Monday, February 28, 2022

Short post

I am going to ask you to over look the pictures

I am going to ask you to disregard the small text.

Typing a post on a tablet is a PITA. We went to a museum  in Leicester. We walked a!I over  city center, and then we walked all over Abbey Park. It was wonderful.

Most memorable moments: okay...I am delighted to see how dog friendly this area is. While we were having a hot  cup in a coffee shop, a very patient dog came in. She took quite a shine to Colin. He petted her and spoke with her. Every time that his hand lifted away, she would stare sorrowfully til he began to pet her once again.

I saw a field filled with snowdrops, crocus, and daffodil as far as the eye could see. I wanted to run out and just lay in  them.  (It is snowing at home).

It rained all day. I feel cold to the bone. I may never be warm again...but? Totally worth it!

Hopefully a better post tomorrow. I need to find out why the phone died.

So happy to be here!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Strong hold

I had not slept for over 24 hours but I managed to make it to 7:30 last night.I think it was the excitement of being here, seeing Cara and Colin again. Plus we stopped at an old church on the way home.

The trip home was interesting. Since I was sitting where the driver sits on an American car, (and I was tired), when a car veered sharply, I had this moment of sheer panic. I had this awful feeling of not knowing what to do before I realized I wasn't driving.

So we stopped at the church and walked around. We had a nice walk through their little town, getting  myself oriented. The doves here are mind boggling. Easily 3 or 4 times the size of our mourning doves.

By then,  it was getting dusk, and so we came home. We sat down to watch a sitcom, and that's all she wrote. I headed to bed and slept soundly until 3 am. There was a bit of confusion because I did not realize that my tablet had automatically adjusted the time. I thought it was 8. But I went back to sleep until after nine. I have felt great today.


Today we went to Bolsover castle. There was something I found amazing. A half dozen paintings hung on the wall, and they were not defaced at all despite the fact that there was no one there to protect them. Unheard of.

We went to an antique shop and had a walk through two flights of wonders. We had tea in the car.

The night was capped off with a roast supper with Yorkshire puddings. We drank wine 🍷and watched a play: One Man and Two Guvs. We laughed so hard we had to turn on the news of Ukraine to sober ourselves. What courage!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Happy heart.

 Today on the way  back from the airport,  we stopped at the ruins of a 14th century church and abbey. I touched those stones with my own hands. I wandered through an old cemetery of moss covered stones who held their secrets close, shaded by massive trees. I saw magpies and was able to name them without hesitation. I recognized names of places and things.

Thank you all for your blogs!

So much more but mostly just walking tonight with my daughter and son in law was a thousand longings coming true.

Severely jetlagged. More later.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Headed out.

 Well. It appears like it is actually going to happen.  I am sitting at my gate with a cold water and reading 'Half Broke Horses'. Starting to get excited now..

Thursday, February 24, 2022

1 Day

 Tomorrow is the day.

Just to keep things exciting, however, we've got a sleet storm coming over night. It may reach this far north. It may not. 

(Just to keep things exciting). 

In studying the situation, we've got a two hour drive to the airport. I also need to be there two hours early, which means we will need to leave four hours early, which means we need to leave the house at 9 AM. 

The one thing that we know for sure is that the ice storm is not going to be as far north as Buffalo, so if we can make our way through it, there should be no flight delays due to weather anyway. 

I'll spend the day putting the last minute things in my back pack, sitting it in the bathroom so that I can toss everything in tomorrow. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

2 Days

 You know what is frustrating? Un-updated information. 

I was sent an e-mail by Delta that provides me with all the last minute things that I need to take care of for my trip. 

I was a bit surprised to see that one of the things that I can cross off my list is a covid 19 test. I was expecting to go for one Thursday morning, and having an attestation form filled out by a doctor to prove that it was negative. Printed the form out and everything, but right there in that e-mail dated February 20th, under 'vaccinated' it noted that I didn't need the covid test. 


So I clicked on the 'additional information' button (in the SAME E-MAIL) and I got the helpful information, dated December 6th, 2021 that I needed to have a negative covid test within 48 hours of leaving. 

IN THE SAME E-MAIL!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, you have to understand that I'm standing here waiting for this whole thing to fall through. I'm trying to be optimistic, but there has been some pretty dicey weather happening there (here too). And not to mention that all of a sudden, I've got a cold passing through my 'bubble'. I've become a virtual hermit trying to avoid catching something and I'm popping zinc like I'm addicted to it. (Note to self: be sure to look up and see if you can overdose on zinc.) 

So in the middle of that, I just had this sudden vision of myself being turned away at that airport because I hadn't gotten the covid test. 

So I called Delta and after a wait of 49 minutes (which turned out to be over an hour) (good news: I didn't lose phone service this morning) I was told by a cheerful person that Delta's webpage had the most current information and I could look it up there. I stated that I had already done that and the "latest information" (dated December 6th, 2021) said that I did, while the e-mail said I didn't. 

She looked and hmmmmm'ed and I waited patiently, and finally she decided that the e-mail was correct and that I did not need the covid test. 

I still admit to being nervous about not having one, but I have the e-mail that says I don't need it. 

PS Yes, in case you are wondering, you CAN overdose on zinc cold fighter. Good news: I have not exceeded the recommended dosage, so I should be good.

So now I'm trying to get together some last minute things. I went to look for something in the attic and managed to bash my head on the edge of the attic door. (I was holding a knife and a light and I got distracted.) I staggered around a bit before the stars faded, and the whole time I was thinking 'If I can't go because I've given myself a concussion, I'm going to be so pissed!

I don't think I've got a concussion but I've got a knot and a cut. 

(Good news: I did not cut myself with the knife in my hand.)

Know what else is frustrating? I received a debit card in the mail today, in my name. It was not from my bank. I needed to activate it. I called to find out what it was about. They wanted my social security number to open my account. 

Me: I don't want you to open an account for me.  I have a bank. I have a debit card. I want to know why this bank is sending me one."

Him: "My hands are tied. I can't give you any information without the social security number." 

Me: "...and I'm not giving you my social security number without further information." 

Him: "All I can tell you is that your employer has sent up an account for you with very important health benefits." 

Me: "I have been a contracted employee for the last 10 months. I received no health benefits. I also retired last month." 

Long pause. 

I hung up. I burned the card, and I notified my ex-employer's HR to let them know of a possible scam. 

