Friday, October 25, 2013

A tale of two kitties.


Nash has decamped. We see him about, but shows no interest in coming back home where food and warmth await. I guess that his wild nature has taken over. Surprisingly, his brother, Crosby, is still hanging about. Tim sees him during the day, and feeds him on the porch. Yesterday, he actually stuck his head in the door and looked around curiously, but would not come in.

Tim left a note on the table, advising me to get more catfood, which I did. I put some in the bowl now sitting on our porch, hoping to see Crosby last night but I didn't.

Interesting factoids:

There is a light covering of snow here today.

Did you know that there's a Jodi Arias supporter group? They believe that she is innocent. Still. The girl confessed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Taking a Secret to her Grave

A woman died, an acquaintance. She was deep in the clutches of dementia when I saw her last, but the thing that she retained was her sense of style and her youthful appearance. She was beautiful, and cultivated, but she did not know me when I spoke to her, and I could tell that my greeting had frightened her, although she tried to make her greeting as warm as mine had been.

The thing is, I have known this woman from my teenage years, on and off. I mean I moved from this place for 20+ years, and came back, and there she was, as unchanged as if she had a mirror hidden away in her attic, her hair dark and carefully arranged. She was a careful dresser, and had impeccable manners, but she did not age.

Turns out that she took great pride in this. When she was hospitalized for serious illness and my mother had gone to visit her, my mother had seen her age posted. The woman was mortified, and swore her to secrecy, made her promise several times that she would not tell anyone. When this was related to me, I took it for a joke, really, and did not think much about it, even though my mother seemed certain that she wasn't joking at all, that she wanted no one to know her age.

Until now. She is gone, and there was no obituary in the paper, just a funeral notice.

The thing is, she was a prominent figure in many arenas. She had a fascinating life, really, coming here during the second world war as a military bride. She was beautiful and smart, and a faith filled woman. Inspiring. But she has passed from this life, taking her secret with her.

I just find it strange, really, and a bit sad.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monkey, pumpkin and footed jammies.

We had such a wonderful weekend.
William was here, and he loved the pumpkin that Mary and Danny gave him. One of Danny's hobbies is growing giant pumpkins. This is one of his rejects. William was glad to get it. He hugged it every single day that he was here, and Saturday night got quite emotional about it, wanting us to turn on the porch light so that he could see it.

It was a busy weekend, with a lot of laughter. We had to shop for new footy jammies for him. He has outgrown the ones he had at Grandma's from last year. I tried to get him to choose, but he got quite upset, actually had a bit of a tantrum, being sure, no doubt that I was going to immediately pop him in them and make him take a nap. We began to put a photo album together. He flipped through it several times talking animatedly to himself, "I go on the boat. Dis da paddlewheel, it go round and round, and grandpa and willnan look at the waaaader, and dis grandpa chainsaw and Willnan's chainsaw, and dis Willnan's big punkin..." I showed him how to play 'annie annie over' at the brick house, kicking the ball up on the roof, and having it bounce back down for him to catch. He played with his Thomas the tank projector in the dark as Tim and I watched a movie. There was swinging and running and singing. When I stripped the bed to wash the sheets, there was one little monkey jumping on my bed for quite some time.

When we took him home last night, freshly bathed and in his warm footy jammies, he went running into the house clutching the card he had scribbled on for his parents. Inside were two pictures of his pumpkin. "I make you a pitcher" he announced handing the card to his daddy, and heading inside without nary a backward look. Grandma and grandpa went home to their big empty house, and for the first time that day, I finally got a chance to put the bed back together. There was a fruit snack stuck to the coverlet, and I found myself smiling. I sure do love having a little monkey jumping on my bed.

Monday, October 14, 2013

His Mysterious Ways.

There are times in life when you just know for a fact that someone far bigger than you is running the show. Life has been an amazing lately.

I went to a candlelight vigil for the boy who committed suicide after being bullied for months. 15 years old. It just broke my heart, truly. I know how my own girl struggled in school, and this boy's death made me cry. So I went to the candlelight vigil, not sure why, but I just felt it was important to be there.

When it was over, I blew my candle out and turned to walk back home. Surprisingly, standing behind me was a familiar face. Mr. M. was a favorite of mine when I was doing the mosquito work. I enjoyed his company, and I enjoyed his dog Misty. It was a shock to discover that his wife, Marie, is actually a relative of mine. 5 years later or so, when my sister and I were piecing together our family history for our children, Marie was an enormous help to us both.

"Oh my gosh, hey, how are the two of you doing?" and we fell to talking right away as if we'd seen each other day before yesterday instead of the year before. And we blabbed on. I heard Mr. M tell Marie that he needed to sit a minute, and he hobbled over to a stone to sit. And looking closely, I could tell that my old friend had declined since I'd last seen him.

