Friday, May 31, 2013

"Fessin'" Up

I have a bad case of travel envy.  Kay at Musings is writing about her trip to China.   Linda's thoughts from a Bag Lady in Waiting come to us from Kenya.  Gigi in Hawaii wrote about a previous trip to Tokyo.  I take out my photo albums and reflect on trips I have taken.

There is a solution for that, I know!  Will I do something about it?  That is the question.


I am thinking that I am going to start a new board on Pinterest, entitled "This is SO Not Happening."
Today I saw a pin about getting rid of arm pit fat.  Good grief.  It would also include dog costumes, fingernail painting, and recipes involving bacon as a dessert ingredient or smoothies that are green.


Or maybe I should not start a new board on Pinterest because it is already a giant vacuum that sucks up far too much of my time as it is.


I am going through a period of not being interested in cooking--still interested in eating, just not in cooking so much.


I am also in a fallow period as far as writing is concerned.



I was noticing the bruises on my arms and legs.  This is entirely my not paying attention and banging into things.  Uh-oh.  This is a major depression warning flag for me.  And changing of the season--always a trigger for some reason.


Funny how I needed to write this out to recognize what is going on.  Duh!






Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sobering Age

In a few days I will be an official recipient of Medicare, Parts A and B.  My supplemental insurance, including prescription drug coverage is in place.

The whole process was easier for me than it was for Mike five years ago.  My old health insurance had a supplemental plan and it was easy to make the switch.  Mike basically had to start from scratch.

Right now I am relatively healthy.  Mike is feeling much better than he has for quite a while.  Given what far too many of our friends and family members have gone through in the past few years, we have to be very grateful for our own health and well being.

It is sobering when people our age and younger undergo serious health crises.   It's not that my life was never touched by death.  My grand parents died when I was in high school.  They were old--in their seventies.  About all my parents' generation relations have gone, but they were really old--in their 80's and 90's.  And people my age have died over the years.  By my tenth high school reunion, ten of my class mates had already died.  But that was the 60's--drugs, risky behavior, and freak accidents happened.

People my age dying of "old age" diseases?  It just is scary.

As some of you know, we went to visit Mike's brother over the past weekend.  He had surgery last week.  He went through that fairly well but then there were complications.  He did not know we visited, but the word is that there has been slight improvement since.  He is going in the right direction, but we still don't know exactly what they found during the surgery.  In some cases, it comes down to a matter of will.

So, in our own ways, we pray.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Windy Night


I had just gotten into bed the other night when the wind started to blow.  And what a racket.  It ushered in a thunder storm and a down pour.  The lightning was actually scary.

There were some branches and some trees down, but I did not hear of any major damage and we didn’t lose electricity.  Our deck furniture was re-arranged though.  Usually, two of the chairs are at the other end of the deck.  I guess we are lucky that a chair did not hit the glass door.
DSCN2758
DSCN2760I would say that the crab apple blossoms are pretty well done.  It looks like pretty pink snow.

The next morning the deck chairs were all against the opposite side of the deck.  We had flood warnings on Thursday and several roads were washed out--7 inches of rain.  Rain was needed--just not all at once.  It has rained all day here (Friday), but not the torrential downpour type. We are inconvenienced by road closings, detours, and dump trucks continuously rumbling past; but there was no tornado.

This video shows the damage done by Thursday night's rain dump, after two days of intermittent rain.  The last shot, the Old Red Mill, is where I took my grand kids hiking last Sunday.

We are heading for Connecticut tomorrow morning, if we can.  The wash outs on the video are to the north of us.  A wet weekend is forecast but we will spend time with family so it doesn't matter so much.  I am glad we did not plan a Memorial Day camping trip as we have so often in the past.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eureka!


A year ago (April 29, 2012, to be exact) I replaced my old Oreck vacuum with a eureka! AS 1100-AS1109 Series vacuum.  I bought it at Sears for around $200.  It is very heavy.  I am a physically average-strength woman, but lugging that thing around is a chore.  On the plus side, it really beat the dust and sand out of my carpets.  That is until a plastic part that is a part of the beater bar assembly gave a loud CRACK. 

Mike did his best to fix it, but there just was no fix.  His opinion is that it is criminal to sell such poorly made, cheaply made merchandise.  I guess I got what I paid for.

The motor still works.  The vacuum sucks up the surface dirt, but I am certainly not getting my bang for my cleaning buck.  Keep in mind that we were in Florida for four and a half  months over the past year.

