Friday, September 21, 2018

Hot Summer

Wildflowers I picked on a walk down a dirt road.

The weather has suddenly turned cooler.  I was using the small AC unit in my bedroom right up until this past Tuesday when the temperature reached 90º and the humidity was about 90%.

I have had that little AC unit for years and I usually don't even bother to drag it out.  And if I do, it is usually just for a week tops that it get used in July.  But this was a hot and humid summer -- practice for if I ever move to Florida full time.

I was listening to a piece about Rachel Carson on public radio last Sunday.  I knew about her book Silent Spring and her warnings about the chemicals impacting the environment.  I did not know about her concerns about global warming.  She had started working on a book about that before her death.  She was charting increasing ocean temperatures along the eastern coast back in the 1940's and 50's.

There is an interesting article about Rachel Carson in the March, 2018,  New Yorker Magazine.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Self Revealing Stories

SO Margaret of Straight Up - No Chaser recently posted a story that illustrated who she is.  Her story, her blog in general, is wicked funny and worth a read.  She did end the story with a "your turn" sort of challenge.

I have written about this before -- giving blood:

My first husband was a community spirited, giving back kind of guy, and that is extremely admirable. He may have gone too far, though, when he convinced me, many years ago, to go with him to donate blood. As he pointed out at the time, I was young and healthy. I should feel a responsibility to help those in need. It was an easy thing to do. He did it on a regular basis. They give you juice and a donut when you are done.  A donut?  You should have lead with that! Okay, all ready. I went with him to the Congregational Church where the Red Cross was having a blood drive.

The volunteer greeting us at the door gave me a sticker: "Be nice to me. It's my first time!" Goody, a sticker. What am I? In first grade?

I was given some paperwork to fill out. Obviously, the purpose of the sticker was to prompt others, workers and donors alike, to say, "Don't worry. It doesn't hurt a bit." The person who handed me the paper work said exactly that.

A nurse pricked my finger and knocked a drop of blood into a little vial of some kind of liquid. I think the drop was supposed to sink to the bottom, but it just sat there until the nurse whacked the vial a few times and announced, "There it goes! Don't worry. This doesn't hurt a bit."

So I stretch out on a cot. I hate needles so I look away and close my eyes besides. The nurse says, "Just a little prick and it won't hurt after that." Don't think I didn't notice the change in tune from "just a little prick" to "after that is won't hurt."

The nurse walked away after that little prick and I was left there thinking, "Damn! This does so hurt! A lot! It hurts a lot!"

The guy on the next cot asked me how I was doing and I said aloud, "I don't care what they say, this hurts."

"Oh!" he said. "Oh, nurse! Come here, please. Something's wrong." That's when I looked. There was a large purple mass growing over my elbow. The needle had pierced my vein and the blood was just puddling under my skin instead of going into the collection bag. The nurse pulled out the needle. If she said something soothing, I didn't hear it. What I did hear was her asking me if she could try the other arm.

"Good god, NO. Give me my donut and let me out of here!" Use my other arm? You've got to be kidding me. What kind of sadistic medical professional would even ask me something like that?

Call me selfish, but I happen to be using all my blood. That's how it's gonna stay.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The News

I am glad that our trip to Boston was on Monday and that we did not feel tempted to linger for a few extra days.  We drove through this area on the way back to Vermont.

I am feeling a teensy bit nervous about the natural gas heat in my condo.


We did learn about this Boston incident while we walking near Faneuil Hall.


Uh Oh.  Manafort set to cooperate with the Mueller investigation after more charges are brought?
I guess loyalty can only go so far.

Although I have to say I marvel that loyalty to a sinking ship has gone as far as it has by so many.
But that's just my own opinion.


My heart goes out to anyone in the path of Florence.  I have been the Cape Hatteras and to St. Martin  within four to nine months after hurricanes had passed through.  It is almost incomprehensible how much damage wind and water can do.

I do have to wonder if Trump actually does truly believe that his brief presence in Puerto Rico was all that it took to keep the hurricane Maria death toll at the 16 or so number he was given at the time.  He knows no shame.  But it takes a big man to admit his mistakes, so Puerto Ricans best not expect any kind of apology.


Closer to home, there was a single car crash on a dirt road near my condo, a place where I frequently take my exercise walk.  A teenage boy was killed.  It was his mother's car, but it was being driven by a 15 year old friend.  He had to have been driving illegally since he is eligible for only a learner's permit which would require someone over the age of 25 to be in the passenger seat while he was driving.