Marie said, " know, we're going to wind up moving into the senior citizen place, and that's going to be awful. I've never lived in an apartment building before, but Jim's having such a hard time, and we've got to do something. He can't lift his leg over the side of the bathtub so well, and I hear him thump against the back of the tub wall, and I know in my heart we're going to have to sit down and make a decision here. But we've always lived out in the country."

I said, slowly, getting the first prickles of awareness that God was at work, "You know, what you need is one of those bathtubs with a door..." and Jim immediately said, "Ain't them nice? But I'll bet they are expensive. I would sure love to have me one of them, though."

My prickles got a little more pronounced. I knew that I should wait and talk to Tim, but it burst out of me. "We bought a house with one of these. That house is out in the country. It's a three bedroom ranch house. It's all on one floor."

Very cautiously, Jim rumbled, "Oh? Whereabouts?" and I explained. He said, "I don't want to live too far out. I worry about Marie driving in the winter." I said, "It's no more than three miles past the Country Fair," and I saw his face grow hopeful. "That would work."

That night, I was waiting when Tim got home from work. "I found who needs to be the Pleasant Township house," I announced. And he listened. We made a commitment to the person who sold us our last house. It was a commitment to pay it forward. It's hard to explain, and I can't really, the deal being a private arrangement, but we owe it to our friend to pay our good fortune forward. So I messaged Marie, and told her that we wanted the two of them to come look at our house.

I met with them tonight after I got off work, and we walked through the house, talking. They'd need the fusebox changed to breakers or their renter's insurance would refuse to cover them. Jim loved the knotty pine paneling and the cedar closet in one bedroom. I explained what our intentions were in the kitchen, and they were enthusiastic. Jim requested a gas stove, since he likes to cook. Marie told us not to bother replacing the dishwasher, that she was not a dishwasher-type. They loved the fireplace. There was a place for Jim to have a workshop. Marie picked out her office. They looked at the remodeled bathroom and they were pleased, and Jim opened and shut the door on the bathtub. The liked the ceramic tiles. They loved the big laundry room, and the two big storage rooms off to the side.

Jim went outside to walk around, and Marie confided that they had come the previous night and walked around it. She said that Jim had fallen well and truly in love with the house, but cautioned her not to get her hopes up. He was quite certain that they could not afford it. "It sure is beautiful, Mama, but I don't know..."

Marie said, "I told him, I've got a strong idea that God's at work here, and if He is, well, He'll make it possible. I'm not worried."

It made me happy, to watch Jim walking around the property looking like he already lived there. When we all convened one more time at our vehicles, Jim and Marie expressed concern for Tim. Their current landlord did not require a lease. They just needed to provide a 30 day notice to him. They did not want Tim to feel like he had to work like gangbusters to get this house put together in addition to his full time job. I said, "Well, Tim was worried about that too. He's not going to be able to get you in before winter hits," and Jim immediately said, "We moved in February the last time, in the middle of a blizzard and we are not doing that again." They were content to wait till spring.

When I got home, the phone was ringing, and it was Tim. I told him how it went. "That's fine," he said, "just perfect!" and I could tell that he was as happy as I was.

Still boggles my mind that a chance encounter would have has become a perfect solution for everyone, but I guess it shouldn't. When God's at work, it works for everyone involved.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

People are stupid.

This was the great weekend of T2SDA. Truckers were going to stand for our constitution. Thousands of trucks were to head to Washington DC and shut the place down. How this stands for our constitution I have no idea. Doesn't make any more sense to me than the government impasse playing out right now. Amazing to me how many people are excited about these truckers. What will a bunch of renegades showing up to force a shut down actually accomplish? Nothing. We know they are a bunch of lying dogs, posting fake pictures of truck convoys to 'prove' their impact. The protests are a bust. But fake pictures are still being posted on facebook of the purported truckers. I've been shaking my head at the stupidity of people. Sorry to sound so crass about it, but there is no other word for them. A number of them wonder on line "why there is nothing about this on the news?" as others answer, "It's a government plot" or "the media is controlled by the government" or "facebook keeps deleting our posts! LOL. They're controlled by the government too." A friend posted pictures of barricades being taken down by protesters and dumped at the White House gates. The barricades were surrounding national monuments which are closed by the government shutdown. His posting decried "the vindictive Obama administration". The monuments are closed down becasue of the shutdown. Obama is not sitting in the oval office saying, "Well, I'll show THEM!" and closing things down. It's so stupid, and it is getting stupider. What we've got is a small group of truckers who will lie to make themselves look like big shots, who are driving to DC to illegally shut down the government and kick the president out of office. Anyone who honestly believes that they will bring positive change is plainly and simply put, a fool. Sounds harsh, doesn't it? I'll probably be ashamed later, but right now, I'm kind of fed up with all of this stuff. The people that will scream the loudest about the dishonesty of the government are the same folks who don't hesitate to forward a lie on line if it supports their version of the truth.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