Don’t you just hate it when things like this happen?  I am sorry, eureka!, but I am giving you two thumbs down on this one.

Anyone out there have a recommendation for a reliable vacuum cleaner?  I guess I am in the market.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Night of Poetry


So my project over the last two weeks was to help with a surprise party. 

The woman who leads the library poetry workshop, Mary Jane Dickerson, a retired University of Vermont English professor, has been doing this free class for ten years.  AND she has just published a book of her own poetry, Tapping the Center of Things.  We wanted to pay her tribute and honor the occasion.

No one knows or remembers who had the idea, but a group of us all took on roles and it all got done without an official committee.  Amazing!  And it was a surprise, too. 
The event was piggy-backed on a community poetry reading. I still have no idea who arranged that part.  The poet laureate of Vermont was invited and Mary Jane was also invited to read from her book.  Eight other area poets also agreed to read.

I sent out an e-mail to a list that the librarian gave me of workshop attendees (present and past) and some key community members.  Beyond that it was an old-fashioned social network—word of mouth.

In my e-mail, I also asked people who had taken the workshop to send me poems so that we could assemble a book of poetry that Mary Jane had nurtured over the years.  Three of us got together and assembled the collected poems in a binder, each poem encased in a page protector.  There were about 28 poems.  I illustrated it with pictures that evoked something from a number of the different poems.  This was the cover page:
PicMonkey CollageJC(a collage of the village center)
 
DSCN2740It was well attended.  Word of mouth worked.
 
There was rhubarb punch, a cake, and other sweet and savory snacks;
DSCN2753DSCN2754
 
DSCN2755Our guest of honor gets the first piece of cake.
 
And then my battery gave out, but it was a very nice celebration pulled off in our small town—a fitting tribute to a sweet and respected pillar of the community.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grandchildren Time

 
I had the pleasure of my grand children's company over the past weekend.  Dane and I went to Gardeners Supply on Saturday morning and then came home and planted some annuals.  His favorite part was watering the newly planted flowers--a true Aquarius.
 
He announced that he wanted to go to the Ethan Allen Park and climb the tower so we all did that.  I wish that I had not left my camera in the car because the view from the top of the tower is spectacular--360° view of the Green Mountains, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondacks.  We had been to the park two years ago but could not climb the tower because it was closed that day.  I was surprised he remembered it.
 
After climbing the tower, we took a walk on the bike path along the lake.
 


What better stop after all that hiking/walking than a stop for ice cream?  We did not make it to the chicken coop tour, though.
 
 
On Sunday, I had to go to the town hall to meet with two other women and work on copying the poetry I had collected for our project.  Kristen stayed at the house, but Dane accompanied me.  He was quite content to work on writing and drawing for an hour.  His request for Sunday was to go to the Old Red Mill park and hike along the stream.  We picked up Sissy and headed out.


Easy enough to entertain these two.  Kristen's preference would have been to go shopping though.

Hobblebush in bloom near the old beaver pond.
 
 
We saw a mother and her two kids collecting tadpoles from the pond.  They had boots.  We did not, but one of us really, reallt wanted to collect tadpoles.  Life does have its little disappointments.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Swamped

I picked up the grand children on Friday and delivered them back to their mother on Sunday afternoon.  In the mean time, or at the same time, I am wrapping up a major project with a deadline of Monday. 

What ever was I thinking?  My organizing an event brain has not been used that much lately.  I may be in over my head.  Well, in a few days, I will have something to write about.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Spring Flowers

Crab Apple Tree

Lily of the Valley

Lilacs

Snowball Viburnum


I took my walk yesterday morning and the air was so filled with the fragrance of lilacs--I could barely take a step without sneezing.

The pollen counts have been very high.  My windows are all firmly closed.  I will have to take Arkansas Patti's recommendation and check out Quercetin.

Spring is worth it though!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Giving Credit

Yes, I have to give credit where credit is due.

Mike made a commitment to himself and has stuck to it.  He has made several adjustments in diet habits and it really seems to be paying off.  His feet and ankles are no longer swollen and he has lost a bit of weight.  He had a check-up at the cardiologist today.  His blood pressure was 120/76, lowest reading in a medical setting since I have known him.  One medication was swapped for another and three were dropped entirely. 

Of course, he did have a number of tests done today--and he has to see his regular physician for a possible bladder infection.  We will have to wait for those results, but today was good news.