And speaking of teenage drivers, I was rear ended by an 18 year old kid the other day.  No one was hurt and both cars still run but there was body damage to both vehicles.  He jumped out of his car with his phone in his hand so I am gonna go ahead and assume he was texting.

It's a dangerous world out there, people!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


I had a doctor's appointment in Boston. (Aren't there any ENTs in VT?)

I had promised my granddaughter a shopping trip for her 17th birthday (which was in June) so a trip to Boston seemed like a good way to cash that one in.  We left on Sunday and stopped at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester before tucking in for the night.  Oh, yeah we had dinner at the Lobster Boat in Merrimack -- lobster rolls and French fires.  We like our lobster rolls Connecticut style, butter instead of mayo, and they accommodated.  It was a very good restaurant with everything tasting and smelling very fresh.

We spent the morning seeing a little bit of Boston.  Kristen did some more shopping and we had a lunch that spanned several of the food vendors at the Quincy Market.
Performer (who wanted $20 from each onlooker)

It was pretty gray, but the rain held off til later.

My doctor's appointment was supposed to be at 2:30, but the doctor was running late.  I was finished with  exams, scans, explanations and options around 5.  Woohoo!  Just in time for rush hour traffic and the heavy rains hitting.

I didn't get to my daughter's house until almost ten.  It took a good hour or more to get out of the greater Boston area and we did stop for gas and something to eat.  I decided to stay the night.  My grandson offered to sleep on the couch so I could sleep in his bed, but the couch was fine for me.  One of their cats plopped itself on top of me but it didn't disturb me.  I was out like a light in no time.
I think Kristen may have taken a second day off from school for recovery.  

It was still raining for my drive home (another hour and a half+) but daylight made it a lot easier.

So there were some glitches, but on the whole, a good trip.  I like Boston, but I am glad I don't live there.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Out of my Comfort Zone

I like to be learning new things.  I did of course know it all as a teenager, but that was such a long time ago.  I actually was a good student back in the day.  Now it seems my learning curve has gotten much steeper.  Still, it is important to me to keep climbing it.

Learning sometimes involves new experiences so earlier this month I put myself out there.

Writers' Workshops held a public reading by workshop participants.  I signed up to read some of my poetry.

And then I actually went to the bar with a couple of my friends, had a glass of wine,  got up on stage and read three of my poems out loud.

Here's proof!

People laughed and applauded and it felt amazing!  My poet rock star moment.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pushing it?

It's still August, probably my least favorite month of the entire year.  Every other month flies by like I'm standing still.  August refuses to go away.

So what better way to spend a steamy hot August day than making Christmas cards?

I played around with four different designs and have picked the one I will make to send out this year.





I am not a last minute kind of person. I will organize this project like an assembly line: cutting individual parts, stamping, gluing.  I won't until maybe October, but by golly, I do have my plan in place.

Anybody want to take a guess about my Myers-Briggs personality type?

No, I have not finished my Christmas shopping.  I can do that right up until a week before Christmas. But I have started and, yes, there is a list involved.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Full Moon

 I was taking an evening walk.  I haven't been paying too much attention to the cycles of the moon lately so this was a surprise and a treat. I will have to start paying more attention.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Time with Friends

I had a wonderful time on Pratt Pond in southern New Hampshire with my friend Diane.  We were able to get in activity -- kayaking, walking, hiking.  We went to the Children's Fair in town on Saturday, an event that has been held for 170 years.  We went to Porter Hill Sweets, a local chocolate artisan that has become a tradition far more worthy than the Children's Fair in my book!

It was rainy some of the time so we played games and had quiet reading time.  We saw The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Netflix and we both enjoyed it.  We went to see A Man of Destiny at the playhouse in Peterborough.  There was a HUGE storm that hit just as the play was starting.  Lightning struck and knocked out the stage lights at the end of the first act, but show business and the play must go on.  They rigged up lights with extension cords.  Act 2 was a night scene so it wasn't so bad that the actors had to carry on while carrying lanterns.  It added some excitement.

Tomorrow I will meet my friend Ginnie for breakfast.  She is starting school on Thursday.  We were special educators together.  Now she is working as a para-educator in retirement.  We used to joke about that is what we would do in retirement . . . but I'm just as glad I am not living out that particular plan.

