Everybody Loves My Car


It’s not just me. It seems everybody likes a red sporty convertible. I’ve been spending a lot of time at the hospital the last few days for my husband (working on that post, who knows if I’ll ever finish it, will probably be a tl;dr). The first day I cruised into the parking garage trying to find a spot, I passed a young woman who was loading something into the trunk of her car. She did a double-take, grinned, gave me a thumbs-up and then an OK sign with her hand. 🙂 The next time I was pulling in and getting my ticket, I heard someone say “That’s looking good!” I turned to see the parking attendant smiling and telling me how cool my car looked (and me too, because he was a nice man) and that I should take good care of HIS car. Just today as I went to get in the car at the grocery store, 3 people were walking by. The man said “That’s the way to travel!” I chatted with them a moment and then the one woman, who must be someone’s grandmother, said to me “But you have to fix your hair! It’s all coming down!” *laughing* Um, yeah, it was. I said to her “That’s the price I pay for driving with the top down.” Something about a red convertible seems to make people smile. I know it makes ME smile!

Supporting the Pollinators


I have been trying to add native plants to my garden in order to support the pollinators and to make it easier to maintain. Some things have been working and some have been a bit disappointing, but all in all I’m seeing progress. One of the new additions this year is the anise hyssop. I put 3 plants near my gorgeous rudbeckia laciniata hortensia. The pictures online look much more attractive than what I’m seeing but maybe next year it will look more appealing. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter if *I* think it is appealing – I planted it for the bees and butterflies. SUCCESS!!!!  I saw a bee feasting in the hyssop just the other day! I’ve seen a few butterflies flitting about as well, but they have been much more difficult to capture in a picture.  I’m encouraged by this bee and the butterfly sightings. More native pollinator plants next year!!!!

It’s Not ‘Traffic’ in a Convertible


I may have mentioned that I enjoy driving my red convertible. A lot. Somehow even when I’m stuck in a traffic jam if I’m in the convertible with the top down, it’s just not that annoying. My other car has a sun roof and I keep it open as much as possible, but it still feels like being locked in an box when I’m stuck not moving in traffic. In the convertible it feels like I’m out enjoying the day.

This week I drove up to HQ for some meetings. The weather was perfect convertible weather. I listened to the traffic reports before I left and I knew there had been a truck fire on the highway and I knew I’d hit some of the remaining jam. I hoped that I was leaving sufficiently after the incident that most of the traffic would be gone. I know, silly me, but if you don’t have hope in this world, things get bleak fast. Of course there was the 5 mile backup but you know what? I didn’t really care. I took out the suntan spray I keep in the car, took off my dress jacket, sprayed my arms and coated my face, and enjoyed the sun on my skin. Hit another traffic jam up on the Palisades, and I’m in the trees there, but still the convertible makes a difference. You can smell the surroundings much better with the top down than in a car with all the windows open. (And yes, that is both good and bad. Going past landfills is not very uplifting. 🙂 ) The Palisades section of the road had that heavy moist tree smell.


I was far enough behind rush hour that the bridge was not a problem so I got time to actually look at the gorgeous new structures. The last leg of my journey takes me past one of the NY state reservoirs. I love that piece of road. No matter how stressful or aggravating the commute has been up to that point, the sight of the water and trees and rocks always resets the mood. 🙂


New Jersey Turnpike –
Like the Homeowners’ Motto
“It’s Always Something”

Kensico dam

Hot and Getting Hotter

pictures of fur

hot day

My cats are melting. I’ve been running the a/c all week and yet they are dissolving before my very eyes. 😦 I am living in a house of cathair tumbleweeds. I went outside at 7:30 am this morning to get the paper (yes, I’m that old-fashioned that I have a print newspaper delivered – 2 in fact on Saturdays). It was already 85 F with a real-feel of 95. The air was oppressive – like breathing solid matter instead of air. It’s only going to get worse tomorrow. It’s ONLY 96 at the moment with a real-feel of 106. Up to 108 tomorrow. Let’s hope the power grid is up to the challenge the north east is throwing its way this weekend.

tomorrow's forecast

When Cats Use Social Media

I would never let my cats get on social media. I KNOW them. WC would complain. GC would ask for food. BC – BC isn’t interested in anything but sitting on my lap these days. I don’t know why she’s become so needy. I guess because it’s really really hot out and she wants me to know that she is not just a winter blanket. In any case, I have enough cat chores to do without adding computer responsibilities to my list. I do, however, follow cats who ARE on social media.