Oh, and my jeans fit again after the shock of travel bloat.  It has turned cold, so the jeans came back out along with a couple of sweaters.  Winter jacket, hats, and mittens are put away for the season though.  I'm just firm about that.  So that was good news for me.  I was so happy about the jeans thing that I went out for my walk even though it was raining.  I shouldn't be too happy, though--I know that my doctor will tell me to lose ten pounds when I go for my physical.  She always does.  You'd think she would give up.  Or maybe I should drop the ten pounds? 


The daffodils are all gone by now.  The lilacs and lily-of-the-valley are in bloom.  They smell so wonderfully like spring.  The bleeding heart in out as well, and the crab apple trees are in full blossom.  It is such a beautiful time of year...and so fleeting.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers' Day

 
April, 2013
 
A nice lunch with my daughter and the two kids at Fire and Ice Restaurant in Middlebury, VT, was a good way to celebrate Mother's Day.  We got together on Saturday to avoid standing in a waiting line with hungry children.



My son was not able to attend.  He spent this weekend taking the motorcycle safety course.





Now there is a perfect Mother's Day gift--the idea that your child is contemplating a motorcycle.  So what if he is in his forties and doesn't actually need my permission.





I hope it was a wonderful day for everyone.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Library Crafts


Libraries in all the states (except for Texas, the last I knew) provide summer reading programs around a common theme.  This year’s theme is Dig Into Reading.
Lately, my library volunteer duties have included putting together some sample crafts.  The librarian will take a little road show to area schools to drum up interest.  This is a small sampling.
DSCN2633DSCN2634DSCN2635DSCN2674DSCN2675
These programs bring an incredible amount of traffic into our library—kids of course, but also adult and teen volunteers, parents and/or grandparents who bring the kids and browse the library stacks while they wait.  A lot of learning goes on over the summer.  The place will be jumping…not the like the quiet library I tiptoed around when I was a kid.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Here’s the Dirt



Two yards of it delivered on Tuesday afternoon.
DSCN2671
I spent the afternoon spreading it in this shed garden and then replanting things that I had dug up that morning.
Did I over do it?  Perhaps.
DSCN2673
I know for sure that during the night I woke up with numb fingers and pain, make the PAIN, in my wrist.  Mike told me to take the day off—knowing how stubborn I can get when I have a job that I want to get finished.  Well, I could not have handled that shovel if I tried.
For good measure, I did not go out and work in the garden today either.  I might have, but we are getting a bit of much needed rain—the first in almost a month. Most of what is left in the pile needs to be moved around to the front so that made me doubly glad that it was raining today.
 
You know, it was hot on Tuesday, and I did feel tired and sweaty when I stopped my digging, but I wasn’t in pain.  If I had any warning twinges, I was very effective at ignoring them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Graduation Time

Mike's oldest grand daughter and his second grand son both have graduations this month.  She is graduating from college (and has a good job lined up!) and he will graduate from high school to start college in the fall.  We will be with them in spirit. 

I did some shopping yesterday, for graduation presents.  I made their cards and Mike will package and send them out in the morning.  (With any luck!)


Okay...it is one of those times when Blogger gets stubborn about where to put pictures.
Can you tell these two are brother and sister?  And aren't they good looking?

Congratulations to both you guys.  We are so proud of you both!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Lawn

Mike has not said much about his feet bothering him lately, but I suspect that they have been painful for him. It's something about they way he clumps down the stairs, trying to put most of his weight on the bannister.  He forgets that I can hear him.  I am not unsympathetic though.  I said that I would mow the lawn today.  It had to be done.

Then I realized something.  We did get a new lawn tractor last summer and I had never used it.  Even though it is a John Deere like the last one, it is very different.  The old one had a shift lever and the brake was on the right side.  The new one has an accelerator on the right side and then another pedal that is somehow supposed to be used for reverse.  Mike gave me a quick lesson.

I really did not try to master reverse--just kept going forward.  I had a hard time adjusting to the accelerator.  My right foot definitely remembers that it did the braking.  It was kind of scary when my brain would say, "Slow down!"  and my right foot would say, "I'm on it!" and then I would be hurtling ahead faster than ever.  It took a long time to get used to that.

Then there is the ditching along the roadside with its steep sides.  I made one pass and felt for all the world like I was tilting enough to fall off the tractor or roll the whole thing over.  I decided that part of the lawn just would not get mowed.  Not by me.  No how.

See.  It can happen.  And has.
Our ditch is not really this steep, but still...