Tomorrow night I will be meeting with my favorite writing group and Thursday is getting together with the card making group.

I am truly blessed with friendships.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I am on my way to Pratt Pond in southern New Hampshire for time with my friend Diane.

I will be ghosting the blogs I usually visit only because it is also a vacation from electronics.

There will be kayaking.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


My grandson is so special to me.  He still likes to hang out with his old granny.  He is also the only one who agreed to go kayaking with me last weekend.  I LOVE kayaking.

We went to Lake St. Catherine in Poultney/Wells, VT.  It is 13 miles from my daughter's house, traveling up into the Taconic Mountain range along twisting rural roads.  The kind of ride that prompts repeated questioning, "Grandma, are you sure this is the right way?"

I also love the GPS in my Ford C-Max.  We got there with no problem and I think Dane trust the GPS more than he trusts my sense of direction.  Smart kid.

We rented kayaks at the state park and paddled around the lake to the south of the state park beach area.

Kind of  cliffy lake

 We also spent some time swimming and had some light snacks before setting out once again for the northern section of the lake. The water was calmer there.  There were stretches of unpopulated shore line too.  That's the kind of peaceful kayaking I like to do.

The northern part of the lake was much more quiet.

Dane was quite a ways away from me, but I could hear him singing to himself as he paddled along.  Hw as in the yellow and green kayak and I was in the red one.  He tended to paddle a bit faster than me so it was hard to get a picture.  He liked the peacefulness of the second leg of the trip as well.  For some reason that just warmed my heart.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

I am being followed

on Google+.

I have legitimate followers even though I rarely look at Google+.  know this because my blogs get posted there and I recognize followers names.  I am not sure if I signed up for that or if it just happens automatically when you use a blogging platform.

I hesitate to label those whose names I do not recognize as illegitimate followers but it does amuse me that every once in a while I will get a notice that so and so followed me on Google+.  Sometime I get a whole bunch of those notices at once.  Sure, I would like to think my witty little jottings here are gaining recognition.  However, I am more inclined to thing of the whole Google+ thing as an invitation to scammers.

It seems a lot of those who would follow also want to "chat on Hangouts."  Chat about what exactly?

Lots of would be followers also seem to have two first names or two last names.  Some even seem to be confused about the whole name thing.
  • Williams harry
  • Raymond william
  • jeff William
  • frank william
  • Brown Jimmy
  • Tony Steve
  • Robinson Murphy
  • Donald patterson wayne
  • General Michael
  • Naval Architect
  • gorge richmond
  • mackeykathy Dawn
Somehow these strike me as suspicious names. I did not make up any of them.

Then there's Johnathon Louis and Eric Frank.  They look exactly alike! Imagine.  I suppose they could be identical twins who happen to eschew using their true last name and always go by first and middle, but I doubt it.

Then there is the unsettling preponderance of high ranking military officials on the list.  There are a few with white lab coats and stethoscopes slung around their necks.  Military officers and medical doctors -- exactly the type of people I picture having the time and inclination to chat with total strangers on Hangouts.

It's so sad that there are people out there willing or reduced to taking advantage of others.

Friday, August 10, 2018

My Card Hobby

I get together with several friends once or twice a month to make cards, have lunch, make some more cards, and generally solve all the problems of the world -- if only the world would listen.

I did take my grandson with me a couple of years ago.  His little head was just a swivel with the conversations going on.  At one point he leaned over to me, shaking his head, and said, "I would so be in time out."

Advantage of being a woman of a certain age -- you don't worry so much about having to be so well behaved.  Laughter is good for us.

Yesterday we had a delicious Mexican influenced salad, freshly baked zucchini bread, and a frozen dessert.  Another time I may post the dessert recipe because it was refreshing (even though rich) on a very hot day.

Okay .     .     .  so my phone is not going to unload, upload or down load any photos today.  Maybe never again.  I keep saying I need a new phone.  This may push me to do it finally.

We did make these cards a month ago:

I need more people to send cards to.  A lot of times I pack up a bunch and take them to a charity resale shop or donate them to a nursing home. But I can't stop making them.

Monday, August 6, 2018


I was taking a walk on Sunday morning -- a right popular time for walking I'd say.