Oh and this was another burr under my tail today: Chris from Breezeline called. (Full week + since we had our first two hour call.) Astounded that we're still having problems with our phone and internet, and oh so very sorry that he had forgotten to mention that he was out of the office for a week. I was on the phone with him for a half hour while he expressed disbelief that the district manager/supervisor/imaginary person had not called me back. He's escalated it again, but this time he's sure they are going to fix it. 

It's not even lunch time yet, but I think that maybe I should just stop for the day. Take it easy. 

I need a vacation. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

3 More Days

 It was a warm day, and it felt very much like spring, 50 degrees, with a breeze. Tim had today off for President's Day, which was very nice. 

We went back up to the retirement property. When William and Tim went there on Saturday to set out corn, they studied the tracks in the snow. There were lots of deer and rabbit tracks, of course, but headed across the little wooden bridge, he saw foot prints without claws. Retractable claws mean a cat, and our only sort of 'cat' here is a bobcat.  

He came home all agog about that. Across the road, there had been a deer killed back when the snow was so deep that the poor thing could evidently not move fast enough to get away. My sister and brother in law thought that the killer was either a bobcat or a fisher because it was a pretty violent scene.

A Fisher

The tracks across the road on our property in such close proximity to the killed deer leads us to believe that we've got a bobcat in the area. Discovering a new creature in the area is always a bit of a thrill. My sister and her husband are less thrilled, being worried about new calves. 

So today, we went back up to check for tracks and to take a look at the game cameras. 
There were what appeared to fresh bobcat tracks as well as coyote tracks along with the expected deer and rabbit tracks. 

Tim switched out the camera card and we've got lots of deer pictures, rabbits, squirrels, foxes but unfortunately, no bobcats. Never one to give up, Tim bought another game camera to overlook the path the bobcat seemed to follow before. 

We tried to take William bowling but couldn't get a lane so we wandered around model homes to get ideas on a sensible floorplan for the house we will be building.  

We did not have internet or phone for the morning. Once again, I left a message for Breezeline's specialist; you know, Chris, the one that always returns calls.
 I have not heard back from him. 

This evening, I cleaned out the fridge. The freezer is stocked with 'instant meals' 
for the man who does not like to cook. 

Since the internet came back, again, I got the directions to the airport. 

I've done one last load of laundry. 
My travel clothes are laid out. 
The suitcase is ready to go. 
Just the last minute toiletries remain to be tossed into my backpack. 

Ellie K. the trip will be 15 hours and change. 
PS, would you mind sending me a quick e-mail?

Monday, February 21, 2022

4 Days

 William woke up this morning sneezing his head off. His nose is running. He felt fine. He has allergies, so we did not give it much thought. 

It is now clear that he has a cold. 

Eek. Popping zinc tablets like crazy.

I head about the havoc wreaked by Dudley and Eunice over there. I thought, "Please don't let there be an 'f' storm.' 

Today I'm reading about Franklin. 

This crap needs to stop.

Our internet and phone were down for the vast majority of a 24 hour period: Saturday for nearly all of the afternoon, all of Sunday morning. I documented, and documented for the FCC complaint. I also sent multiple texts to the man who always calls back (I haven't heard from him since Tuesday). I know that he only works Mon-Fri, 8-4, but I explained the texts were informational only, to provide a time line and to insure that Breezeline cannot claim that they were unaware of the problem.; 

Quite amazingly about 1:15 Sunday, the internet and phone came back into service. They have remained that way for 7.5 hours. That is the longest stretch of  continuous service we've had for weeks. 

4 more days before I go. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Count down

 Our internet and phone problems have gotten worse. Anonymous had a wonderful suggestion to file a complaint with the FCC, which I did. The fact that on line you can view hundreds of complaints just like mine indicates that the problem is very widespread. I'm not sure what we are going to do since most of the alternatives don't work for our area. (Personally, I think that is why Breezeline is pretty unconcerned...they know that most of us are not going anywhere. We can't.)

In any case, it's just been a day to get my things rounded up. I'm packing my backpack. The suitcase is packed and ready to go. I'm trying to think of everything, but am sure that I won't. 

William turned 11 Friday, and they all came over for a birthday celebration and to open his gifts from us and his aunt and uncle. His parents gave him his first cell phone, and he is very excited about it. 

Hard to believe. 11. 

And it was the day after he was born that I met up with Bush Babe and Mark and Sarah and Jack in New York City. 11 years I've been planning to get there. 


Anyways, 5 more days.

Saturday, February 19, 2022


I do believe that dreams are the brain continuing to think while you're asleep, so my two dreams two nights ago made me wonder what my brain was going on about. 

In the first dream, I heard an intruder. I woke Tim up and we got out of our bed, in our bedroom. I remember feeling that it was all suddenly very unfamiliar, and then we were walking towards the entrance way of my childhood home. The intruder was not there, and I worried out loud to Tim. I didn't know whether I'd actually called the police or simply dreamed that I called the police. 

I woke up and laughed a little at that strange dream. I got up checked the weather and came back to bed. 

I fell asleep and dreamed about my new vacuum cleaner filters and how wonderfully the vacuum was working. I vacuumed the office, library, and livingroom, and headed into the front hall. Now in real life, there is a step ladder leaned against the wall, and a brand new DeWalt table saw still in its box. In my dream, Tim had taken those things to where they needed to go, and I stood there with the vacuum marveling how spacious the hall was in the light coming through the old oak glassed front door. 

The front doors are opportunities to step out into the world.  My concern about the intruder? The intruder is weather, or covid or any number of things that could cancel the flight. That's all. My brain is getting excited to go. 

And it wants that stuff out of the front hall. 

6 more days to go. 

Friday, February 18, 2022


 I drank my coffee and waited for daybreak. It came, and with the gray weak light came the indisputable fact: It's snowing again. I guess based on what I'm hearing about Eunice, I should just count my blessings. 

My suitcase is packed for the last time. I've begun tossing stuff into the backpack that I know I will need. Just another week to go. 7 days. 

Today is the long awaited day to get my hairs cut. I was holding off on that until the last minute to that it wouldn't get all grown out and impossible to do anything with before I got back. 

Last night was a strange night, full of strange dreams. At 2, I got up to check the weather. I went back to bed. At 3, I was waking up from a dream: A stranger was in our house. I woke up Tim and when we got up to investigate, we were walking to front door of my childhood home. We did not find the stranger, and I fretted about whether I'd called the police or simply dreamed I called the police.

