not.

I started writing for fun when I was in grade school.  I kept notebooks that were pasted with photos cut from magazines or bits of nature collected and then I wrote prose or poetry that had emerged (like vomit) in my brain.  It was an addiction and I really never thought about it.  But I had to do it.  In primary and secondary school the writing assignments (fiction or non-fiction) were my favorites.  I am a story person.  I even made up stories about my math figures to get through Algebra!  Blogging is my adult panacea, but I do wish they provided a free editor.

Anyway, that is the background for my answers below:

What am I writing/working on now? 
My blog posts, of course.  I just finished a short photo-journal book of the trip for my grandson and it will be a memory gift.  I tried to write in the mind of a 9-year-old and thus it was pretty yucky.  I had started a fictional book months ago and it was such a disappointing venture that it gathers cobwebs on my laptop.  I am always writing poetry in my mind, which sometimes makes it to the page.  I keep thinking I will follow through on a few ideas that are germs in my mind...but this is why I do not see myself as a WRITER.

How does my writing differ from other writing in its genre?
Unfortunately, I do not think my writing differs much.  My voice is a common one.  I strive for honesty and try to avoid bluntness, but they seem to come hand in hand.  I think that Gandhi had it precisely correct when he said the only God is truth...or something to that effect.  Truth is very hard to capture in words, though.  And I have not yet decided if it is truth that changes or my mind.

Why do I write what I write?
It is like eating and breathing and loving.  It is something that I HAVE to do.  I am a seeker and I hope that by putting the pen to paper I will find what I seek.  I hope to make astonishing connections and sometimes I actually do, on a smaller and more comfortable scale.

How does my writing process work?
I do not have a process, which is, of course, the problem.  Consistency is the engine of great writers.  Coffee and early morning and being the only one up are the keys to getting my writing engine going.  I procrastinate on keeping a notebook for all my treasured thoughts as I work through my day.  Colleen keeps a notebook and even more important she can decipher it when she needs to!  I am a people watcher and do have a skill for recognizing a good character...now if I could just weave that into a tapestry of a story.

What are my future blog plans?
Since I do not have deadlines nor do I get paid for this, I do not have to have a plan.  I still feel a calling to write and would do so even if no one read these words.  When I began blogging in 2004 (before you were born?) I had no plan and thought of it as a private journal.  Then I may have been a better writer in purity of thought and tone---who am I kidding?  Now I am somewhat addicted to "my readers" and have them in mind when I write.  It is probably not good for writing that you care how your readers perceive you and sometimes bite your pen.  

I will not tag anyone, but would love if any of my readers desired to pick up this tag/flag and run with the ball and any other metaphor you care to use...just let me know.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Time Travel

I have heard of jet-lag but I think I had become infected with time-lag this trip.  I went from seeing old, old, old, friends where I had deep and emotional touchstones, where it was almost as if they were on the other side of a time warp and while my fingers touched quickly, that only happened if my eyes connected at the same time.  Otherwise it was somewhat like rapidly flipping pages in a dusty old photo album.   You try to hang on to the memories of you and them that happened and created part of the puzzle pieces that form bits of what you are today, but you also realize, at least those of us who live great distances away, that this is like visiting an old and favorite movie.  It brings back feelings, but you are not sure that you were a character in that movie...maybe you only watched it one time long ago when you were most impressionable.

Those of you of live near where you grew up may not have such a jolt when your paths cross with old friends.  I do not know.  I do know for me it is a bit of  an acid trip.  My energies get drained and I lose my place in time and understanding.

This may very well be the last time I see old classmates all together.  It will not be the last time I visit family.  We see each other every few years, but that is mainly due to weddings and children moving across the country.  These will soon dwindle and we will have to make an effort to meet up.  Someone, a sister-in-law whose family lives across the Atlantic Ocean, suggested we needed a big family vacation together.  The last one was in Italy well over a decade ago.  I am up for it this decade, but may not be up for it in decades to come.

I do think part of this sweep in emotions was that in the middle I shifted gears to share 9 days with my nine-year-old grandson who is a treasure of a traveler.  I hope he keeps happy memories of this trip because we were all in a super genetic link with similar interests and energies.  I do not think the link will be so smooth with the other two when their time comes for such a trip.

