Sunday, May 26, 2019

Summer Begins

We went to the camp to open it for the season. I was pleased that our rodent proofing was mostly successful, which saved a lot of time cleaning.

I scrubbed and vacuumed and Tim mowed. He has built a patio area on the front, and we had our first cookout, and my sister and brother in law walked over to help us eat a watermelon that I did not have room in the fridge for.

We watched our grandsons play together, and walked down to the bridge Tim built across the creek. The boys played in a pine tree and scampered on ahead, stopping to blast shrieks from blades of grass held between their two thumbs, a new trick that my sister taught them that very day.

William said to Danny, "Hey did you know you can chew on grass?" and he reached down to pluck a piece hay which he promptly stuck in his mouth like any ol' country boy would. It made us all laugh.

When they left, we went inside, and William got ready for bed. We tucked him in and went to bed ourselves, and much to our amazement, given the cold spring and the unpromising start to summer, we saw a goodly number of fireflies blinking in the woods at the edge of the freshly mowed grass.

And that is the view I drifted off to sleep with.

Tomorrow we will begin to plant our garden.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 62nd birthday. My sister and brother-in-law kidnapped Tim and I and took us out for our birthdays. We came home and had cake and ice cream with Brianna and William. 

It was a fun celebration of a day, but the icing on the cake was this: 
Tim bought me a banjo clock I had seen last year at my favorite clock place. I admired it, but it was more than I could see my way to paying. It's not the best picture because it was getting dark outside, and I haven't had time to rearrange the pictures on that wall, but I was anxious to get the clock hung and hear it chime. 

I think it might be my favorite clock. 

Disclaimer: I say that every time I get another one. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Customer Service

I went into a beauty salon to pick up a hair product. It was something that I'd been using, and I liked it. I was about to run out, happened to be in the area and so I stopped in. I was looking at the rack of products to find what I was looking for.

One of the beauticians hovered.

I found what I needed and turned to go to the register. The beautician said, "Wait a minute," and took my product from my hand. "That won't work. With your hair type, you need this," and handed me another product from the same line.

A little flummoxed, I said, "Actually, I've used that (indicating what she'd put back on the shelf) before. It was recommended. I tried it and liked it so I'm back for more."

She said, "You'll like this better."

Me, a little firmly, "Listen, I'm not trying to be ungracious here, and thanks for your help, but I really do like the product I selected."

She rolled her eyes, tossed her perfectly coiffed head. and headed for the register.

Friday, May 17, 2019


I was doing a favor for an old friend. Her youngest girl, Sarah, and my Cara were good friends all through school. It was nice to catch up with Sue again. It's been a while since we've seen each other.

It left me thinking about when the girls were young. Sarah spent so much time at our house that she had her own room. Other members of the marching band marched in an out of our house on a regular basis. I miss all those exuberant teenagers, and it was fun to sift through the memories.

I always check facebook before I go to bed, just in case one of the kids has messaged, and the first thing that popped up on my feed was a post: "My Abby died. My life will never be the same." Abby was one of those who marched in and out of the house regularly. Her mother's post practically dripped pain.

I contacted Sarah, now a teacher in NY and Cara, in Spain.

I still can't believe it. Abby had the very best giggle, and it doesn't seem possible that it is gone from this world.

I'm so glad that I had a chance to hug my Cara last month.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

In Which I have a Close Call

I've been putting in my time at work and then working on clearing out the hoarder's house in the evening. I'm beat, but we have gotten so much done. Tim hauled a dump truck load to the transfer station yesterday, and we filled that dump truck again today. But today, for the first time, I feel like we're making headway.

My friend, Deb and I worked hard today. We were on the second floor, and she began tossing old mouse damaged suitcases out the front window so that Tim could load them on the truck. We noticed neighbors watching in interest, so she bellowed out, "AND DON'T YOU COME BACK, EITHER!" Tim looked shocked, and I about fell on the floor laughing. Before it was done, Tim was laughing too.

We took up the carpets upstairs, and tossed them out the window too. The dust. Oh my gosh, you cannot imagine the dust. Years and years of dust. But now that those nasty carpets are out of there, I think the house will smell much better.

That's about all I got. I'm beat.

Funny/not funny story, on the way home from work yesterday, sitting at a red light, I caught a sudden glimpse of movement in the side mirror. A large branch fell from a tree, onto the car behind me, and blocked two lanes of traffic.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Those neighbors

One of the kits.

 Another one of the kits.
As they get older, they are increasingly nocturnal. Here, mama has just delivered a meal. My sister is missing a chicken. Coincidence? Who knows. She's not too upset about that because she understands the circle of life, but I imagine that if chickens begin to make a habit out of coming up gone, there might be repercussions. 


This will sound horrible. 