I woke up still worried. I pondered that for a moment before dozing off again. 

I dreamt that I was happily using my vacuum with the new filters. The rugs were coming out beautifully. I was so pleased. I was even more pleased when I got to the front hall and discovered that Tim had cleared away the large box that contains his table saw and his step ladder. The hall looked so spacious and large without them, much larger than it is in real life. 

I think that it is interesting that I'm dreaming about homes. I think the fact that I saw the front entrance on both of them (from the inside) must mean something. I'll think on it. I think our minds address things we are considering even when (especially when?) we are asleep. 

But in any case, I've got laundry to fold and hairs to be cut, and new filters to put in my vacuum...may they be everything that I dreamed they would be.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Balm for the Soul

 Even in my uncaffeinated state, I managed to remember a picture of the black orange this morning. I think it is delicious. Tim says that it is okay, but he does not believe it is as juicy as a regular orange. 

Also, for the record, I'm not worrying about the trip at all. I am worried about the possibility of not being able to take the trip. And it is just a minor, niggling worry wrapped up the knowledge that Murphy's law is a real thing. 

Despite the death of our tenant, covid numbers have dropped dramatically here, so that is reassuring, but it is the only thing that could stop the trip in its tracks. (Well, other than unruly passengers, blown tires, or snakes in the light...)

So, I am not really worried. Much.

Something that has absolutely got me fired up is our phone and internet. We've been trying to sort this out since I retired and discovered we even had a problem. I called to cancel the landline, but was told that recalculating the package would result in higher prices, not lower prices. I questioned how that was even fair, because really the reason for the change is on their end, not ours. I also pointed out that whether we were going to even keep the internet was highly debatable. Long story short, three transfers later, I found myself on the phone with someone who worked for nearly 2 hours, assured me that my complaint was escalated, that it was not just me, it was a system glitch that affected others, got a phone number that guaranteed getting directly through to him and that he always returned the calls. I also was told that a district manager/supervisor/whatever would be calling within 24 hours. I hung up feeling as if I'd spoken to the person I needed to be speaking with. 

Did you know that you can check your internet? Every 15 seconds, it checks your connection. You will get a green 'yes' or a red 'no'. After hanging up with 'Chris' I was having the same problems with my internet, but my connection was consistently a green yes. I couldn't understand it, until I took it down to being checked every 5 seconds. You could very plainly see it flickering between red and green.

I texted my new friend back. Twice. No response. 

The following day, I called him and left a message. Twice. No response. 

I also have not received the promised call from the district manager/supervisor/imaginary position. That really irked me. 

I was on facebook with my dodgy connection flickering on and off. I was trying to message Cara to call me. I can't call her on my cell, and the landline wasn't working at all. Long story short, a Breezeline blurb came up with all their promises of wonderful service, and there were literally hundreds of complaints just like mine. I added my comment and submitted it a dozen times before it took. The reply came back that I should PM "Sue" who would be glad to help me. I commented that if they were serious about keeping their customers THEY should start calling people back as they promised. Today I saw that they have deleted both comments.

Yesterday, I planted 6 mortgage lifter tomato seeds. I decided against planting everything before I go. Tim and I have always had an arrangement. He brings home the meat, and I tend to the vegetables. Starting 50 seed pots and then taking off seemed a little unfair, both to him and the seedlings. Still, I needed to soothe my grumpy self so I started those six tomatoes. 

It helped. 

My sister was on call for the second night in a row. Sitting around visiting with her and Tim for the evening also helped. 

I'm off for the day tending to tick some of the last minute things before the trip. Hard to believe that I'm leaving next Friday.

If I don't get covid.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

It's the Little Stuff

 Wellup. I went grocery shopping over the weekend and got something marked as raspberry oranges. They were on sale, and you know me...

This morning, I got up to pack Tim's lunch. When I pack him an orange, I always take a slice off the top of the rind, and then score the sides of the orange four times, to make it quick to peel. Getting a look at the orange, it was black. I thought for sure it was a rotten orange. I peeled it and split it. It was juicy and smelt wonderful. My sister was on call last night and spent the night here. She watched in horror as I cautiously sampled a slice. It was delicious. 

I have never seen a black orange in my life, so that was an interesting start to the day. I should have taken a picture, but was morning...I hadn't had my coffee...mumble...mumble...

For three days running, I've heard airplane horror stories. The unruly passenger who was tackled by passengers. An attendant smacked him across the head with a coffee pot. Multiple times. Then there was the story about the tires blowing up on the plane. Finally, last night, there was the story about a plane making an emergency return because someone noticed a snake in the light

A coincidence, I'm sure. 

I visited with a friend on Sunday while our husbands watched the Stupor Bowl. She asked me if I wasn't afraid to fly alone. Her brother was dying and she couldn't bring herself to go to him because she would have had to fly alone. I wonder why that would be so scary? If I had to say that I'm afraid of anything at all, it would be having a positive test result on the test before I fly out. I honestly don't think I'll actually believe it is all happening for real until I am well over the Atlantic Ocean. 

It is supposed to be snowing and 25 degrees (-3.8c) here when I leave. It is supposed to be 10 degrees c (50f) when I land in Birmingham. We are supposed to be having two 50 degree days here, starting today, and I am excited about the warm up.  I am assured that I will be freezing at 50 degrees in the UK. This is something I will be very interested in experiencing for myself. 

When William and I walked home from school last Friday night, there was an estate sale. I like to browse through these things. It is hard to tell what you will discover. We gave William weekly drum lessons for his main Christmas gift, and there was an awful lot of drum stuff - a snare drum, a pack of probably 20 sets of drum sticks, a cajon, a practice pad. William and I studied the things. We had already bought him a practice pad for his birthday on Friday (shhhh...don't tell him), but the other things were pricey. Regretfully, I said, "We'll just wait to see how interested you become in this hobby before sinking a lot of money into equipment." A man standing nearby said, "You're a drummer?" William puffed up a little but his words were modest. "I just started taking lessons." The man said, "That's awesome. Stick with it. It attracts the ladies!" 