A popular time for dog walking anyway.  I was feeling like I was driving without a license, afraid someone was going to stop and say. "Hey, where's your dog?  Did you forget your dog? Go home and get your dog."

I like dogs fine, I just don't want the responsibility of caring for one right now.  I have trouble enough keeping up a routine with my houseplants.  And spending most of my walks carrying a plastic bag of doggie poop -- just not for me.

The homeowners association where I live in Florida has a restriction on canine size.  A neighbor caused a righteous uproar when she got a cocker spaniel, considered a large dog in the eyes of the HOA.  My personal view is if a dog has to be smaller than a cocker spaniel, you might as well just get a  hamster.  They're quieter.

Another thing I noticed is that half the other walkers were using their phones while walking.  One woman was talking on her phone.  Talking on her phone!  How quaint!  Most of the others were in the process of texting.  That totally amazes me -- how someone can walk and text at the same time.
I have barely mastered chewing gum and walking (well, in theory, because I don't actually ever chew gum).  But if I had to text for some reason while out walking I would definitely have to come to a complete stop to do it.  I think the species may be evolving, selection going toward multitasking ability.

Temperatures got up to 89ºF on Sunday.  It was only 82 in the morning.  I get a lot of flack for thinking 82℉ is a quite pleasant temperature, comfortable for wearing shorts and a tee.  This person must of thought it a bit on the chilly side or maybe she just can't be exposed to direct sunlight:

The sun was bright and there was not a cloud in the sky.  BTW, that dog is small, but not hamster trade-in small.  The woman is pretty petite too, so dog and human are nicely proportional.

I did have my phone with me this time so I was able to get  photo of a swallowtail butterfly:

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Road Work

Road work.  Everywhere.  Necessary, yes, but also so annoying.  The road crews make efforts to do work at night along main rush highways and that helps.  Still, the work has to get done while the weather cooperates, knocking off a good chunk of time here in Vermont.  If you travel even to the grocery store at this time of year, it is likely you will spend some time stopped at a one lane only road construction site.

Audubon print

I was stopped two days ago along my way home from a morning yoga class. Ahh, must have been the benefits of that final savasana.  I was in no hurry and I really had nothing pressing on my mind.  I was stopped next to a huge vegetable patch that belongs to local organic farmers along one side, more gardens and the river on the other.  Between the road and the gardens, wild flowers were in bloom --
thistle, chicory, Queen Anne's lace -- and a flock of goldfinch were attracted.  Monarch butterflies were flitting about as well.

I had a second's regret at not having my phone to capture the beauty, but then is that even possible.  I relaxed and enjoyed the show until the stop sign was rotated to slow.

Diane's daisies

That's what yoga brain can do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Eye Doctor

I had my annual check up with my ophthalmologist this morning
I thought I knew the drill.  read the chart, number one or number two?, obnoxious drops to dilate the eyes, annoying touching of my eye balls and then the pronouncement, "your eyes are healthy and cataract surgery is a long way off -- see you next year."

But DAMN!  There are consequences of turning 70 in spite of my denial efforts.  So cataract surgery is not critical, but it is an option.  Also there has been a huge change in my cup measurement, whatever that is, and I have to go for more tests next month.

Well, I did not care for this news at all.  "You are not following the script!" My doctor told me to stop being such a drama queen.  I told him that if I had any thing that might require having needles put in my eye, I was seriously going to consider suicide.  Is that being a drama queen?  Well, guilty then.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

More on Grandson's Visit

Lake Monsters

By Source, Fair use,

Dane and I took in a baseball game.  The Lake Monsters are a minor league team that have their home games in Burlington.  There was a sold out stadium on Wednesday night when we went to see the game.  Unfortunately, out team lost (9 to 0), but for $5 admission and the price of a hotdog it's good entertainment.

Discussion about money

Dane asked me how i got money since I am retired and not going to work everyday.  I explained about the good old three-legged stool I learned about when I first started teaching -- paying social security, paying into the teacher retirement system, and personal saving and investment (simplified version).
"Will you run out of money then?"
"Not until I am 99 years old."  (Let's hope!)
"But then what will happen?  I really worry about this."

Ha! He did once tell me he planned to take care of me when he turned 57.  Since I will be 116 by then, does leave a bit of a gap. Perhaps I should worry too.