I keep up with Larry, the 10 Downing Street cat. I follow the adventures of Ashton, Cupcake, Newton and Pierre. I’m not biased – I follow the Bronx Zoo Cobra as well.

This morning I was “introduced” to a new cat – Sockamillion. I don’t know Sockamillion well, and a quick perusal of his (somehow he seems male to me, but I could be wrong) tweets did seem to indicate a lot in common with my girls (all about him *grin*). He (she?) is MUCH more creative however, as evidenced by this morning’s post.

Screen Shot 2019-07-19 at 9.24.51 AM

I Don’t Know About Irons, Either


Please note that I said “irons”, NOT ironing. I DO know how to iron. But apparently I’ve forgotten basic facts about irons. The woman has difficulty changing lightbulbs, doesn’t know how to make an iron work – sheesh. Get her some household help!!!!

Why don’t I have much experience with an iron? Over 30 years ago one of the most productive moments of my life occurred. I was talking with my next-door neighbor, drinking coffee on her front steps. My husband came out and asked me some innocuous question about the ironing and if/when it would happen. *laughing* Janice jumped in before I could even draw breath and read my husband the riot act about how HE could iron, he was PERFECTLY competent to run an iron, he didn’t need ME to do his ironing, and he could wear permanent press shirts if he wanted ironed shirts. *laughing and laughing* My husband said not a word but turned and went back to our house (always a good idea to avoid getting into it with Janice). From that day forth, my children, my husband did the ironing in our house. Of course he did it HIS (male) way: sitting on the couch watching TV as he ironed. I decided that the ironing did NOT have to get done my way and indeed, my clothes have been ironed quite well. It’s been a long time since I spent any amount of time ironing.

I’m still working from home due to the weather today. I decided to skip eating on my lunch hour and iron some tops instead. I had one top that needed repair, and I was going to try an iron-on patch. I headed to the basement, set up the ironing board, turned on the iron. (Plugging it in involved climbing over laundry baskets to reach the plug. THIS summer’s big excitement is to bring order to the basement. I fight the basement wars weekly, if not daily.) I got the patch on and it is okay. Not quite as neat a repair as I was hoping it would be but for this shirt and for my purposes it will suffice.

Flushed with success I decided to iron more tops. The first one was no problem – a blend. I set the iron and got to work. The next ones were all cotton. The first cotton was okay, but not really pressed looking. They got worse after that. Now in MY day, Sonny, we had silver irons with black handles and a little hole into which you poured water until a skinny indicator showed full. You pressed the little red button DOWN if you wanted steam and you left the little red button UP if you did NOT want steam. Easy, peasy. My current iron is much more attractive, as you can see from the photo. It is also MUCH more temperamental. Apparently, and this is anecdotal evidence only, if it runs out of water, it doesn’t stay hot. I was ironing with a rapidly cooling iron. *shakes head, befuddled* Look, if I can change a halogen light bulb in my range hood, I can make an iron WORK, by golly!! I eyed the opponent, saw no water, and decided that perhaps water was the answer. Poured in some water, heard pleasing hot-iron-noises, and finished the tops.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Or have her relearn old ones. I left the rest for my husband. 🙂

Would someone PLEASE fix the weather so I can go back to the office and not stay home to run the a/c for the cats??????? There are NO chores in my office!!!!!

WARNING!!!! The following video is sexist, dated and undoubtedly offensive in a variety of ways. It’s also, taken in context, a very funny moment from “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum“. If you are offended by dated, sexist, paternalistic material, don’t watch the video. (lyrics)

My thanks to mrboombasticx who posted this video on YouTube.



I Am NOT Handy


Subtitle: How many Ahuva’s does it take to change a light bulb?