OK...next I will take on Colleen's TAG...!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

As Luck Would Have It

So the first Sunday in Colorado was going to be a rather long day.  I had a 50th High School reunion at a local small town restaurant (there were only 21? in my graduating class and only 7 showed!).  It was an emotion-filled thing with many having passed recently including one of the men helping to organize the event.  We all are talkers and I did not get to any really in depth conversations with anyone as we sat around a rather large square table with our spouses and significant others.  No one has changed in personality or interests though.

The horse girl is now a horse lady and she forgave my best friend and I for TP-ing her house every Halloween.  It was a big old mansion at the end of Main and we just could not resist.  She is about four feet five with a lovely long gray braid down her back and drives a BIG truck.  My two best girlfriends sat on either side, and as is true with best friends, we found plenty to talk about and started right where we had last left off.  The star quarterback and main basketball player who went to STATE our senior year had shrunk!  He was small in build and shorter than I. What happened???  My old boyfriend was in the process of his second divorce due to having an affair with the pretty blonde lady that he brought to the luncheon.  He is fairly wealthy owning lots of land in the area and seemed to have no problem leaving his house on the lake in a nearby town to his former wife who sadly was fighting cancer. Whatever did I see in him?  The class Valedictorian was still somewhat of a snob, but had spread in size and looked less like a book worm and more like the life coach she had become with her PHD in psychology.  Two of the spouses (men) sat like cigar store Indians, but were not bored, just quiet.  My husband talked almost the entire luncheon with my ex-boyfriend...wish I would have been a fly on the wall there.  Below is the class with partners, only 12, and faces blurred to protect the innocent, although I am guessing that none of us were innocent anymore.

Then later that afternoon my family had a get-together BBQ in a nearby town with even MORE food.  Hubby had his birthday that day and I was helping carry out a HEAVY strawberry/chocolate/poke(?) cake in a glass casserole when I missed the 1-inch step down on the patio and went down like a drawbridge just missing the metal table where everyone was sitting.  I landed on two knees and one elbow with the cake in my arms.  I managed to save the cake!  I had whipped-cream on my nose as I struggled up after someone took the cake and no one DARED take a photo.  Actually they were in shock when I stood up and you could have heard a pin drop.  My knee and elbow bruises were ugly...but no broken bones, even though I have osteoporosis.  I sat with ice on the knee for a while and broke out in a sweat due to the shock, but managed to maintain my cool.

As luck would have it, all the bruises were superficial and I was able to do all the walking and hiking the next two weeks in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana although the knee bruise got much uglier!  Oh yes,  I did say I saved the cake...didn't I?  (Post Script...my dress pants tore in my fall and luck had it that this happened AFTER the reunion so I did not wear torn pants!)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Assess the Situation

She is back.  She is thinner!  She is older.  She is much more meditative after spending time with old high school friends and family that she sees once every few years.  She is more mellow after spending two weeks touring the Wild West and Big Sky Country with a nine-year-old.  She has tales to be digested before being shared and she has to work on a "tag" from Colleen of Loose Leaf Notes.  But right now she is heading out to a small, local, French restaurant with her hubby to honor our 44th anniversary!  She has missed the blogging and the bloggers and will return to full force soon. (For some early photos go here.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back and Forth and Up and Down.

Packing for a trip this evening but saw this on the news and was sure that I was losing my mind.

"Hours before Congress broke for the August recess, House Republicans claimed that the President could use executive action to fix the border situation with unaccompanied children fleeing violence in the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. In a press statement released Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other House Republican leaders indicated that President Obama could address the crisis “without the need for congressional action,” a statement tinged with some irony given that just the day before, House Republicans had slammed the President with a lawsuit claiming executive overreach"   This lawsuit is the GOP suing the President for using executive action to delay the implementation of a part of Obamacare...the very bill they tried to repeal dozens and dozens and dozens of times.

The House can find no middle ground on an immigration bill which their members claimed three years ago would be done by now.  They do not agree with the Senate version.  Now they want the President to use Executive action to solve the issue so they can take off on five weeks away from the job with perhaps less guilt for their inaction.

