Archive Page 2

She’s Singing My Song

My sister sent me this link today about Holiday Dinner Planning. Of course it applies to ANY dinner planning these days. I’ve written before about the challenges I face trying to invite my long-time group of friends to dinner. And that is WITHOUT the person who can’t eat nightshades (which I only learned to my dismay at my Come See My New Kitchen party). My husband pointed out that they also forgot to mention the people who bring their own food without having mentioned it or cleared it with the hostess first. ๐Ÿ™‚ I believe that I’ve also mentioned that showing up with unexpected entrees that you expect to be served at that meal is actually a bit rude. Aren’t you glad you aren’t invited to my house for dinner? SO many rules!!! But enjoy the song because, oh my goodness, it’s right on the nose! (Of course at THIS point in the pandemic, I’d be DELIGHTED to be throwing a party no matter WHAT food challenges I face.)

Baby It’s COLD Outside

Basking in a box in the morning sun

Good thing that *I* control the temperature INSIDE. ๐Ÿ™‚ I woke up this morning and my phone app and my actual thermometer both agreed: 16 F. This wasn’t a surprise – we all knew this huge drop in temperature was coming. As one of my favorite bloggers has been noting, the weather is yo-yo’ing all over the place. Last Saturday it got up to 70 F. Today our high is expected to be 30. Wooohooo! Thirty whole degrees!

This may not be as obvious in a photo, but can you tell which bed is used and which is scorned?

My mother used to have an ash tray (remember ash trays?). I didn’t understand it when I was growing up. I think my sister might have it now. I’m SURE we didn’t get rid of it when we sold the house. It shows 2 men at either end of a table. I think there are either coffee cups or old fashioned glasses or something on the table. They are both semi-reclining, with at least one of them having his feet up on an adjoining chair. I’m fairly certain at least one of them is smoking. The caption on the photo is “Next week we’ve really got to get organized.” See – THAT is adult humor. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kids are either totally organized or have no clue what being organized means. I neeeeeed that ash tray. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have so many photos I took in order to post here, but I just can’t get organized to write a coherent narrative. Perhaps you’ve noticed that lately yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

My husband “torturing” BC with TV for cats

But writing to you makes me feel as if I’m having a social life, especially on a day when even if there WAS no pandemic I have NO intention of setting foot out the door. Brrrrr. I was supposed to have a massage, which I need badly because I have a spasmed muscle (why does WordPress not think spasmed is a word?) and only my massage therapist can help me now. She’s my only hope! But I texted her yesterday and asked to move the appointment because I am such a spoiled princess that even for my massage I am not going out there. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m willing to bet by now my good friend Honour is rolling her eyes and shaking her head. (She lives on an island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy – they know how to do cold up there.)

Got it!!!!!

One day I may have enough inner strength and control of my temper to tell you the saga of my attempt to get an attractive heater for my deck, so we could still see friends during the winter. Last year we had NO SNOW and fewer than 5 below freezing days. We were supposed to have friends over for dinner this weekend so I had been accumulating deck heaters. Or attempting to accumulate them. One I ordered online on Nov 2. I’ve been assured as recently as yesterday that it really IS on its way to me – it’s on a boat in the Pacific. Still. Before Thanksgiving I went out and bought Mr. Heater and he has been a rock star. He may not be much on looks but he heats like the sun. We took him with us to have dinner with friends last weekend. Between their wood-burning fire pit and our Mr. Heater we were perfectly comfortable for 7 hours of fun and food (all socially-distanced).

Now you know why I needed a ladder – I can’t reach the top without one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week I began to lose faith that my slow boat from China would ever arrive so I bought a Pyramid heater at the grocery store. I set it up last weekend (remember last weekend? temps in the 60s?). We turned it on, saw & heard it sparking – nothing. I was fairly certain the problem had to be in the control box as there really was nothing else to that tower but structure. I didn’t know WHAT exactly although I had my suspicions because things didn’t really look aligned. I asked my brother-in-law to come help me debug it. He came yesterday, after our big snowstorm 2 days before. That meant before we could work on the tower I had to dig it out, clear my steps off the deck, and bring up both a ladder and Mr. Heater. No way we could work out there for any time without heat. ๐Ÿ™‚ As usual, my brother-in-law figured out the issue and we fixed it. I got a lesson in spark gaps. I had thought the one piece was the issue but intuition can only take you so far – knowledge is power. Anyway, I now have 2 working propane heaters AND a propane fire pit with lots of ceramic logs. I cancelled dinner anyway. Even with 3 heaters going none of us wanted to sit out in 30 degree temps.