Anyways, I did make a purchase there. I found an unopened package of Jiffy Peat Pots, 72 count for $1. I snapped them up. I will start my tomatoes and peppers before I go. I will start the cucumbers when I get back. I'm way more excited about this than is warranted, I guess. It feels as if it's been a long winter. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Valentine's Day

Yesterday was a memorable day, unfortunately not in a good way. We had our appointment with the insurance people. We are reasonably sure we have that sorted out, but I had to get us set up on line with the government offices (what do people do if they don't have a computer? The assumption is that everyone does!) So there were passwords and decisions and do you have any idea what a turn on it is to talk about death and catastrophic illness? (Answer: not much of one, I can assure you.)

We also had a romantic foray into Walmart to buy new filters for the vacuum, which they did not have. Amazon will have them here by Thursday, and since Tim bought himself a new table saw, turns out I had enough points to get them for free. So. There's that. Unfortunately, the sensuous Valentine's day Hoovering/vacuuming session was not possible. That sucked. (See what I did there?)

Tim headed up to the property to feed the deer. I was cooking a special dinner for two. 

In the middle of all that, the discovery was made. One of our tenants, younger than us, had died of covid. We were not aware that he was sick. It came as quite a shock. I called Tim who came home immediately. We went straightaway to talk to his mother who lives two streets over. Our concerns were many, mostly, keeping his things safe, and how did she want that handled. He had never married but had a room mate, someone who was in a bad situation. A temporary situation had been going on for months and he was too soft hearted to handle it decisively. 

How do we make sure that his stuff remains there, how do we get his room mate out legally, who's responsible for the utilities when a tenant dies (short answer: the property owners), how do you legally evict someone who's not on the lease (and someone who told me flatly: if he wants me out, he's going to physically have to throw me out. I'm not moving.) There were issues about who owned what. 

Lot of questions, but it came clear that the first thing we needed to do was get in touch with the executer of the estate. so we went down to offer our condolences to his mother, and to make sure she had our number for when she felt up to getting her son's estate settled. He was our longest tenant. We had him for nearly 10 years, and he had come with the house. We thought a great deal of him. Our main worry was the room mate who seems to have some serious issues. 

Mama had that sorted out. She does not have her son's tender heart. In a no nonsense way, she had gone to the house and said "You need to get out and you've got two weeks to do it." After arguing for months, after defiant refusals, the roommate listened meekly and said that she'd be out in a week. She was physically moving out even as we were speaking with mama.

God bless mamas. Once the room mate is gone, we can change the locks and give the mother the key to begin moving her son's stuff out. Mama is down there, in and out, overseeing what is being removed from the house. There has been no arguments. 

We notified the other tenant in the building that he had passed and that if she saw the roommate out and about, it was probably not a good idea to give her a consoling hug. She believes that covid is a hoax. 

That tenant had already known. No nonsense mama had put it in the paper: her boy had chosen not to be vaccinated, and he had died of covid. Like I said, she's a very no-nonsense woman, a social worker. 

Turns out that multiple people had been trying to contact us to let us know all morning long, including mama and the other building resident and friends. That's how we discovered, after two tech visits and one maintenance call, that our phone is still not working properly. 

I have spent 2 hours on my cell phone trying, once again, to get the house phone sorted out. 

Definitely a day to remember.  (At least dinner was good.)

Monday, February 14, 2022


 Have you heard about this? In 1999, Alice Sebold wrote a book called 'Lucky'. It became a best seller, and she made big money from that book. 

Film rights to that movie were picked up, but as the script was being written, it became evident to the executive producer, Timothy Mucciante, that there were some real holes in the story, things that simply did not add up. 

These discrepancies so troubled him that he left the production altogether and paid a private investigator to look into it. 

In the end, Anthony Broadwater, the accused rapist, was exonerated

8 days later, Sebold issued an apology to him.

I don't want to rush to blame the victim. What happened to Sebold was traumatic and her lapses can be forgiven, in my opinion. It is more a problem that once Broadwater's name was in it, the police did not let go of it. Despite compelling evidence to the contrary, he was sent to prison for 16 years, and we need to look at the fact that the police's 'gut feelings' are sometimes wrong. 

The work of the Innocence Project confirms that. 

I guess my questions move along a different path. If I wrote that book, if I made millions, what part of it would I owe to Anthony Broadwater? In the 24 years that he has been out of prison, he has been on a list of violent sexual offenders, working menial jobs to get by. 

Personally, I think that I would owe a big chunk of that change to him. I would want to improve his life, atone for the mistakes made, even if I did not feel that I was responsible for those mistakes. In my mind, the atonement would not be a legal decision. It would be a moral one. It also be my own decision, not the decision of a court. 

What about you? 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Dog Tale, Revisited

 I went to church today for the first time in a long time. It is the same church that Connie, my quick thinking neighbor from the dog attack incident goes. Her phone rang during the service and she quickly left. 

After church, I looked her up. I wanted to tell her that I'd seen Diane out walking the dog that had been attacked. She was happy to hear that. "Guess who that was on the phone?" she asked. "It was the police. They want to talk to me about the incident."

Thinking of the man with dementia and his distraught wife, I said, "Oh. That's too bad that it went to the police."

Connie said, "Well..." and she went on with the rest of the story. 

After the apologetic phone call and the offer to pay all the vet bills incurred, the woman suddenly began to back pedal. Moreover, other people in the neighborhood began to step forward. The dog had attacked before. Once was a small dog on the next street over. Those people had no legal recourse because the dog was sitting on their porch with them, unleashed. When it saw the other dog walking by (leashed) it ran off the porch barking. It was viciously attacked, required multiple surgeries and barely survived. Because the 'victim dog' had been unleashed, the owner of the 'attacking dog' was not found to be liable. 

There is a man down the street who has a small white dog. They are frequent sights around the area.  He knows of at least two other dogs that were attacked by the same animal, not as seriously injured as the first dog, but that seems to be due to the quick response of both dog owners, both of them. 

The aggressive dog is a rescue. A pitbull mix. It had obviously been treated roughly in its formative years. The situation is sad. 

I can only think of one thing. I had a dog, a big stray named Buck, and I really loved that dog. As he aged, he began to develop some strangeness. He would spend long periods staring fixedly at the wall. It made me uneasy. During these periods, he didn't respond when I spoke to him, and if I touched him, he would start as if he was unaware that I was there. 

Long story short, my very sociable dog, without warning, lunged very aggressively at a puppy. When I jerked him back, he snapped at me. This was not my dog. 

It broke my heart, but I had him put down immediately. He was too big to be unpredictable. 

