Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 12 1994

Twenty-four  years ago tomorrow I was planning on being in a murder mystery play called "Death By Chocolate" put on by a local theater group.  I had a cold and a vicious cough, but I wanted to do this badly. 

That night it was cold, snowy, and I was determined (hacccckkk hackkkk gasssppppgassspp) to go.  Got into town and could not find the building; never having been there I wasn't even sure what it looked like.  I felt dreadful. 

Turned around, finally, and came home.  By 9 that night I was having to stand up and bend over to cough, and I was so sick I didn't even want a cigarette.  A new walk-in clinic had just opened up and I told my husband I think we need to get me there.   These were the days  before emergency room walk ins. 

The nurse took one look at me, said, take a deep breath.  "urk".   "I'll be right back," she said, and came back with three prescriptions and a 'starter kit" for the night.  "you have fluid around the lungs. Walking pneumonia, basically.  Go home, give up smoking, and you'll be fine."

For three weeks I slept at the kitchen table with a blanket wrapped around me and a pillow on the table, and I considered my options.  My biggest fear as a smoker had finally come home.  So I quit.  Did it in manageable bites.  Played games with it.  I had smoked for 32 years, so I made my first goal 32 hours.  Second goal, 32 days.  Next one, 32 weeks.  By then I was sailing, and I knew I'd made it. 

The key, for me, was not talking about it to anyone. Not even my husband.  When you do that, you build up all the juices that go into drinking, or smoking, or whatever you're trying to give up. The brain says, oh, man, let's have just one...He didn't mention it until the next spring, and then he sort of snuck up on it.  By then, it was okay.

24 years later, and Im still okay.  But every now and then when my guard is down,  I get that urge...

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

oh, please

Yesterday I ("dear friend") received a two page "letter' from our Republican Senator wannabe's wife.  Nicely worded, nicely typed, nice use of script font.    She stressed his family devotion, how his face lit up when he smiled, and how she got all wiggly inside (my words not hers) when he first looked at  her and smiled. 
How wonderful a daddy he was. 

This was a girl-to-girl letter, and I know it was meant to impress me as a female that he was just the man for the job.  Navy Vet,  lawyer.  Police Chief. 

Not a WORD about his affiliation, or his voting record, or his political leanings.  After all, the cynic in me purrs,  what woman would be interested in all THAT? 

And today I go out to vote elsewise.  Im sure he's a lovely man, good to dogs and kids and old ladies, but not this time, Im afraid. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

'Tis time

Tonight we swap the clocks out,  and I can assure you  no one is more pleased about this than my big old oofy cat, charlie, who gets up when I do and insists that dark is not a problem, and I insist that I have no wish to see him (or hear him) being consumed by a coyote, fisher cat, or whatever is out there that eats cats.

The house rule is, if I can't see the trees, he doesn't go out.

Enough, already

this occurred to me months ago when the first school shootings happened, and I keep thinking of it, every time another mall, or drive in, or church is attacked:  less publicity means less copycat crimes.

Years ago if a child committed suicide, one of the things the local papers did, was play it down.  sometimes not even mention cause of death for several days.  It was a policy among news people that suicides and out of control killers  would go unrecorded for a certain length of time, to keep other people from thinking,  "hey, I could do that too". 

I just get this image of  gun soaked Angry Men watching the videos, and the news, and the flashing lights and sirens and thinking, "oh wow. That is so cool...I'm gonna get me some ammo..."

It isn't news, it's pandering.  It's drawing readers, but since anyone, anywhere, can read this stuff online, you now get the news from all over the country, where before it was mostly local and brief. 

Too much information, and too many vulnerable people reading about it.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

We Get Too Many Political Calls Anyway


in thinking it over
I have decided
that a republican voting democratic
is far more interesting
than changing my affiliation
especially in a republican
straight ticket ('by jesus, my dad
voted straight republican
all his life, and it never hurt him none")
state where everyone assumes
you vote not only the party
of choice, but you vote the way
your spouse does, just because.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Author author

Still trudging through the land of once-read books, I've probably taken 15 cartons to the Salvation Army this year alone.  Im finishing off P.D.James (if she doesn't finish me off first), and it's obvious I hadn't read all the books of hers I had, and many of them apparently were snatched up at book sales but never gotten into. 

In reading and sometimes rereading older or former mystery authors, I am often struck by the progression they make from first book to last.  By the time I finished off Sue Grafton (and it was a pleasant  eye opener, reading her books in order all at once), I realized that she had populated her last book with entirely too many characters and I was simply awash in them.  But she stays.  However...

In her later books, PD James is doing the same thing.  She's got sub plots and main plots and two or three families, way more dead bodies than most serial killers ever thought of,  and has also committed the major writer's crime of introducing a new wrinkle near the end,  and without that the whole business  would collapse.   I am going to miss Adam Dalgleish,  however.  =(

security on the hoof

When I go into my local bank, the teller looks at me, smiles, and says, you don't need your passbook number, I've seen you in here before...and gets me the money I ask for.   Not sure that's comforting or scary.

However, when I go into a (free)game site online I am confronted with enough cyber locks and red flags to make me give up in despair.  I tried to access an older site this morning, forgetting that my old email address which was on the screen  is not my current one, and when I mindlessly  typed in the password,  you could almost see the security guards snap to attention.

Oh dear. Intruder Intruder.

I had to explain that it had been a few years, and this was  my new email addy, and they responded generously by saying they would have to have their security team review it.  Safety, you know.

I think I've seen the last of that gamesite.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Time Traveler

Not so much forward or backwards, more...sideways...