While I was doing the lawn, Mike got out the bluebird houses and put them up.  I hope we get a pair to nest this summer.

I will be getting a delivery of compost to spread on the gardens on Tuesday.  Lots of playing in the dirt at this time of year.

I snapped this picture on the town green Friday afternoon.  Chicken Coop Tour is coming up.  Who says we don't know how to have fun here in Jericho, VT?
 
 
That little white spec in back and behind a tree is the little library.  I suggested that we cash in on the fund raising opportunity and host a chicken dance marathon, but no body would take me seriously.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Green Up Day

Not everything is beautiful about spring following a long winter.  There can be quite a lot of trash along the road.

Isn't it wonderful that there are some who are so incredibly neat that they cannot keep their hamburger wrappers in the car for as long as it would take to get to a trash receptacle?  And what about the guy who tosses his two beer bottles out the window on the way home from work each and every week night?  I bet his family is really fooled and don't notice the alcohol on his breath at all.

Today is Vermont's official Green Up Day.  There are lots of folks out picking up trash along the roads.  It's a great effort.  Too bad they have to do it year after year.

Thanks to all who care.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Walking Down the Road on a Warm Spring Day

As soon as I walked out my front door I noticed that all the tickling of the dirt has started to pay off.
The astible popped right up over night.
 

 

 

 
 
 
There are definitely good signs that spring is here.
 
Buds are popping out on the trees.

Neighbors are getting out their mowers.

It was clear enough to see all the way to the Adirondack Mountains across Lake Champlain.
 
 
Daffodils are showing their exuberant yellow faces.
 
 Forsythia is blooming and the pussy willows have gone by.

A magnolia in bloom!


 

A magnolia in bloom in Jericho, Vermont.  What more proof of global warming does one need??

 



It wouldn't be spring without dandelions
 or violets in Vermont lawns.


And mine is not the only garden under preparation:

What a beautiful day for a walk.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Busy

Yesterday, I slept until 8:30.  Today, I was up before 6.  Both nights I went to bed at my usual 10:00 and had the usual bout of tossing and turning before I fell asleep and again at around 2.

The funny thing is that I worked at the library on Monday.  The librarian is getting her summer reading programs nailed down.  I have been helping her make sample crafts that she can show when she does a presentation at area pre-schools and the elementary schools.

So I have made buckets out of old jeans and mixed up cement to make flower pots.  Monday I painted rocks to look like a penguin and a strawberry, mixed more cement (this time with color added) for three more pots, and cut out pigs.  Lots of pigs and poster board patterns for piggy banks.



Obviously it exhausted me.


On Tuesday, I worked in the garden.  There are so many perennials that have been in need of dividing for some time now.  I worked for hours, digging and pulling and replanting.  I edged a good portion of the front garden bed.  I was tired in that pure physical kind of way, but I woke up early and feeling so refreshed.  Obviously, I needed the physicality of all that effort.

It seems like spring has been slow around here this year.  This has actually worked to my advantage.  I have been able to get to those things needing division and replanting before everything is up and getting out of hand and too overwhelming.  I feel that I accomplished something and that feels good.
Even though, right now the garden does look more like an exploded mine field than a flower bed.

I liked this post from the Herb Gardener this morning.


Today I will get my car fixed.  Did I mention that I backed into a dumpster in the drive at my daughter's place?  Ouch!  My grand son had to get out to look after the cracking and crunching sound.
"Oh, that's horrible," he said.  "Will Mike be mad at you?"


I really didn't think it was all that horrible until I took it to the dealer's collision center for an estimate--over $500.  This is the replacement piece of plastic:



 The estimate included all kinds of detail (.2 hr. labor to unscrew the each bolt on the door hinge) and they said they would need the car for two days.  Mike wasn't mad at me so much, but he was quite outraged at the estimate.

So he took it to a friend of his who dabbed some paint on a few scratches from a bottle that resembled black nail polish.  "You order the part online and I'll put on...should take about 20 minutes." 

Tell me big corporations aren't ruining this country.  It pays to support the small, independent businesses.  At least it paid me--getting the job done for a quarter of the first estimate.

Also, I talked to my insurance agent.  They would have paid half, but he advised me against making a claim in case I had an accident that required--oh, say--$7000 worth of repairs in the next three years.  Then, with two claims, my premiums would go way up.  Well, I hate to gamble that nothing bad will happen even though I don't really plan on having a serious accident.  I hate insurance--it's such a lose-lose situation for the customer.

Anyway, I am happy that the car is fixed.