The handmade ribbon is so pretty

I plan to spend the day baking. This makes me happy. Unfortunately it also makes me gain weight. I’m planning to share with neighbors. Another thing that makes me happy is to get unexpected presents. I looked out the window and saw a package on my deck this morning. A little package. I figured it was something my husband ordered. Nope, it was for me (yes I took 3 steps out the door to grab it). It was from a co-worker. There is also a very long annoying story about the word “co-worker” but all I’ll say now is that corporate politics and policies are blocking me from being on the team (hers) I wish to be on. That team and I, however, are all acting as if I am indeed officially on that team. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah, you really don’t want to mess with me at this moment. I opened the box and it was SO PRETTY and there were so many goodies inside. Maybe I can trade some of the goodies to my sister in exchange for the ash tray???? Spiced rum? Vanilla cinnamon Bailey’s?

Where to begin?????

One Day in December

Winter! Bah! Humbug!
Donโ€™t ski. Hate the cold and gray.
Bring back hot summer!

Watching through windows
Snow falling, blanketing all,
Glad I am inside!

The storm has ended
Brilliant sunshine reflecting
Off pristine white snow

Young neighbors are best
Lend him our snow plow, sit back
Watch the sidewalk clear!

Northโ€™s winter solstice
Ends the lengthening darkness
Brings promise of light

Only four more days
Until sunshine starts to grow
More light, warmth, flowers!

Living With a Retiree

Is that a blissful face or what?

While BC has become my office mate, and is especially present to “help” in the afternoon, WC has retired from all such obligations. She is on the feline equivalent of Social Security and Medicare. In cat terms that means she meows and we do whatever she wants. The meow is usally one of two things – either a strident demand for me to get to the kitchen and put more wet food on her plate, or a strident but plaintive cry for my husband to sit back down on the couch so she can snuggle. BC wonders why SHE doesn’t get a plateful of wet food every hour, so I have to buy her off with catnip-flavored greenies. WC has yet to demand a place on my husband’s keyboard, but she HAS gone back to utilizing her hiding spot on top of one of his other desktops (really floor model). It’s very warm there, and safe. I’ve found her sitting next to the electric radiator in the breakfast room and snuggled up next to the hot-air humidifier in the sunroom. Ahhh, the life of a retiree – eat, sleep, snuggle.

I bet she has the same expression that I have when I feel the sun on my face.

Office Mates

Sharing office “supplies” (btw – we have more, but some were on the floor)

I shifted my home office several weeks ago. I used to work in the dining room, where we have very strict rules about the table. I moved up to my son’s bedroom. There are some great advantages up here. First, warm air rises so it’s much warmer up here than downstairs. Second, there is a red tailed hawk in the neighborhood and up here I sometimes glimpse it as it soars. Third, my office mate is much more present. This of course has both an upside and a downside. We share supplies, although I tend to have less need or desire to knock them off the table. We both like warmth, however, and that can lead to a few disagreements. Overall, I’d have to say the new location has been working out quite well.

Awkward but manageable. I can still reach the mouse.
At this point, we disagree. Only ONE of us gets the keyboard.

Questions in My Life

Why do I always figure out how to prevent something from breaking AFTER it has broken?

Why can I never find something I KNOW I put somewhere that “made sense” until the moment when I’ve bought a replacement and thrown away that packaging?

When you are trying to lose weight, and you gain weight back and then lose it again, does that “lose it again” amount count to the total number of pounds you have lost?

Why is it always me who manages to step in the cat “mess” on the floor?

Why do I always need something that I’ve kept for AGES but finally threw out 2 weeks ago?

Should I spend a lot of money and buy another popup canopy (see question 1) or is that just good money after bad (having bought the cheapest possible ones in the past)?

How do I throw out a garbage can if the garbage collection didn’t collect it along with all the other bulk trash?

Why do the stars shine, why does the ivy twine, why is the sky so blue, why do fools fall in love? All great musical questions.

๐Ÿ™‚

I Am Understood

My new dishtowel

It’s very good to have people who REALLY understand you. My sister ‘gets’ me. She gave me a prezzie this weekend that she’d picked up for me on a trip. I showed it to my husband, who grinned his wonderful grin and laughed. Yep, he ‘gets’ me too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Last night he came home with FOUR bottles for me.