Mozart Festival at Shelburne Farms

We had a picnic lunch and relaxed at the beach at Lake Iroquois on Friday.  We'd had such a busy day meeting his second cousin the day before that floating around with a noodle was a perfect way to spend a hot day for me.  Dane was more active swimming around like a fish.

I had made a shepherd's pie to pop in the oven for our dinner which was a lucky thing since I saw a piece in the paper about kid's having free admittance to that night's Mozart Festival concert at Shelburne Farms.  The concert was in the Coach House.  We drove past the Farm Barn and the Inn on the way.  Dane pronounced it all very posh.  There was only one other kid there.  While he is more likely to listen to rap or some kind of electronic dance music, he was game for exposure to classical music and I enjoyed the concert immensely.

My phone battery died as I went to take pictures of this gorgeous spot, but you can check out the virtual tour by clicking the link above.

Rainbow clouds

I have managed to live my entire life without ever having even heard of rainbow clouds and I most likely would have missed them today as I was driving over the Lake Champlain Bridge if Dane had not spotted them and pointed them out to me.

We had to google this.  I of course was quite taken with the spiritual significance as described HERE. Dane was more inclined toward a scientific explanation.  In any event, seeing this was way cool.

Fort Ticonderoga

We had our final outing for this visit at Fort Ticonderoga.  There was a Revolutionary War re-enactment going on for the weekend so there really was a great deal to see.  Dane had been here on a school trip as a fourth grader but he really enjoyed seeing and talking to the re-enactors in their encampments after the battle.  As an educator, it does my heart good to see him engaged in learning new things.

Learning about washing clothes in colonial days.

An encampment of re-enactors

Return from the battle.

Officer quarters

After a lot of exploring the fort, we took the short ferry ride across Lake Champlain where Amy was waiting to pick him up and take him home.  His parting words: "I love you.  When can I visit you again?" So sweet.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Grandson Visits

Dane is visiting his granny this week.  We have a basketball.  There's a hoop set up on what used to be the tennis court.  He brought his penny board and a scooter.  There's an exercise path behind the local elementary school.  He rides around that about three times to my twice.

We found a pogo stick for $3.00 at the Habitat for Humanity store.  He has been practicing with that while I fix dinner and can watch him out the window. He said he wanted the pogo stick because he wants to be "cool." (Oh, honey, you have a hard life ahead of you.)

And then there is the lake.   He loves to swim. I am pretty sure if we did nothing else but stayed in the water for his entire visit, he would not have any complaints.

Yesterday, my sister came over with her grandson who is visiting from California this week.  We thought it would be good to get the two rather socially awkward young men together.  (That's my thought, not my sister's -- although if I asked her she would probably agree.)  Dane is 11.  Cy is 12 and a good foot taller than Dane.  We took them to play mini golf, then out to lunch, then down to the lakefront bikeway with board and scooter.  They wore themselves out while my sister and I had a nice walk and talk.

After they left, Dane and I went for a swim and then had a movie night.

The temps are supposed to go back into the 90's today so I am thinking a lake day is on the agenda.

Being retired means I can sleep all next week.  My sister is still working.  I don't know how she copes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


I invited my son Kevin for dinner Monday evening.  He and I both enjoy Indian food and I was toying with the idea of preparing Butter Chicken but then I changed my mind and decided to do Asian cuisine instead.

I swear, who ever does the cooking in moat of Asia must have no other jobs but that.  The chopping and chopping and chopping.  The actual cooking took very little time.  The preparation took me most of the afternoon. That doesn't count my trip to the grocery store in the morning.  I needed hoisin sauce, some red pepper flakes and an orange.  I picked up some gluten free soy sauce as well.

I made Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce.  That involved picking basil from my garden pot, shredding carrots, cucumbers, green onion, washing lettuce leaves, and slicing shrimp.  Then there is the softening of the bean threads and the rice wrappers and putting them together.  I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap because I made then a couple hours ahead of time.

I also made chicken in an orange sauce. Korean steak with peppers and onion in a garlic sauce, steamed broccoli, and fried brown rice.  I sliced the last of fresh local strawberries for dessert.

Probably all those dishes do not add up to the calorie count of Buttered Chicken.  But it did involve a whole lot more chopping.

Labor intensive, but delicious and well received.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The last of the series of watercolor painting lessons I had signed up fo was held this past Tuesday.