I still feel bad about that, but I know that it was the right thing. He was used to roaming because we lived in the woods. He would have had to be chained to be outside, always leashed to be walked. He would have been a very unhappy boy. 

Sometimes when you own a dog, you have to make hard decisions. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Find

Today William and Tim went up with a hundred pounds of corn to feed the deer. We're thinking that this will be the last of the grain we have to buy. We have had a couple 40 degree days this week and next week we are slated for two 50+ degree days. The snow is melting off and the deer should be able to find food on their own again. 

After they fed the deer, grandpa had to do some measuring at the old house that we are using for storage there. It will always be interesting to me that people will simply walk out of a house and close the door and leave everything behind. People do though. The last two houses we have bought were left like that, chock a block full of stuff.

The core of the little house was built 150 years ago, but since then, the house has been added on to. An addition on the back, and then a second floor with two small bedrooms in the front. In the back there is an attic that runs the entire width of the house. 

Weeding through that stuff has been a slow process, mainly because it is dark in there. Also because there are snakes in the walls and I am terrified to be poking around and finding one (or more). It is about half done, but the finds have been pretty unremarkable really. 

In any case, Tim was up there today, doing some measuring, William at his side.  He pulled up a couple floor boards to look at the studs underneath to get an idea of how the place was built and much to his surprise he found this toy gun tucked away. 

Tim was quite excited to find it.
 It has a working bolt action. 
It even has a wooden shell chambered. 
He had never seen a toy quite like it before. 

William was also pretty excited. 

They declared work was done, and they came home with their treasure.

I looked it up and very quickly discovered what it was. 

William's rifle is the top one. 
The sling is long gone, and the front sight has been knocked off. 
It was made by the Parris Toy Company and dates between 1945 and 1950. 

The history of Parris Manufacturing Company is a very interesting one. At the start of World War II, when draftees by the thousands were being sent to the Army and Navy training camps, there were no rifles available for training purposes.

Parris Manufacturing Company, already an expert in woodworking, was asked by the Department of Defense to make dummy training rifles for new recruits to use until real rifles could be made available. More than 2 million of these training rifles were made for the Army and Navy and the Company earned the coveted Army-Navy “E” Award for its contribution to the war effort.

After the war was over, the company switched its production lines over to manufacturing toy rifles and pistols. These toy guns were made with the same skill and care that the company had used in making the Army and Navy training rifles. 

Grandpa and William worked together today refurbishing that old toy. They sanded the rust off the metal work together with fine steel wool. Grandpa gave William a tiny paint brush and some matte black. William is a funny boy, afraid to make a mistake. We really work hard with him when he is with us, teaching him that he is a capable child and that all mistakes can be fixed.  He reluctantly began the job. Grandpa stood back and waited.  William painstakingly repainted the metal parts black, gaining confidence as he worked. He did a very good job. After the paint dried,  his grandfather showed him how to restain the wood. He listened intently, worked carefully, and the end product was totally the work of his own two hands. 
He is very proud of how it turned out. 

"He's always going to remember this day," I told Tim. 
Tim smiled. 
"That's a very cool gun," he said. 
I smiled too. 
He knew damn well I wasn't talking about the gun. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Dumb me

 One of my biggest nagging concerns is that when I take that covid test the day before I go to the airport, I am going to test positive. I know it is silly. I guess that I'm not going to believe that this trip is actually happening until I am on a plane far out over the Atlantic. Even then, it seems like it can all derail because some yay-hoo decides that s/he's not going to wear a mask and just what is anyone going to do about it anyway?

Anyway, I've been not really inclined to go anywhere unless I have to. I don't want to tempt the fates. Today, I had a couple of errands to run. There was no avoiding it. I woke up with a headache, nothing big, but annoying. Some mornings, I can nip that in the bud just by having my morning cup of coffee. This morning it did not work. 

I got myself out of the house and did my two errands, and then got myself back home. I tried to keep myself busy, but that darn little headache thing just hung around. I fixed myself a black bean salad for lunch and decided that after I ate, I would take a couple aspirin. Cara popped up on messenger, and so we visited a bit. In between messages, I grabbed a bottle of aspirin from the bathroom and returned to the conversation. We were talking about Rochester castle. She has an appointment very near to it, and wondered if I'd be averse to going off on my own. 

Hell's to the no, I wouldn't mind. I read about the castle in between messages, and when we were done, I gathered up my cup and bowl and headed for the kitchen to wash a few dishes. 

But I still had that minor headache thing, and even worse, I was so very tired. Exhausted. I got this sinking feeling that I was coming down with something. 

'Great', I thought, and after fighting the tired, after a half hour I just gave up. I sat down on the couch and watched an episode of Midsomer Murders, a rerun, but it just seemed like too much effort to find something else. I really hoped that whatever I was coming down with was short lived. 

I got through the afternoon, and I had to walk to the school to meet William. The wind was really picking up, and it really did make me feel a bit more energetic. Not a lot, but enough to get me and one boy home. We cooked supper while he chattered away. 

Long story short, I made it through the evening. I even managed to watch Nick Baumgartner and Lindsey Jacobellis take the gold. It really felt like the tiredness was resolving, which made me feel a bit more optimistic.

When we were getting ready for bed, I was a bit shocked to see the unmade bed.  I always make the bed. "That's embarrassing," I said to Tim. "I really don't know what my problem is today."

I went into the bathroom and got my teeth brushed and decided to take a couple PM aspirins for that stinking little headache, but I couldn't find the bottle. My excedrine was there. The Tylenol was there. No PM aspirin. 

A sudden flash of insight led me to the computer. There it was. Being in the middle of a gab session with Cara, daydreaming about castles and trips, I'd taken two PM aspirin. I was exhausted because I'd drugged myself. 

Some days, I am just not the brightest crayon in the box. 

Leader of the Pack

 Today, I opened up my carry-on suitcase, 22 x 14 x 9. Last week, I'd piled the clothes that I wanted to take. 

Over the course of a weekend, I winnowed that pile down. As in, any shirt had to match with at least 3 other items (not including jeans). If it did not, it was put back in my drawer. The idea was to be able to mix and match so that it did not look like I was wearing the same clothes every day. 

Looking at what was left, I set aside my bulkiest long cardigan, a nice dress shirt, a pair of jeans and my boots. These items would take up a lot of space in a suitcase. I will solve that problem by wearing those things on the plane. 