Cruising NJ

D&R canal, taken from the towpath in Lambertville, NJ

By now you’ve probably realized that I like driving about NJ, especially when the weather is warm enough for the red convertible with the top down! I took a week of vacation in September, just before Rosh Hashanah. I convinced my sister that she needed to join me in our car when I went cruising. “Our car” requires an explanation before she jumps in here. ๐Ÿ™‚ It is true – the car is part of our inheritance from our mother. Yep, our 80+ year old mother drove a red convertible. Obviously we both wanted the car once my mother stopped driving, so we put both of us down as owners. The truth is that we each have the car for approximately half the year. I have it from April through October, and my sister has it November through March when it is wintering in her garage. *grin* What? You don’t think that is equitable? *shrug* Works for me!

Beautiful purple berries along the towpath

Back to the storyline here… My first day off we decided to head to New Hope, PA to check out the fun stores there and have lunch along the Delaware. To get to New Hope we pass through Lambertville, NJ first. Lambertville has lots of fun stores and restaurants as well. We made a sudden decision to stop there first. I made the last possible turn before heading over the bridge to PA. We parked the car on one of the main streets and began to walk.

D&R canal, from Bridge St, Lambertville NJ

We didn’t get very far. We were parked in the first spot from the corner. We turned the corner and we were at the 5 and Dime, also known as A Mano Galleries. Quoting from their website: “A Mano, Contemporary Craft Gallery, in Lambertville, NJ,  is known for its unique collection of jewelry, pottery, home decor, hand-painted furniture and local artisans.  We carry products for men, women and children, specializing in American crafts.” This store is SO MUCH FUN!!!! It was like being at some of our favorite craft shows. As you know, there have not been any craft shows inside or out since the beginning of March. Walking into the 5 and Dime was like coming home. It was filled with all sorts of fun and beautiful items, functional and decorative, things that could be worn, things you could sit on, things you could display. I have no idea how much time we spent there. I DO know how much money I spent, because I fell in love with a hand-made copper and metal watch. I love watches. I’m not one who lives with her cell phone in one hand. I like to put it away and use it when I need to do something. I’d much rather have a beautiful watch on my wrist for checking time. And now I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sounds like my life ๐Ÿ™‚

We were laughing and chatting with the proprietor, Carla Riley. Her personality alone made being there worthwhile. Besides my watch I found a robe. I mention this because I’ve been needing a new robe for months, if not longer. Nothing I saw in the department stores appealed enough to buy. I love this robe. This is exactly the robe I wanted – a floral pattern, the right length, the right material. As we all say nowadays – “it” must bring you joy. This robe brings me joy LOOKING at it, and even more wearing it. Joy is good. I also found a sign that now hangs in my breakfast room. It seemed to summarize my life quite well.

Bull’s Run Recreaction Area, Raven Rock, NJ

We cruised about a few more shops, including a thrift store. I believe my niece now has a nice pair of boots. ๐Ÿ™‚ One of the requirements for lunch was that the restaurant must serve cocktails. Many restaurants had been recommended to us, but only one met the cocktail requirement – Lambertville Station. They were set up for outdoor dining (including having moved the ‘front desk station’ outside. We got a table outside, along the canal. (The Delaware & Raritan Canal is between the Delaware River and the NJ shore line.) We had a lovely lunch, then strolled back to the car, walking along the canal tow path. Many private properties border the tow path, with beautiful gardens, and porches. Most are screened from passersby by trees, hedges and fences, but you catch tantalizing glimpses as you walk.

From the pedestrian bridge, Lumberville, PA, looking South towards NJ (Bull’s Island)

We did indeed finally drive over the bridge into PA, but we weren’t hungry and we were “shopped out” so we kept driving. I recreated my June escape, crossing back to Stockton, NJ at Dilly’s corner, and then heading north on Rt. 29 to Bull’s Island Recreation Area in Raven Rock. I showed my sister the lovely green area along the canal, and we went out on the foot bridge. She loved it as much as I do. As daughters of an engineer, we are both fascinated by locks and enjoyed reading the details. After that we tried to “get lost” in Hunterdon county. *grin* I had a paper map in the car (we also both LOVE maps) and I told her to navigate us home without getting on any road that had more than 2 lanes. There were definitely times I was humming the theme to Deliverance because some of the roads we found were, well, less than 2 lanes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ultimately we made it home (safely) and agreed it had been a great day.