At least I may be away from the news for some time and that may prevent me from pulling out my hair until I am bald.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beefcake? and Perhaps a Little Cheesecake?

One reader asked if I was writing a romance novel based on the subject of my last post.  No, I am not a big reader or writer of that genre, although I must admit as a much younger woman I consumed my share of bodice rippers with lantern-jawed mysterious men.  Fellow blogger, Rain Trueax, is the romance writer that got me thinking about abs because she has written a number of books that require covers with abs. We talked about cover designs for such books as she does her own.  She has a passion for our country's early history and the wild west and the cultures of that time.  She does extensive research to make her characters come to life so that the story she weaves is more than just romance, and her women are as strong as her men.  If you want to know more about her writing and her books you can go here.

Anyway (please read this in an Ellen DeGeneres voice), I had an opportunity to explore more Beefcake the other day.  I went to an event with my children and grandchildren.  This is an event that I would never have gone to on my own, and unless you are a former marine or married to one, I doubt very much you would have ever gone to one of these either.  (By the way it costs $25 a head just to be an observer, so I probably will not go to one of these again!)  Oorah!!

There was lots of dust and mud and sweat and blood.  You may not know, but it seems that the term cheesecake actually may have originated in Britain way back in the 1660's!  Sexy (and promiscuous) women were referred to as cheesecakes and tarts.  The few women in the last of my photos in this post are NOT cheesecake and certainly more beefcake.   The theory on the word beefcake is that movie cameramen were the first to use the term in the late 1940s and early 1950s when they discovered that women liked to look at well-honed men and actors started taking off their shirts and smiling in that certain way.

These guys above are serious because they clearly are willing to get dirty.  We all know how bad dirt is.

This beefcake (with hench woman and child in tow) is not too proud to wear his glasses when the challenge is done.

(No comment on the dude immediately above!)

 Get down there and eat that dirt!

NO, the woman in the foreground is not dead or tired, she is actually rolling all the way across to each log.

They were moving very slowly by this time as the ropes were super slippery from all the mud.

As they walked up to the last few challenges they all looked like the walking dead to me!

BUT before they could shower and reveal all those six-packs they still had this last challenge to leap over!  "Oorah!!"

I know, you are disappointed that these are not as sexy as you had hoped.  Maybe you can go on over to Mage's ComicCon photos as she always manages to catch a sexy type or two and the costumes she photographs are far more intriguing.

Oh ... one last photo to let you know why in the heck I was there. It was to support my granddaughter and grandson.  She doesn't usually run in purple net skirt, but Dad was too late on arrival to get her changed!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Cover Up

Winding down the end of the week with the little granddaughter.  It is Friday morning and she had doughnuts for breakfast and is now watching TV...those things that we are supposed to avoid doing with kids.  But I need a slow morning and thus I have her plugged into the mind-less-tube.  We spent time at the pool the other day and I took the photo below.

This photo is just for one of my blog readers...Rain Treaux.  We were having a discussion on abs, hot men, book covers,  etc.  Do I have you curious?  Oh well, too busy to elaborate.  Just enjoy, unless you are a guy.  See you in a few days!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Busier Than Any Old Cliche You Want to Choose

The world is too much with us this week and in the coming weeks.  Hoping to find time to post and read blogs, but as most bloggers know, the world waits for no blogging man (or woman).

Yesterday was filled with about five hours of doctor's appointments, blood tests, waiting to fill prescriptions, and cancellation of our attendance at a philanthropic reception last night.  Hubby was in so much pain (neck and then an elbow---see prior post) that we pushed into seeing his primary physician late yesterday morning.  Without going into all the details, let us just say we continued this journey most of the afternoon.  He is on three more prescriptions and we are waiting for side-effects.  One side-effect was that he slept all the rest of the day into late dinner after we got home.  He is no longer in pain and trying to slow down.  (We have not checked crab traps in three days !)  Health issues never fall at a convenient time, and this summer is already very full for us.  But, we did squeeze in an  MRI at the end of the week.  We have to get to the healing issues because....