I looked at the pile of stuff still laying on my bed - 4 long cardigans, one sweater, a pullover, 13 shirts, 3 pair of jeans, 3 pair of yoga pants, a dress, and unmentionables. I also had a gift for Cara and Colin and a package to go out in the mail once I get there. 

It was still quite a pile of stuff, really.

But you never know until you try, do you? So I began folding everything tightly and fitting it snugly into my suitcase. It all fit, easily. I even have room for a pair of shoes!

Plus I still have my backpack.  

I decided that I was a very good packer. The sort of person who should have been going on vacations right along. I was very proud.

Tonight, it occurred to me that I did not pack my flannel night gown. 

Wonder what else I will remember that I forgot.  

Thursday, February 10, 2022


This afternoon, I became aware of quite a bit of screaming in front of our house. As I rushed to a window out front, I realized part of the screaming was a dog kiyi-ing. I looked an saw the woman across the street laying in the the snow trying to get up and screaming hysterically. 

By the time that I got my shoes on and was out the door, a small group had gathered. One fellow was driving down the street in his work truck and stopped immediately. Two of my neighbors were there, along with another neighbor I didn't recognize, The woman who had been knocked into the snow was still screaming hysterically, although by this time, she was at her bloody front door. 

Listening to all the hubbub, I managed to sort it out. The woman had been walking her little dog and met a man walking his. Both dogs were on leashes. Without warning, the man's dog attacked the small dog, ripping open its side. The horrified woman tried to intervene, but fell. She has a serious health issue that affects her balance. Once on the ground, she was unable to get herself back up and was face level with a dog fight. 

The owner of the dog stood there as if he weren't sure what to do next. When people began to arrive, he turned and began to walk away. My neighbor Connie went after him. "You can't just go," she said. "Your dog has just attacked and caused injury. You need to stay here." 

The man said, "Well, there is nothing I can do about it," and began to walk off once again. 

Thinking quickly, Connie asked him his name, which he gave to her without hesitation. Then he left.

In the meantime, I offered to run back to the house for a blanket to wrap the poor dog in, but someone else had already gone for a towel. Neighbor Mark was on the phone with the vet. "Yes. I'll drive her. We're on our way right now. (pause) I understand. I've got a credit card in my wallet." He said to me, gesturing, "Help her on the stairs, will you? She falls."

He went for his car as another woman and I guided her down the stairs, one of us under each arm. She was still crying hard and holding her dog (who appeared to be in shock). We led her down the snowy sidewalk and tucked her in the car. 

After they were gone, we all kind of stood looking at each other. I have never felt so useless in my life, really. The woman next to me said, "My God, that was awful." The man said, "Unless we're going to call 9-1-1, I'm going to head off then."  Connie said, "Well, I'm going to find him," and off she headed in the no-nonsense stride of a former ER nurse.

The man headed for his work truck. The other woman headed for her house. I headed for my own...when it occurred to me that I had sent my friend off to confront an uncaring man with an aggressive dog ALONE. I was horrified. I shot back down my driveway, but I didn't see her. 

I felt like such a horse's ass. 

I called her 20 minutes later and she answered in her unflappable way. I told her how badly I felt when I realized what I had done. I said, "I wanted to make sure you were okay," 

She was. It turned out that the man walking his dog has dementia issues. His wife was shocked speechless to hear what had happened. Their dog had never been aggressive before. Level-headed Connie gave her the name and number of the other dog owner. The woman called her without hesitation, apologized profusely and authorized any treatment the little dog might need. She told them to give her the bills. 

When she disconnected from the call, the rattled woman said, "I guess I didn't realize how bad he had become. I mean, when you live with someone every day, you don't notice." 

She wasn't talking about the dog. 

Connie soothed her, but said, "No. You don't see it, but really, he should not be out alone. I tried to talk to him. He didn't understand. He has no idea of what to do in an emergency. 

I knew that Connie was exactly the right person to be with the woman as the scales fell from her eyes. I know that her soothing tone and practical nursing advice was exactly what the poor thing needed to hear at that moment. 

But I also had a sneaking hunch that if 'knowing what to do in an emergency' was the criteria for whether you should wander around unsupervised, I probably would not have passed that test this afternoon either. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Another Countdown

 In all the excitement about my trip, it is easy to forget that Tim is retiring too. His last day of work will be March 18th. I was trying to arrange the trip after his retirement day, but he was hesitant about leaving. We are both about to turn 65, and this is retirement. We have planning to do. 

I tried to debate it. We've got a romantic Valentine's Day scheduled with our insurance agent. Everything would be set up before we left, but he had this niggling fear that if we headed out in this time period, we would miss some important deadline, messing up our golden years forever

He's a planner, that one. I finally gave up and planned my trip. I saw him delaying into summer and we have some engraved-in-granite plans then. 

However, let not the fact be lost: Tim is retiring. 

He called this morning, walking back from a meeting in the personnel office. The company is closing its doors. So many employees headed out, all at once for new jobs, that the company set some very attractive terms for those who were willing to stay on until the end. So attractive that Tim agreed to stay on. 

Now Tim is not an excitable character. He's calm and even, and every response you get from him is going to be considered and careful, but this morning he had numbers, for the first time. In his quiet way, he laid it all out. 

I said, a few times, "That's really great!" 

His response was typical Tim. "Yes, it is."

He was back at his plant, and so we said our goodbyes. I hung up feeling very happy for him. 

In pretty short order, the phone rang again. I saw that it was Tim. When I answered, he said, "I forgot to tell you..." and he threw out another nice number. I mean, really, these terms are unheard of for any company that I know of, but he has been working for a German company for 16 years now. 

"That's really great, Tim," I said, and he said, "Yes, it is!" I was not imagining the exclamation mark there. Tim was getting enthusiastic. 

It made me smile to hear him. Retirement is a great gig. I've been enjoying it myself. Once again, we hung up.

Probably 10 minutes later, the phone was ringing again, and again, it was Tim. I answered the phone. "We're celebrating tonight!!!" Definite exclamation marks. More than one, as a matter of fact. 

All these numbers, but for the first time, I see Tim getting very excited about one number in particular: He's got 37 days of work to go.

Late edit: There was a fourth call. It's a slow day. He's leaving early. Assume exclamation marks and lots of 'em.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

First World Problem

 We've had quite a time with both our landline (phone) and our internet of late. Hard telling how long it has been going on, really. Up until last month, we were both away for major portions of the day. As soon as I retired, it became very clear that there was a problem. We lose both phone service and internet multiple times a day. 