Delaware River, looking north, NJ on right, PA on left

September Shore Trip

Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk

My sister and I snuck in one last trip down the shore while it was still (nominally) summer. There was a craft show and farmers’ market down in Ocean City, NJ. One of my favorite artists/vendors was going to be there and I wanted to see if she had any new tops for me. I was taking the whole week off as vacation, so driving the 2 hours to Ocean City was do-able.

It was a tiny market, but Gretchen was there. My sister and I both ‘scored’ new tops, as well as some new face masks, and some produce. The market is only a few blocks from the boardwalk. We moved the car closer and walked up. Ocean City has a HUGE boardwalk, with marked lanes. It designates direction, and lanes for bicycles and for joggers. It was quite impressive. Of course I have to add that the vast majority of folks on the boardwalk were NOT following the lanes. ๐Ÿ™‚ On the other hand, there weren’t that many of us that it was a problem. Although the calendar said summer, it felt more like early fall, it was the middle of the week, so folks were either at work, school or doing some fall activity. You can see that there were still hardy souls enjoying the sun, sand and surf.

We strolled the boardwalk, people-watching and stopping into some of the stores that were open. Many stores and restaurants were closed, both because of the season and because of the pandemic. We had lunch outside at a small restaurant. Everyone had masks except when eating. There was a lovely breeze off the water and warm air despite the clouds. We decided to splurge on dessert and go find an open ice cream stand. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yum!

Can you see the rabbits under the bush?

There is wild life down the shore, despite all the people. We had a lot of fun watching the rabbits. I don’t know what variety of rabbits they were, but there were a lot. Amazing how 2 grown women can act like young children who have never seen a rabbit before. We watched them for quite awhile, taking lots of pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a bunny!!!!!

Is that a jack rabbit? Looks big to be a bunny.

Other than lunch and our farmers’ market purchases, there wasn’t too much that tempted us in the way of souvenirs. One store was selling “mask chains”. These are the same concept as eye glass holders – a necklace that lets you remove your glasses/mask from your face, but leave them hanging around your neck for easy access. When we went in to check on this, they were sold out. That was a little disappointing as we’d been dropping and replacing our masks all day as we strolled about, getting close to others, and then being socially distanced.

Fun for all ages!

On previous trips my sister and I have gotten matching ankle bracelets, and other little souvenirs. We saw a shop with the same kind of chains as our ankle bracelets. We stopped by to check out the chains, and began chatting with the proprietor. We mentioned the mask necklace and he told us he could make them for us, that he had some already. We each picked out the beads we wanted and he made them right there, for considerably less than the other store was charging for the ones they DIDN’T have. (That reminds me of a joke. Mrs. G went to the fish store looking for a “nice piece of cod”. Mr. R, The proprietor, said “Here it is, $7/lb.” Mrs. G exclaimed “SEVEN dollars? Mr. Y up the block is only charging FIVE dollars a pound!” Mr. R. said “So go buy from Mr. Y.” Mrs. G. replied “Mr. Y is out of cod.” Mr. R. said “When I’m out of cod, I only charge $5/lb as well.” *grin* I LOVED that joke when I was young and first discovered it.)

October Garden

There is a rule that I have learned to follow: Never Blog When You Are Angry. I’ve actually passed through Frustration, Anger, Resignation and I think perhaps I’ve reached Indifference. All in only 3 days! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know I don’t quite have the right frame of mind to write about hiking in Sedona. My choices were food or flowers. I decided to share the last flower photos from October.

Some of the flowers simply knock my socks off with their beauty. That pink & white closeup is of one of the Cosmos. Then there is the splendor of a stand of goldenrod.

The bugs seem to agree with me that Butterfly Weed is wonderful, but they prefer eating it to viewing it. I’m told those bugs are something like “leaf stripper” or “spine stripper” or something. I couldn’t bring myself to do a bug search. I started but was creeped out totally by the pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a Fall Surprise! There was something growing in one of my big pots. It had wintered over. No sign of flowers but looking at the leaves, and the pot it was in, I was sure it was a flower. I waited all spring, then all summer, took off for Arizona – still no flower. At one point I’d even cut back some of the stalks since there were no flowers. I came back from vacation and there were FLOWERS! Purple with a yellow center. I think they must be some sort of mum. They are a welcome surprise and oh so pretty!

I hope you enjoy these pictures. Today is rainy and cold. Tomorrow is more rain all day and temperatures dropping into the 30s at night. That means if I’m going to bring in any plants, I need to do it now, in the rain. Sigh. Only the succulents. I’m giving up on all the others. And I’m NOT bringing in the succulent with those long, dark, HURTFUL spikes!!!

False Starwort


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