Sub-subtitle: It pays to blog

If you own a house, or rent a home, or spend any part of your life existing under a roof within 4 walls that is somewhat your responsibility, you know the Homeowners’ Motto:


The halogen light on my new range hood burned out. It’s a light bulb, right? No biggie. I get out the instruction manual, look up the maintenance guide, find the information I need. It’s a specific halogen lightbulb: 120 volt 50 watt halogen bulb. I go online to see where I can buy this. Great – the big box store near my office carries them. This week I picked up a package.


I’m working from home today because it is brutally hot and disgustingly humid. In the old days, when my cats were young, and I had a dog, and I was more thrifty than I am currently, this weather would have sent me straight to the office! Let THEM pay for air conditioning!!! I’d leave all the shades drawn, and the wall a/c unit on in the dog’s room, and know that the cats could either hang with the dog or go down into the basement which is much cooler.

But time moves on and my cats move less. WC in particular has been having major issues and seems to need to stay on the first floor. GC is also looking a bit wobbly. I could turn on the a/c in what used to be the dog’s area but none of the cats hang out there. I don’t think the cooler air would be sufficient lure.


So I’m working from home so that I can keep the house air conditioned for the cats. Why do I have to be here you might ask? Because I do not have central air and I don’t like leaving so many wall/window units going with no one here to monitor. As long as I’m here, I can change that light bulb. I have some time between meetings – should be no big deal.


First, trying to get the old bulb out took more elbow grease than expected. I did manage to get it out. Thank goodness it looked exactly like the new ones I bought. Still following directions (Don’t touch the bulb!!!) I climb the step stool to insert the new bulb. It doesn’t go in. I have spent over 20 minutes trying to get that blankety blank bulb’s prongs into the blankety blank base. I shined a light up there but of course once you start inserting the bulb, you can’t see the base. I decide I’m blogging this activity. I start taking photos. And I LOOK at the pictures. And I realize that I’m mistaking the screws of the base for the place to insert. It’s much clearer when I can look straight at the base and not have my neck twisted about peering into darkness, while I balance on a step stool.

Once I figured out WHERE I needed to aim the bulb, it only took another five full minutes to get it engaged and set. Nope, I’m NOT handy. But I DID change a lightbulb. One Ahuva. 🙂

VICTORY!!!! TWO working lights!!!


Midnight Muncher

morning glory porch

This morning was so gloriously bright and sunny that I wanted to take a few flower photos before heading in to the office. We are due for some heavy rain tomorrow and that often leaves the plants looking somewhat abused. Imagine my dismay when I saw that something had dug up my gazania and munched the tops off of them. Injury on injury – it wasn’t content with merely eating the tops, it dug up the plants!!!

Working in the garden was NOT on my morning to-do list but I got the trowel and dug new holes and patted the plants back in. Not really a first-class job but I needed to get going to the office. I looked at that and realized that they’d never survive the 90+ degree heat due for today, so I went and got the hose and watered them. As long as I was watering them, I got the front garden and the porch baskets as well.

Munched gazania

I don’t think the gazania will make it but maybe I’ll get lucky. I’d be more upset (and I was dismayed, don’t get me wrong) had I not treated myself to some more plants yesterday. I’ve spent the last 2 weekends doing massive weeding battles. One of the good/bad parts of weeding is discovering all the areas where you thought you had flowers but now have available space. I seem to spend a great deal of my time at the big box stores for house supplies. Yesterday was another visit so I just happened to stroll into the garden area to see what was still there. I picked up 3 perennial plants. If the gazania fail, I’ll put some of those plants in that spot.

rudbeckia and mandevilla

So much for marigolds repelling deer. I think the midnight muncher also attacked my dahlias. Back to dusting everyone with hot chili pepper every night. Sigh. It works, but somehow *I* managed to inhale it every time. ACHOO!!!!