Tim is trying to sort out his retirement. He has three pensions to activate (from three different companies) and this requires phone calls. Lots and lots of phone calls. The hold time is incredible. One memorable call had him as caller 94 in queue. Most of the time, you will have the option of leaving your number and having them call you back when it is your turn, but since he still is at work, he can't take a call on his cell phone when he's on the floor. 


He remained on the line, listening to perfectly horrible tinny sounding music that was too loud. Way too loud. We muffled it with a pillow. 

The call center shut down at 5, and as we got closer, I said, "You're not going to make it..."

He insisted that he would. 

After nearly 45 minutes, he was down to single digits...and then our phone went out!

The next day he did get his call through. He was 112th in queue. The phone cut out in mid conversation. Luckily, the young man he was speaking with called him back on his cell phone. (It is prepaid and waiting in queue for nearly an hour would have burned up a lot of minutes, that's why.) 

In any case, the internet goes up and down regularly as well.  So I called the company that handles them both and explained the problem. The helpful young man could see that there was a connection problem right away and sent someone out. 

That young man was also very helpful and had gone to school with my nephews so we chatted away like old friends. Long story short, he felt that most of our problem was due to faulty hookups. For instance the cables in the basement were hooked into other cables for systems that were inactive. Our house had once been divided up into apartments, and there were lots of cables from that time frame. We had Dish when we first lived in the house, but it was so expensive that we switched. The new company came in and did their own installation, leaving the other wires there. Inexplicably, the technician wired the new system into the old (which wasn't being used). 

That was the problem, he confidently told me, and showed me the wiring and splitters that he had cut out. 

Except that it wasn't. The problem continued. 

Contacting the company is a problem. Live chat is an option but it can't be utilized when your internet keeps blinking out. You can call them,. but it has to be done on the cell phone because the home phone doesn't last long enough to keep you on hold as you are 47 in queue. I finally got someone on my cell phone. 

The young man was curt. He tells me that he sees what the problem is and that he has made detailed notes and this time it will be fixed. His curtness irritated me, and I was probably more curt than usual myself. 

So. I am confined to quarters this afternoon, once again, to wait for a technician who will be there at some point during a two hour window. I keep reminding myself that this is a first world problem, but it makes me irritated - I suggested that I was due a reduction in my bill due to the unreliability of their service. It was quickly pointed out to me that it was not as if I didn't have service at all. It's rather like having a new car that runs sometimes, at least in my mind. 

Later, when I asked the question: "Why do we even have a landline?" Tim had no answer. 

Aw, well. Have a laugh on me.

(which is better than a laugh AT me.)

Interesting side note: This truck starts out at about $68,000.

We have never spent that much money on a house, to be honest, and the idea that people hand over that kind of money for a vehicle is mindboggling. 

That is why Tim has this: 

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Day Dreams

 Nothing to say, really. It's nearly midnight and I'm sitting here wide awake, daydreaming in the middle of the night. 

Saturday, February 5, 2022


 William came for the weekend. We baked some brownies. Repotted a couple plants. He and his grandpa shoveled. ($2 worth.) He brought his sled and warm clothes along. Across the river there is a playground, and the hill there is a popular sledding spot.

The parking area was not plowed, so I parked across the street in a church parking lot and we walked across. I spent over an hour standing at the top of the hill in the bright sunshine of a 17F day. It was cold, but the sky was blue and everyone was in high spirits. It was fun to people watch. 

A mother with two daughters was there and she was cautioning her kids the entire time. "Stay away from the fence!" "Pick up your feet!" "Move out of the way!" "Watch out!" Over and over she said, "I'm not looking for a trip to the ER!" Nobody got hurt. 

A father and his son were there. Dad was right in the thick of it, dad dressed in his Carhartts and the son in his coat and snow pants. They each had their own sleds and were racing each other down the hill over and over. Dad was catching some fine air on the ramps. He acted and sounded like a big kid, and his kid was loving it. 

Another dad brought his son too. William and that boy knew each other from school. That dad brought a folding lawn chair and sat not far from where I stood. He enjoyed watching. "Try the ramp!" he encouraged his son.  "For God and Country!" he said. "Duty and Honor!" His son looked at him. He'd obviously heard this schtick before. The father said, "Okay then, do it for your mom! I know how you love your mom!" he said. 

The young man did get the nerve to try it. Not until later, did I hear that father talking about their plans. "I've only got one more day with you," he said. His boy sat beside him in the snow, his cheeks bright red from the cold. "I know," he said. 

That's a great gift to give to a child, don't you think? To speak kindly of his mother even though they are no longer together? 

There were a group of high school boys. flying down the hill over and over again, shouting as they hit the ramps, flying, arms and legs akimbo and crashing off the track into the deep snow, as gleeful as any of the kids there, and completely unselfconscious. 

There was another grandma with a grandson. He had a fancy sled, one of those with steering and three skis. A lot of kids stopped to stare enviously, holding their plastic sleds from Ollies or Big Lots or Walmart. However, they lost interest quickly. The boy was afraid of the sled and jumped off of it every time that it began to pick up speed. He'd land on the slope and the sled would go shooting down the hill without him. His grandma would trudge down the hill to pull the sled back up the hill as her grandson dragged along behind her dispiritedly. 

Quite an assortment of humanity there. 

Madeline L'engle said, "The great thing about getting older, is that you don't lose the other ages you've been."  Today, I was, for a time, five years old, sliding down a big hill on a wooden sled with metal runners. It was cold. My dad was there. The two days were separated by 60 years, but sounded much the same. The sky was just as blue. The trees just as sharply silhouetted. 

I stood with my hands in my pockets, being five once again. 

"Grandma!" William shouted, "watch me hit this ramp!"

I blinked, and grandma left five behind to appreciate her grandson's moment. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Laughing at Myself

 Sounds ridiculous, really, but I've begun packing. As I accumulate the things that I need to have with me, I've begun filling my suitcase. 

The little RFID wallet is big enough to hold my passport and important papers and cards and as I check things off that to do list, I just immediately put the documentation stuff right into the wallet. Before I go, I shouldn't have to do anything besides add my driver's license to it. 

I bought a back pack which is the perfect size. I can tuck my purse inside of it along my necessaries. It has a padded place for electronics. A hidden compartment for that little wallet of documents. Today, I ordered the books from Better World Books that I can read on the plane and while I'm waiting at the airport. I can leave them behind when I'm done. 