Today I have to get another reservation confirmed for a trip to Ireland in early September (going with my son, wife and in-laws after our cancellation of our trip to Turkey with the other set of in-laws due to all the war issues raging everywhere.)  Today I have to plan for a children's class on soil.  Today I have to grocery shop and plan menus for the week. Today I have to vacuum.  It is crazy, please try to keep up.

Granddaughter gets picked up on Sunday, tomorrow, for a week with us.  We are making felt fairies, cooking stuff, having a chocolate tasting, swimming and dragging her to the garden class I am teaching with other children on Monday.  I am tired already, but loving the opportunity.

Then the week after next week is a break before hubby and I are off to Colorado and Wyoming for two weeks with the 9-year-old grandson to explore geology and nature and sleep in the bowels of a volcano.  He will visit great uncles and aunts and I will attend a high school class reunion as well --- of about 10 of us really old people who are in good enough health to show up!  I am not looking forward to the emotional roller coaster of that luncheon, but I must go.

Then it is back home and another week to recover before we get the littlest grandson (four-years-old) for his week of being indulged by grandparents.

Summer will be over in the blink of an eye and then just one week to get ready and pack for our Ireland trip.  Son's in-laws are making most of the plans, but, thus far, we have only the Dublin arrival, two days in Ballingcollig, a rental car and two days in Dublin before heading home.  We have the whole middle of the week to fill and I wish they would get on it!

Yes, I am tired, you are tired, we are all tired...but we are keeping one foot in front of the other because the alternative is not something I want to dwell on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


You don't want to be there, even if it is for something simple, like making sure you are A-OK.  But I was there for someone else.  I was there for hubby who had fallen off of a ladder...not far...just five feet.  He landed on his butt, but since he is missing the back side of 5 neck vertebrae from a serious operation years ago and the little bit of whip lash from the fall left him a bit stunned, even he agreed with his doctor that time in the emergency room of the hospital was a trade off well spent.  So we were waiting to be called.  We were number 3711, they no longer use last names.

The waiting room is designed really well, since you can hear the nurse at the front hall as if she had a microphone and she is just calling in a medium voice.  When she leaves it is pretty quiet except for the whispers of the half dozen people waiting.

The man in the wheel chair with the oxygen tank and beard and long white hair looked at me suspiciously when I sat down across from him.  His son said something to him, but he was hard of hearing and missed it. 

The two others were women, one in the early stage of pregnancy and in a bit of pain and just finished being put on IVs and the other woman closer to my age in a wheel chair and nursing a banged up leg, surrounded by her entire family that must have been at the Sunday BBQ at her house from the way they were dressed and acting like this was a continuation of the afternoon party.   They cleaned out the snack machine, checked their phones and spent the rest of the time telling jokes.  One son looked a little like a younger version of Willie Nelson with a navy handkerchief over his head and a wiry beard.

In about 30 minutes hubby was called.  He was called ahead of the man in the wheel chair.  I went outside to the garden and took some photos.

Flowers and flowing water surrounded me and were certainly there to relieve stress.  I was not stressed as hubby was in just a little pain and had been taken for triage, but I knew this might have eased some minds on other days.

I had my point and shoot camera and caught this lovely butterfly, a common buckeye on the black-eyed susan.

It was hot and humid, so I returned to the air-conditioned waiting room after about ten minutes.

The man in the wheel chair had moved to a chair but was at his last bit of patience and stood to tell his son he was going home.

"I have been waiting  two  #$$9ing hours and I am %^&-da*?%$ sick and tired of this!"

I agreed with him as they had taken hubby before him.  Son tried to calm him but they were almost shouting since he was so hard of hearing.  Within a few seconds a tiny ball of energy weighing no more than 90 pounds herself with the sweetest smile and little notepad came in front of them and began asking questions.  He was not in the mood for her charm, but she finally got him calmed down while she left to see where he was in the grand scheme of things.  In about 5 minutes she returned. took his arm and they walked through the automatic doors into the triage area.

I continued to wait.  I read my Kindle, slept some and even watched some obnoxious ESPN channel where a loud-mouth was telling us how much he knew about some player and how everyone else was stupid and so wrong.

After two and half hours hubby was released with drugs, feeling no pain and getting good news about his neck.