While I was at work on Tuesday, Tim found the mysterious bottle in the wall of the 1848 house. I have not seen it. He felt the honor of reading it first should go to the previous owner. He had to break the bottle to avoid damaging the paper. Unfortunately there are no pictures of the moment.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Just a Sunday in October

A grove of locust trees along the river.

A small boy celebrates autumn.

The same small boy leads his grandpa to look at the train in the shop window.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


So I've got this new camera that I'm bound and determined to learn. It doesn't have a written instruction manual. It is on a disk. If I had a printer, I could probably print it out, but....I digress. It was so stinking humid today that Tim and I took William and we went for a walk. He wanted me to take a picture of our lazy river, with the leaves just starting to change in the background.

Noticing the swan, I decided to try to get a nice picture of it. After all, I've got a nice camera now, and all of that.

(S)he was bathing.

Swans bathe in a vigorous sort of a way, turns out.

All of you out there that make this look so easy?
I have been deceived.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Today I had to drive out to Bradford. It is just starting to turn into fall here. I wanted to take a picture of the bear crossing sign they have at the edge of town, but it was pouring rain, and so I didn't get the picture. Coming back the rain tapered off. I stopped to take pictures. You can see the leaves are just starting to change.

It was a pleasant day for a drive. While taking these pictures, I got a bug in my shirt, a big black hornet-y looking thing. I discovered it while I was driving, but did not wreck the car.

I then drove up to pick up my clock

which once again sets on the mantel chiming sweetly to itself in the library.

I can see that I have a great deal to learn about lighting with this camera.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Little Town

William took a walk with his grandmother and her new camera. These pictures were just practice. I've never given a lot of thought to things like composition and that. I'm just a snap-happy picture taking fool. But on this walk, I was playing with the zoom feature.

This picture is kind of the epicenter of our business district. See that building to the left, behind the fountain. It is called the Flatiron building. It comes to a point.

This next picture shows the building bit closer. When I was a child, my dentist was in this building. So was our bank, and huge old fashioned thing with marble floors and cages made of brass and dark wood. There were also very ornate elevators with shiny brass doors. These were the first elevators that I'd ever ridden on. I was probably about 9.

This is the detail around the window.

This is the weather vane at the very top of the 5th story.

William loves the fountain.

Here's something else that William loves. When you push this button, there is a train that chugs through an elaborate landscape inside the building.
William is quite a fan of trains and this activity please him. I think that it is a pretty awesome gift to the community children.

Tonight I am going to a community service for the young boy that committed suicide after being bullied. It has to be killing the family, but they seem to be committed to using the young man's death to bring a change to our community.

A neighborhood kid shrugged his shoulders at the news and said, "That kid was messed up."

I ran into a man I know, a retired teacher, at an estate sale. (We bought an old door and a inch thick wormy chestnut board.) He said, "What is it that made us so much tougher than kids today?" He doesn't want to hear it, but the fact of the matter is that kids are much, much more aggressive and outspoken today than they were in our day. We can sit and debate the issue all day long, but the fact is kids are behaving in ways that would get them a harrassment charge were they adults.

I don't know. We have a nice town. We do. But we also have some issues that we need to look closely at. I suppose that makes us no different than any other small town.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


We live in a quiet corner of the world, a place where not much happens. Imagine waking up to this in the morning paper.

I look at this kid's face, and it hurts my heart. Actually makes me sick to my stomach. I had a daughter who was 'different', and I know full well how mean kids can be. My experience with the principal was just as bad, as he seemed to think it was up to her to handle it.

The community rallies:

A friend, a Boy Scout leader, a former teacher, a man who's heavily invested in our youth offered up the suggestion that bullied kids should carry metal mirrors around. When they are being bullied, he suggests holding up the mirror to the bully's face as a way to combat the bullying.

The sweetness of his suggestion brought tears to my eyes. I typed my comment. "Mark, you are a gentle and kind soul in a world that is often not gentle or kind. I wish that the answer to bullying was as simple as self reflection. Unfortunately, bullies are not a self reflective breed.

I clicked off and I cried as I went about my day. The world is ugly, and it is up to us, all of us, each and every one of us, to be good. To do good. It is the only way to win this.