You know how you have friends on facebook that you don't actually know all that well? This person is the daughter of friends that I haven't seen in years. I'm sure she must have sent me the friend request, because I usually don't do that sort of thing, and, well, she's the daughter of some casual acquaintances. 

Anyways, I went scrolling through my facebook, and I saw a picture that was posted on her timeline, from a guy. An older guy. And not the young man that she was engaged to. 

I clicked on his name, and there it was, immediately, an announcement that he and his wife were separating, posted not long before the cozy picture he posted on that young girl's time line, the one labeled "Just want all the light that the universe has to offer!"

He was married, with teenagers. She was engaged to a very nice young man, one that I do know, and think very highly of. 

I know, I know. The only two people that know what's happening in a relationship are the two people involved. There are plenty of reasons that a marriage breaks up, or engagements are broken. Good reasons. I know all that, but the suddenness of it all was kind of mind boggling. 

In his announcement that he and his wife were separating, he mentioned that wife by name, and I clicked on her name. (I know, I know how horrible that sounds) I was astonished to see a woman that was an older version of my young 'friend'. They had the same hobbies. They were both nature girls. They were both beautiful with long blonde hair. You might have mistaken them for mother and daughter.  The similarities just gave me goosebumps.

I don't have the inside scoop, and I hate nosy people, and I'm not judging, but I can tell you, I'm really praying for this girl. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Mack Goes to Spain

Cara has flown back to Paris, met up with Colin who flew into London a couple weeks ago to pick up their things, their car and Mack.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story, Maki is an Afghan street cat that Cara found in Kabul at the Nowzad animal shelter five years ago.

He's living a charmed life these days and is now visiting his eighth country.


A tornado went through while we were gone.

We couldn't believe it really. I mean, we think of all the times that there were tornado warnings and tornado sirens...and it all came to naught. A little random damage, somebody's shed got knocked over, a few trees downed...but this was different.

Houses badly damaged, a local business destroyed, the sign for that business found 4 miles away, across the river from us, where trees were downed. Our priest lost his garage, his truck and his camper. A lot of people on his quiet corner had some serious home damage.

When we got back, I went up to Terry to find out if he was okay, if he and his beloved dog had a place to stay. I reminded him that Tim and I are pretty handy at this sort of thing, and to yell when he's ready to begin work.

He's got his house tarped off and he's waiting for insurance to settle with him. Everyone got to work removing the debris and stuff, but everything else is at a stand still, while they wait for the insurance to come through. It's been nearly a month. I guess I never thought of that.

The building debris from the business still hangs from the trees and power lines, and the traffic light is still out.

Small potatoes really, compared to the tornado damage you see on the evening news, but it affected the area in a big way.

It never ceases to amaze me, the randomness of nature. That storm came down the river, bypassed two mobile home parks full of mobile homes. Things could have been disasterous. But they were not.

Our house lies between Starbrick, where the storm touched down, and across the river where it touched down again. We were unscathed. Since we're re-roofing this summer, Tim was hopeful of some small damages that could be turned into the insurance. No such luck.

William has long been mesmerized by tornados. That day, had he been home, he could have looked out his playroom window and seen one with his very own eyes.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Gone Girl

When we were in Washington DC last month (how does that HAPPEN? Time just flies...), there was one night that two of my kids, Dylan and Brianna, took William to China Town to meet up with their uncle.

That left Tim and I and Cara and Colin with a couple hours to ourselves. We took ourselves to a great eatery and there was wine. Walking back towards DC, on quiet dusky streets, I caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye of a man with a woman pushed up against the door of a closed store (it was recessed, set back a bit from the side walk). She was saying "Let me go, let me GO!" in a quiet voice, and he had her backed up, with her shirt bunched up in his hand. I could not hear what he was saying, but it was obvious that whatever was happening was not what should be happening at all.

We were a group of four.

My surprised mind formulated the plan to stop right there, to not take one step. I thought that I was witnessing a sexual assault, and to my thinking, by standing there, we would stop it from going any further.

Before my mind could get any further with my plan, there was a blur that was Cara. She darted in there and pushed the man back. In a very loud voice, she began to upbraid him. He did not let go of the woman, and he was not embarrassed. He began to argue with her. Cara did not back down. She said, "You're not a man if you put your hands on a woman."


At that point, I knew neither one of them were going to back down. I asked a passerby to call 911. In my shock, all I knew was that neither Colin or Cara's phones worked in country. In my shock, I forgot completely that WE had a cell phone. The passerby hesitated and then kept on walking.

I saw a police car a block a way and I ran. (When an old fat lady runs, you KNOW she's scared.) I got the police officer and explained what was going on as we jogged back. Cara and the man were still going at it. The man had the woman's purse and was explaining that he owned everything in it, and had spent a great deal of money on the lady. Cara was pointing out that 'he had NO right', etc. etc.