I'm not doing checked luggage, so I have one wheeled suitcase and a backpack as my carry-on baggage, so it requires some thinking. In the end, I have 5 lightweight, warm (but not bulky) long cardigans. I have a dozen shirts, both dressy and casual, long- and short- sleeved, that I can layer for warmth (or not). I'm taking 3 pairs of jeans, and 3 pair of yoga pants (which can also be layered under the jeans if it's bitter). I'm wearing my bulkiest and best loved cardigan on the plane. I figure that with all the mix and match opportunities, everything will still fit in the suitcase, but I'm not going to look like I'm wearing the same clothes every day. 

I didn't think it was possible, but it looks like I'll have plenty of room for everything. Except for a small toothpaste and some mouth wash and towelettes, I'm not packing toiletries at all. Cara will buy those things and have them waiting.  I'm putting money into her account for her to do that for me. 

Who knew planning a trip could be so fun?  We're planning on one London play,. I have a black swing dress that will pack well. I was delighted to find that it matched very nicely with the patterned cardigan that usually goes with the red shell. All that considering and matching and weighing and packing...when I realized how much fun I was having today, I really had to stop and laugh at myself.

Message for Little P

 Over at her blog, Jennifer posted about Little P, a young friend with surefire ways to bring snow.  

He's plenty excited because snow is a rare thing there in the south where they live. I thought it was cute. Emphasis on 'was'. It's been a pretty cold week. After  a break in the temperature, we've got this moving in tonight. 

See the 14.9? That's where we live. School is already canceled. 

Jennifer, have mercy. Please tell little P to turn his pajamas right side to. 

Thank you. 

I posted this so the Canadian contingent can comment "Oh, THAT's nothin'!!!!" 

We got ourselves dug out, and I'm feeling very invigorated. 

(No. No I'm not.)

Thursday, February 3, 2022

So Lucky

 I'm covering a lot of unknowns as this point preparing for this trip. I'd heard so much talk about exchange fees and charges. I was worried about that. Following Bob's sensible advice, I made an appointment at the bank to discuss this and see how these things are handled. 

The woman who talked to me was probably in her 40s and she was so excited for me. She had lots of questions about what I was doing, and where I was going, and she listened avidly, even as she gave me step by step directions on how to handle the financial side of things. At the end of it, she said, "You're so lucky...." 

She wants to travel too. Months after her father died, she said to her mother, "Come on, let's go! Let's rent a camper and drive across the country. Let's go see the Grand Canyon!" Her mother looked at her and said, "Why would I want to do that?" She looked dumbfounded at simply remembering it. "Who wouldn't?" she asked me. 

During the meeting, I know that she said, "Oh, you're so lucky!" at least a half dozen times. Her enthusiasm was infectious, really, and the more she talked, the more enthusiastic I was getting (and believe me, I was happy about it when I walked in and sat down) 

I looked at her and realized that I have been her, for years, I have been that woman. Wishing and waiting and working and just very badly. It just kept being pushed back over and over and over again. It seems like I have been waiting all of my life for this. 

I went from the bank to the car wash to get the salt washed off my car. The temperature was out of the single digits for the first time in what seems like forever. Everyone seemed to have the same idea and the lines were long. I couldn't change my mind because I could not back out to leave the line. I was stuck.

I've been stuck before though. I know all about waiting. I counted out my quarters and daydreamed. That woman at the bank? She was exactly right. I am lucky. I'm so lucky. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022


 I was up before the sun, got Tim's lunch packed and sent him off to work. 

Once he was gone, I sat in the office sipping coffee and watching the sky turn a brilliant red. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. How many years has it been since I first heard that? I remember my mom explaining it to me, and I believed it to be unerringly true. 

That led to thinking about moms.  About having a mom. About being a mom. I think of my own mother's flaws. She made plenty of mistakes. I think of my own flaws. I have made plenty of mistakes too. 

Slowly the brilliant red of the morning fades as the sun comes up. A new day dawns, bright and beautiful. The cold snap is going to break today, so we will let the fire will burn out. Tomorrow, I will clean out the ashes, after the majority of the coals have died. Everything will be set for the next cold snap due this weekend. We've got another round winter storms forecast.

The hibiscus on the table in the office has put out another bloom. Such a cheerful sight, that big salmon colored bloom. I know that it will not last, and that I need to make the most of it, but I love how the plant has been putting out one bloom at a time every week or two for a couple months now. 

I get up and methodically start the chores of the day. Each day, I try to accomplish a few deep cleaning chores that got shoved to the back burner while I worked. Today's were scrubbing the walls in the bathroom and stairwell. (tick!) I've got an appointment at the bank to get things arranged for my trip. I need to wash the salt off my car on the way back home now that it has warmed up. My sister is on call and spending the night here. I'm making quiches for supper and the ingredients are assembled.

And so my day goes. I work through my chores, room by room, one at a time, in a daydreaming sort of way.

There used to be a childish me who believed in the unerring truth of old weather proverbs, but now, years after the fact, I have learned that there is no such thing as unerring truth. I have learned that everything changes, and then changes again, an endless cycle, a rhythm. I find myself thinking about days gone by, people gone on, about mistakes made, mistakes corrected (or not). About momentary beauty. About breaks in the weather, about new storms on the horizon, About red skies in morning. 

Today, for some reason, it seems to be more beautifully connected than usual. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Controversy


In case you have missed it, this is exactly what some politicians have been doing. 
Read more here

When I was a kid, no one monitored what I was reading. 
Not at all. 
Should they have been? In some cases, yes. 
It is not that the books should have been taken from me. It's just that if you know what your kid is reading, you know what you need to be discussing with them.

We watched "Undeniable" Saturday night. As always, the stories break your heart, but to be perfectly honest with you, equally horrifying was hearing a group of high school students in Texas say that they had heard of the holocaust before, but could not answer the most basic of questions about it, Texas being the same state where the school board took the stance that if the Holocaust was to be taught in school, the opposing view needed to provided to the children for context.

Horrifying to think that a child might be learning that Hitler had a point...

I e-mailed our public library. If they do not have a copy of 'Maus' on hand, I've offered to buy and donate three copies. 


 It was a day of getting ready to go, getting everything packed up. We are headed east to see Iris' ballet recital.  I picked up some la...