Unfortunately we were hungry and made the mistake of stopping for a light dinner and ended up driving home in the worst electrical storm I had ever seen...we were following the front south and right under all the lightning.  Hubby was on Oxycontin and very casual about the 4 and 5 lightning strikes every few minutes.  I was trying to see the car ahead of me. (We were slow enough at one time that I grabbed the camera and shot through the windshield.)

We got home to find absolutely NO RAIN in our yard.  It had stopped just a few hundred feet before our neighborhood.  What a bummer.  No glorious sunset either just the last of the clouds above the trees.

But I am not complaining one twit as this was a very nice visit to an emergency room and it could have been so much worse.  Do not even get me started about hubby on a ladder without me!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

100 Years From Now

100 years from now,
Who will remember my name?
Who will protect my treasures?
Who will call forth the memories?

The world I know may be lost by then
Into nuclear winter or endless hot summer.
The few natives will have retreated
Into the bowels of the earth
For rough shelter and safety.

The earth may have slid in upon itself
Becoming an abstract Dali-esc spheroid of clay
Robotic machines may be keeping the peace
Comedy becoming a lost art
with only an abundance of fearful snickers
and outright chuckles rarer than hen's teeth.

Music a distant memory
A long ago dream of another land
Propaganda in song more of a Greek chorus
Days hard and empty
Nights cold and unnerving

Who will remember the unscripted laughter of a child?
Who will protect the benign lover?
Who will call forth their own courage,

100 years from now?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

An Awe Fillled Moment

Another unusually hot day causing me to spend less time outside under the baking sunshine and more time on the computer.  Hubby returns from running some errands and there is excitement in his voice.

"Tabor, come outside,  I want to show you something."

"What?"  I sigh.

"A baby fawn...on the outside of the fence."


He sets down a package and continues, "I got out of the car and heard this bleating sound.  I thought it was some strange new bird and so went toward it and there on the outside of the deer fence was this fawn calling out."

Tabor never rarely misses a photo op and so I grabbed the camera and garden shoes.  Hubby and I hurried to the fence behind my herb bed.  We scanned the foliage carefully.  The sun was bright and the shadows were very dark.  Nothing.  I walked along the side of the fence looking.  Nothing.

Well, damn it, I will just walk outside around the fence!  It is about a half block long so it took me some time to get through the driveway gate and make my way around through brambles and poison ivy and prickly holly to the edge of the ferns where hubby said he had last seen the fawn.

We gently looked everywhere and were just about to give up when hubby stepped back to turn around and head back to the house and at his heels there looking up at him was the tiniest little fawn I had ever seen bleating so sadly.  We must have stood there in shock and awe for some time before we decided that the fawn must have lost its mother to come up to us.  We easily lifted it into our arms, took it into the house and tried to give it some water, which it lapped very hesitantly.  We took it outside to the fenced garden, afraid our air-conditioning might be too much of a shock for such a little thing, and then came back inside and called DNR for help.

They referred us to a local rehabilitation house (a home) run by a retired vet, I think, hubby had done all the talking on the phone.

We wrapped the fawn in a towel and I placed it on my lap in the car and hubby started the GPS and proceeded to the house on the other side of the county.    A young teenage girl, who worked for the vet, brought us inside.  The animal house itself was a disaster.   It smelled like a zoo, there was junk every where, floors needed washing, rugs needed vacuuming.  The vet, who had been showering, greeted us in a bathrobe and was also surprised at how tiny this fawn was.  Born maybe just days ago!  Even he had to take a photo!

He weighed it, felt its stomach, and looked at its eyes and declared it very healthy and recommended we return it to the woods.  He said there was food still in the stomach.  We were glad he said this, because I do know sometimes mothers leave their young for some time, and did not want to keep it or leave it with him in that disaster of a home.

We took the little beastie home, washed it down with a damp clean cloth to remove any of our smell and returned it to the woods.  It stood there looking longingly at us as we placed it on shaky little spindle legs and did not move.  I pushed its behind gently and it finally walked into the deep ferns and amazingly disappeared almost instantly.  We have not seen or heard from it since, so I am hoping is well!  That is, until that little creature becomes a yearling and starts eating our shrubbery next year!!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The Females Who Saved Me From Myself

I have cried and sighed with Anne of Green Gables.
I have loved and wondered with Anne Frank.
I have lamented Scarlett O'Hara's self-centered ego but applauded her stamina and wished I had her waist.
I admired Nancy Drew and her fearless independence and money.
I learned determination and stubborn argumentative ways from Jo March.
I wanted Karen Blixen's sense of adventure.
I helped Charlotte weave her web and fell in love with Wilber.
I wanted Rima's ethereal presence in her Green Mansions.
I wanted Elspeth Huxley's childhood and powers of observation.