On a happy note – take a look at the glorious gladiolas! Aren’t they beautiful??? And the mandevilla is climbing to the sky! I bought 8 ft poles this year for them, and I can see that’s not tall enough. 🙂 Maybe next year I should treat myself to some kind of arch in the front garden and grow mandevilla up both sides of it. If those poles are 8 ft, then the rudbeckia is at least 7 ft tall (assuming I drove at least 6 inches of the poles into the ground). I LOVE that flower! (And please ignore the evergreens in the photo below – I KNOW they are in desperate need of trimming.)

gladiolas and cosmos
Hanging superbells, Mandevilla twining up the pole, Golden Rod which will bloom in the fall, Cosmos, Golden Arborvitae, Gladiolas, Dahlia

Counting the Cars on the NJ Turnpike

orange slingshot

Is a quintessential way to get a slice of America. I have remarked often in the last 4 years that I was born to drive a convertible. 🙂 Four years ago is when my sister and I took possession of my mother’s red Solara convertible and I drive it every chance I get. Let me clarify – I drive it with the top-down every chance I get. Driving that car with the roof up is an unpleasant driving experience. You cannot see much out the back window at all – very poor sight lines, lots of blind spots. Living in NJ, therefore, the car is useful only from April through perhaps October, only when it’s not raining. And as we learned this past weekend, although it has a rear seat, sitting back there when the top is down is akin to being in a wind tunnel – you hear nothing and your face and hair are walloped by the wind. But I digress.

My sister and I headed to Haddonfield, NJ for their annual summer street festival. It’s a huge festival with lots of top-notch artists and crafters. Oh yes – there is also the hadrosaurus statue and museum if you are interested. But I digress yet again. 🙂

2 slingshots

It’s a bit of a shlepp to get to Haddonfield for us. The fastest way is the turnpike. Of course we took the convertible and of course the top was down. At one point I noticed in the rear view mirror that there was a very odd car coming quickly in the left lane. I alerted my sister and we watched as this extremely bright flashy sporty car came up and passed us. As intriguing as it was from the front, the real surprise came from the rear – it had only one wheel! I told her there were more coming – get her camera and take pictures – these were so curious!! Unlike Honour and my son, my sister agrees to take photos from moving cars, difficult as it may be.

in the middle of the pack
In the middle of the pack!

The 3-wheelers just kept coming. I thought there at least 20 in the ‘herd’ but my sister thinks there were more than that. They were moving very quickly and the road was fairly full so it was difficult for me to maintain the same speed as the cars passing me because there was too much traffic ahead of me. Hence the somewhat blurry ‘pack’ photos. Once home and on the computer, I did a search. It seems that we saw a herd of Polaris Slingshots. The colors were so bright, the herd was so unexpected, they just kept coming, it was a complete delight. Not at all like my rush-hour commute to HQ on the NJT, let me tell you!
dashboard view

To top it off, once we could tear our eyes from the Slingshots, to our right was a car out of our past. Although it was a current car model, it was lime green and covered with hippie flower decals! Those flowers used to be everywhere. If your VW van or beetle was not covered with those flowers, you were obviously a member of the “over 30” crowd. 🙂 It was yet another sight that brought smiles to our faces as we headed to the fair.
hippie car

Summer Fruit is Getting Started

Cherry Tomatoes

We have the first fruits of the garden – cherry tomatoes! I ate them after I took the picture – they were YUMMY! And the Rudbeckia Laciniata Hortensia is getting started. They are over 6 feet high now with lots of little yellow buds getting ready to pop! I found a new spot for a mandevilla this year. The last 2 years it was getting swallowed up by the rudbeckia, so I moved it to the end of that plot. There are cosmos in front of it, and False Starwort to the side. In front of the cosmos are gazania and marigolds. In another week or two the rudbeckia should be in full bloom. I LOVE that plant!!!!

rudbeckia just getting started

This year I’m trying a new approach to keeping my garden from being the 24 hour buffet for deer. In the past I’ve sprinkled hot pepper on the leaves of my plants to deter munchers. This year I have crammed marigolds and mint around all of my flowers and herbs. According to all the literature (that is, the internet *grin*), deer don’t like the smell of mint and marigolds. I think that must be the case because I did NOT plant any on the side behind the peony, and I see that something has been munching the zinnia that is attempting to grow there. Back to the chili pepper for THAT area.

Marigolds, Cosmos and Mandevilla