This particular class was about watercolor techniques and making patterned papers using salt on wet paint or crumpled plastic wrap on wet paint.  The results were then used for backgrounds or for ripping up to use in collages.  We were also encouraged to go through old paintings that we deemed not successful with the idea that these could be used for collage as well

In fact, it is possible to gesso over unsuccessful painting and use the  paper again for a new painting.  Watercolor painting paper can be expensive.  When I am in practice mode I use both sides.  I have also soaked old painting to wash off old paint and then reused the somewhat dingy surface again.  But, hey, I have enough throw away art to use in collage.

I think I am more of a traditional kind of person, but it was a fun class all the same.

So this is fruit on a table with a napkin and I like it so I may even hang it up in my kitchen.

Monday, July 9, 2018


I went to a combination retirement and 70th birthday party this past weekend.  Since I just had a 70th birthday myself, my friend suggested that I enjoy the festivities kind of like coat tailing.  I think she was sorry that I did not do anything major to celebrate a big O birthday, but my response was, "Why?"

I have been thinking about that since then because the "Why?" really came from a place of denying that I could possibly be as old as 70.  My father was 72 when he died.  I thought at the time that was pretty old.  I was thirty-five at the time.  My grandparents both passed away in their early 70s.  I thought that was ancient.  I was a teenager then.  Mike was a month short of his 70th birthday.  I thought that was too soon, but I was 65 then.  I thought of my own 70th birthday as a long way off even while dealing with the pain of too soon.  Then my 70th came and it was . . . nothing, really.

I retired early.  I think I wonder if I might have been feeling old if I just retired this year, although that certainly was not the case for my friend.  I look at her and see youthful vigor and she's had knee replacements.

I was out on a scooter keeping pace with my grandson on his skateboard just after my birthday.  How's that for denial? Or is it recklessness?

My weeks are filled with creative endeavors, exercise, family,  socializing with circles of friends, and my spiritual practices.  I have much to hold in gratitude.

Friday, July 6, 2018


For the past few months I have been getting emails along the lines of this one:

                                Welcome toKETO TonewX

There is a helpful link noted at the bottom -- to unsubscribe click here.

Well, why do I have to UN subscribe to something I never subscribed to in the first place.
Just plain annoying!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Tiger Balm

I Googled Tiger Balm:

What is Tiger Balm? Menthol is either manmade or made from the extracts of mint oil. ... Tiger Balm (for the skin) is a combination medicine used to relieve minor muscle or joint pain. This medicine may also be used as a chest rub to soothe chest congestion and relieve cough caused by the flu or common cold.

Camphor 11%, Menthol 10%, Cajuput Oil 7%, Dementholised Mint Oil 6%, Clove Oil 5%. Dementholised Mint Oil 16%, Cajuput Oil 13%, Camphor 11%, Menthol 8%, Clove Oil 1.5%. Inactive ingredients: Hard paraffin, Yellow soft paraffin. Tiger Balm Red also contains: Cinnamon oil.

Sore throat and colds - There are a lot of symptoms you can experience when sick. By rubbing Tiger Balm on your chest and throat, you can help get rid of some of the issues you're experiencing. The product acts like vapor rub so it helps your nose while easing soreness.

It is kind of like Vick's VapoRub on steroids so I was not so far off to think it might be relieving.

HOWEVER, there can be side effects:

  • severe burning, stinging, or irritation after using this medicine; or
  • breathing problems after using this medicine on the chest or throat.
I have not experienced any of these side effects but I am not going to  recommend it  to those who have more sensitivities or allergies.

Like I said, I am not a doctor.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


I am going with an allergic reaction.  For one thing, I walked out the door today and immediately started sneezing and sneezing.  My nose has been running and my eyes started itching.

I  have allergic symptoms sometimes.  It's not consistent, like always in the spring during pollen season.  I think I have a sensitivity that requires a critical amount of irritating stuff in the air.

I bought some Clariton, non-drowsy.  That's what it said, non-drowsy.  So I took one.  I woke up four hours later -- groggy but my sinuses seemed dried up all right.

The most annoying symptom is a dry, hacking, non-productive cough.  It leaves my chest burning and my throat dry and scratchy.  I now what to do about that.  Tiger Balm.

I know it is supposed to be for achy muscles but I rub this stuff on my chest and feel the warmth all the way down to my bones.  I rub some on my throat and the pain lessens considerably.  I do have to be careful to wash my hands before I touch anywhere near my face.  My cough stops.