I am sure there are more as this was a stream of consciousness post, but these were ones I read when I was younger (Teens and Twenties) that influenced me the most.

Who are some female characters, fiction or non-fiction, in the land of books that influenced you in as a teen or young adult?

Saturday, July 05, 2014

King Arthur, Spoiled Brat

Arthur came rushing up like a banshee getting angrier and angrier with its temper tantrum until it hit the shore and colder waters.  It was almost as if it had been punched in the nose as it slowed and moved back out to sea.  It completely avoided my little pocket of land on the Eastern shore.  A cool weather front met Arthur's challenge and we now have spring weather for a few days.  Sweater weather...almost.

On the down side we got only a tenth of an inch of rain and winds too strong to go out in a boat.  We headed down  to the local town for an old-fashioned fireworks show being surprised that parking was not full and there were still many places to set up chairs on the church lawn.  We had not seen the fireworks from the land side and asked a dear old lady (younger than me probably) sitting on a folding chair about the best vantage points.  She explained the fireworks had been postponed and she was just waiting for her family who had decided to walk around town before sunset.

A number of years ago a restaurant fire on this island coupled with heavy winds almost burned down the entire town as firefighters worked desperately to bring it under control.  The tally was only two buildings lost and some smoke damage.  With the wind causing unpredictable drifts that evening, fireworks had to be exploded another day.

I am no longer a child and was happy just to get out for a bit and then back home.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


I, like many of my readers, do not like programmed vacations filled with artificial entertainment.  I did like the Williamsburg visit.  They had a game for young historians called RevQuest where they use clues, decoder charts and talks with staff in costume throughout the historic town.  The children and young adults pretend they are spies for America working with the French during the revolution.  They meet in secret places and wear a scarf so staff know they are spies. They have to text messages from cell phones to get confirmation when they think they have solved a part of the puzzle.   I do not think this part of history gets enough promotion.  Oldest grandson, who loves puzzles, did very well.

Re-entry after our week away was a slow process as I caught an intestinal and other illness (probably from sharing water bottle with granddaughter or visiting two 'amusement parks') and had to schedule an appointment for antibiotics yesterday.  I actually enjoyed sitting around and reading and going through the mail and sitting close to the bathroom and not seeing the problems in the yard yesterday.

Gardeners are the type of people who would rather stay home during the growing season than go off and explore some other parts of the world.  It was daughter who chose this time of year and because we want very much to be with them, we agreed.  We came back to a lot (A LOT) of rabbit devastation.  Almost every one of my sunflowers, some over 6 feet tall, brought down by little teeth.  We were not there to spray with a noxious minty smell every few days and they discovered that sunflowers and parsley were not mint but a delicious breakfast and dinner!  They also dug under the fence of our vegetable garden and we have had a real set back with almost everything planted except the tomatoes, of course.  Fortunately gardeners have a strong heart.

On the plus side, the five bluebirds have hatched and are being fed by mom and dad throughout the day.  Feeding five!!  That keeps you busy.

I did take a short time to visit the used book store in the store area of Williamsburg and purchased a collection of poems by Pablo Neruda, motivated by my recent read of "Paula" by Isabelle Allende, and a memoir written by Katheryn Hepburn on the making of "African Queen" which is one of my FAVORITE movies.

Today we begin to move deck and patio chairs and small items to prepare for the tropical storm that is heading up our way. I have many photos to process.  Actually I took less than 500 for the whole week, so I am getting more precise in what I want to take.  I have a house to clean.  We are picking quarts of red raspberries which are not being totally removed by birds and squirrels.  I have to make an apple raspberry pie and hubby is putting up pints of raspberry jam.  I have to do all this before we may lose electricity in the next day or two!!