The officer asked for the purse, the young man did not release his hold on it, although he did let go of the woman. The request for the purse was repeated. The man ignored it and found himself in cuffs. At that point, Cara was deep in conversation with the woman. "You don't put up with this. Do you have a place to go?"

Before we knew it, there were four police cars pulling up from all directions. We filled out reports, and the officer thanked me for stopping. "Most people wouldn't have," he said.

I said, honestly, "I wasn't quite sure what to do, but once Cara went nose to nose with him, I knew we all were kind of committed to stay."

Later, Cara was telling Dylan in her riotous way. "Mom was standing there gawping like she does when she's in a big city..." and they laughed.

I explained my thinking. I didn't know it was a robbery, immediately. I thought it was a sexual assault. I stopped to prevent it from going any further. Once a 911 call was made, we could leave when the police showed up to take over. People carry knives and guns. I had no desire to confront him physically, but every desire to assist the woman.

They laughed like fools and it was plain that they didn't believe me.

I've been thinking about it. I used to be every bit as bold as Cara. When I was very pregnant, with her, actually, I confronted a man who had just bashed a man over the head with a chair. at the place that I worked. (Sounds like a rough place, doesn't was a bowling alley.) I backed him up and refused to let him go, and (probably because I was pregnant) he didn't fight. The police arrived. Turned out the man had a gun.

So, yeah, I had my moments.

Now I'm 60. I guess I still have my moments. The kids would call them 'senior moments'. We live in a rough world, and I'm more cautious.

Sometimes I wonder where that 'young me' went though.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Choosing to discontinue treatment, to wait for your life to wind down...that takes courage

Endorsing your wife's decision to discontinue treatment, to watch her life wind down, putting your grief on hold to be present for her...that takes courage too. 

Many years after two lives were knit together, the threads of that life are separating, 

In the midst of all the stories you hear about heroes today, take a moment to reflect on the quiet courage of people whose stories are never told. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Beautiful Day


Me: (brightly) "Gosh it's a beautiful day today, isn't it?"

Response: "I hate warm weather. The hoes come out with their short shorts and bare midriffs, showing everything they's DISGUSTING!"

Me: (smile fades...)

I swear. I don't understand people sometimes...

Saturday, May 4, 2019

New Car

I have a new car (new to me, anyway). It was an incredibly good deal. It is also a luxury car, which I have never owned in my life, all the bells and whistles.

Now I'm not a person who cares a lot about what she's driving. I drove my little Versa around with no complaints at all. But what I will allow to is that for the first time in, like, probably forever, there isn't an idiot light blazing on my dashboard. I like that. A lot. I was surprised how much I liked that, actually. 

And I drove my new-to-me car around happily for a week.

The battery light is on. 

Tim just came rushing in to tell me that I can't drive it until he figures out what the problem is. 

I'm starting to think that it might be ME....

Late Edit: battery cable was damaged, which led to the cable getting hot. It melted the protective cover. Tim replaced the whole thing, says if it wasn't for that little light, we wouldn't have known anything was wrong and that the car would have surely caught fire.

I drove it, cautiously. No idiot lights. For now.

*watches warily*

The neighbors on the other side

We do need to move the new game camera. We got some pretty nice shots, but they are too far away. The camera will be moved to the tree in front, facing this burrow, which seems to be the site of the most activity for this family. There appears to be 3 kits in this particular group. Here are two of them.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Neighbors

We went to check the game camera. A fox stood very still watching us. He zipped into a burrow and disappeared when we spotted him. We didn't bother them. There are three different burrow systems. We didn't check the new game camera set to capture pictures of the foxes, so as not to make them nervous, but across the road, one of the cameras there got a shot of this visitor at the cabin.

Tim can't wait to get back to the woods.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Two Cans of Hairspray

Tim is a quiet kind of guy. Not really demonstrative. I know that he loves me, but he's not the hearts and flowers sort of guy. It used to bother me, but now I just take it as part of the package. He's a good man. Not perfect, but a very good man. The sort of person that you can be certain of.

Last night, I was cooking supper. He'd run to the Walmart to pick up an SD card for his new Browning Special Ops game camera. Across the road from our retirement property, there's a den of foxes with 7 kits. Cute as anything. Just watching them was enough to convince Tim that we needed a good trail cam to get pictures of them.

He came walking in the door, reading the package from his SD card and said, "I got you something," and casually tossed a bag with two cans of my hairspray on the table.

I was a bit gobsmacked. He's never done that in his life. I didn't even know that he knew what kind of hairspray I use. "What's that for?" and he said that they were having a sale. Buy one $19. can of hairspray and get the second can for $2. He headed for the livingroom to set up his trail cam.

I stared after him.

It's a strange thing how two cans of hairspray can make you feel so very loved.