Note:  I am not a doctor but I often watch them on T

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Summer Scent

The temperature on my car dash actually registered at 100 degrees for a few seconds today.  It was a good day for a grocery shopping trip since the store is air conditioned all the time.

It was also a good time to harvest a bunch of basil that was getting ready to bolt and stay inside making pesto. I used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, which I love.  I just did not have the time to go to the bank and take out a loan to purchase pine nuts.  My place smells like basil.  I find it quite pleasant.  Essential oil of basil is supposed to have a calming effect.

Basil is also supposed to be good for the common cold.  I am not sure if I have a cold or if I am experiencing irritation from the ridiculous amount of  mold that has appeared on all the tree trunks around here.  I am hoping sniffing the smell of basil will help whatever it is.
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Monday, June 25, 2018

We reap what we sow

If it's okay to deny your business services to another based on your religious opinions and beliefs, why not based on ethical, even political, opinions and belief?

Do I think it is okay? No. But then, nobody consulted me about it.

However, if you sow hatred and judgement, don't expect to harvest kindness and compassion.

My sign idea doesn't seem so bad now, does it, Sarah?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Strawberry Season

Strawberry season in Vermont, like all its season except winter, is short but but very sweet.

This is an old recipe.  I was happy to come across it at just the right time.

Strawberry Pie

Clean and half about a quart of fresh strawberries.

Have a single pie shell ready --a regular baked shell or a cookie crumb crust is good too, depending on your sweet tooth,

Mix together in a cooking pan:
  1. 1 1/2 cup sugar*
  2. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  3. a 3 oz. package of strawberry jello
  4. 1 1/2 cup water
Cook over medium high heat and stir constantly until the mixture turns from a milky red to a clear red.

Allow the mixture to cool.

Place halved strawberries into prepared pie shell.  Refrigerate to set before serving.

* I think this is a ridiculous amount of sugar so I just use half,  3/4 cup, and no one has ever complained.

It goes without saying that one piles real whipped cream on top to serve.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


Happy Summer Solstice.

My very last peony is taking her final bow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Painting Class

I signed up for a painting class.  It's watercolor but with a kind of wild twist.  Just a tad -- okay,  a mile out of my comfort zone.  We are supposed to get loose.

We painted a bunch of papers which will be ripped up to be made into a landscape collage.

I made my different papers but all I could see in them was flower petals and leaves.

I decided I would use this for a background.  I took another similar piece and a few practice paintings I had done and started ripping.

Anyone see a vase of flowers made out of torn bits of painted paper?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Rainy Day

It was so dark all day.  Thick, grey clouds -- thunderheads -- sat sat in the sky just above my condo.  There were periods of intense downpour.  I managed to get a few errands done without getting soaked, but mostly it was a boring day spent indoors.

When my daughter was in high school, she and a friend would play "boredom games." No one was around to play bored or board games with.

I could have done some housework.  There is always a need for dusting.  Instead I wasted time looking at Pinterest and saw a reusable duster for a Swiffer© handle.  Since I had a piece of fleece in my stash of leftover fabric, I dragged out my sewing machine.  I made one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  All ready for when the maid shows up.

Friday, June 15, 2018


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Those of us born on June 14 can always claim that flags are put out in honor of our birthdays.  That's what my father told me as a kid.  God knows parents never lie to their children.

My friend Don and I went to dinner at my son's on Wednesday night.  Kevin had prepared salmon cakes with a curry sauce,  potato salad, and fresh green beans with garlic.  Delicious.  I pretended it was a birthday treat in my head.  In truth, Kevin will call me sometime within the next month and ask, "Didn't you have a birthday somewhere around this time?" (If I was born on Christmas day, he wouldn't remember.  I accept that.)

Plenty of other family and friends remembered.  I got plenty of messaged greetings, phone calls, and cards.  My sister is taking me for lunch today and my friend Ginnie and I will go out for brunch and shopping on Saturday.

It's a big 0 birthday.  Frankly, a page I am not all that excited about turning (but better than not turning it I guess).

I ran into a woman who had graduated from high school with me on Tuesday morning.  I didn't recognize her at first and I spent the rest of the day wondering if I look that old too.  Funny how our image of self gets kind of stuck at a certain age.

Although I do wonder sometimes when I catch a glimpse in the mirror . . . What's my mother doing in there?

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