If I had those days back that I miss every single damn week by now I'd proably have enough to bundle together and make an extra month. 

I really thought this was Wednesday, until I saw a Thursday 13 post and thought, oh. Right.
I lost last Saturday too, (probably out somewhere cavorting with the previous week's Tuesday), which basically threw this week into a sieve as far as continuity goes, and when my husband said, wow this week is almost over I thought, he's really rushing it--oh wait--

Now I understand why my mother, in her last year at home kept a methodical calendar on the wall with each day of the month carefully filled in with red crosses.  I asked her why, and she said, "that way I don't have to worry which day it is..."  I suddenly understand exactly why, now.  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Just a thought, and a scary one

Unless something majorly intelligent happens, there is a good chance that our president will decide that we don't really need a two party system, and abolish it. or at least try to.

He is slowly and steadily stacking the decks all over the place, and while Im not sure if he CAN abolish the system, he just might think he can. And of course, if he thinks he can, well, by gosh and by golly, someone with more brains than he knows how to use will figure out  how to do it for him.

I've been a (relutctant) (lazy) Republican all my life, and cannot recall the last time I voted anything but Democratic. Methinks it's about time to get out from under.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

some words are just fun to say Thursday13











early warning system



Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bits and Pieces

Strangest mushrooms  I've ever seen. and they keep dying off and regrowing

Been trying to get this shot all summer, I love the look of this, all those leaves cascading over one another...

My new kitchen counter (window frame to come) with two lovely wide shallow drawers, and the perfect  place for bread making   Underneath the counter is the woodbox area I've always wanted,  handy to the stove, out of the way of everything.  I even have it on rollers, so I can pull it out without doing serious damage to the rug or me...

Charlie the guard cat.  He seems to have chosen his role as Guard, he will sit on the front step or the back step for hours,  sweeping the field like a fuzzy little beacon, baack and forth...

And this, if you look closely, is a perfectly formed apple that has been placed on the chinese chestnut branch, ever-so-carefully,  waiting for whomever placed it there.  We checked the next day and it was gone.  The apple tree this came from is about 50 yards away. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Well damn now Im hungry T13

Aunt Lizzie's Nice Cake




chocolate cake

three layer coconut cake with butter cream frosting


johnny cake

applesauce cake

angel cake

devil food's cake

mayonnaise cake

lemon cake


Mayonnaise cake, recipe.  It really just looks like a regular chocolate cake

acrobat squirrel

Happy happy squirrel.  He managed to work his way up the pear tree and after nearly braining himself on a branch, reached this: 

Notice the size of the pears relative to the size of the squirrel...his effort paid off, and he hurried home with one firmly clenched in his teeth.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Grapes of Wrath

I was planning on a major grape harvest this year, since the stuff I picked last fall turned out so well as jelly.  All summer I've been admiring the bounty, waiting for them to ripen.  Right.

Tonight I went out to murmur words of encouragement at them, and found most of them (and there were a LOT) gone. Not fallen to the ground, just--gone.

I know grapes are one of nature's foods, and a lot of critters eat them.  But the biggest eater I can think of is my favorite rodent, The Pear Eating Squirrel.  That little grey (insert expletive of your choice) squirrel has been systematically stripping My Grapes, and I am left with several sad bunches of green ones. 


Not sure what to do, short of teaching my cat to hunt squirrels--and judging from the lack of interest on his face, I don't think that's gonna happen.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Piano come, piano go

It was time.

I finally realized that it wasn't the piano that I loved, it was the idea of it. That maybe someday I would progress beyond "London Bridge" with both hands, and that heart stopping pause at "my fair ladyyyyy" while I searched for those nasty high notes way over there.

That maybe I could play something ELSE.

But yesterday I looked in Google and sure enough there are enthusiastic piano demolishers, giving very good advice on how to remove the 8 million screws and not to mess with the harp in the back or you could behead yourself and the neighbor's cat at the same time...

And this morning I ferreted  out four screw drivers and vise grips, and dug in.  (before you scream in horror, it turns out that no one and I do mean no one wants a piano like this.  They can't give them away, even with the promise of a cash reward.  All those middle aged pianos, and all anyone wants is a guitar)  So...

If you've ever wondered, this is what a piano looks like with the keyboard out, the hammers gone.  That thing in the back is called the 'harp" and it hummmmms at me even when I walk into the room, like a large friendly beast.  

Took three hours, one husband for the rough bits, and most of his extensive tool collection.  He is out now getting pizza and the one screwdriver head he never had and always wanted.  

Im also planning to use the wood (which is lovely) for something else, in another project I haven't come up with yet.  

The keys are entirely wood with thin thin bits of ivory on top, and as someone said, the elelphant died for this a hundred years ago, it's too late to what I dont reuse will be kindling.  Not sure what the entire thing is made of, the side pieces look like curly maple, and I suspect it may be a collection of several different kinds of wood.  

and oh joy in the morning I can reclaim an entire corner of this room that I have never even seen.  

Thursday, August 30, 2018

the ins and outs of T13

1. In hot water

2. out of time

3.  in the family way

4.  out by dark

5.  in. other words...

6.  you'll put your eye out

7.  taking it all in stride

8. out of countenance

9.  in for the long haul

10.  out of pocket

11.  in more ways than one

12.  out for delivery

13.  in another life

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Stiil Life with Pear

Finally caught our resident grey squirrel on camera:  we sit on the porch in the late afternoon and watch him rodent-handle fallen pears nearly as big as he is, eating them down until they're light enough to drag up the tree. 

 This has been going on for days, ever since the old pear tree has been dropping fruit. 

The quality could be better but I was shooting from behind the screen, so as not to distract  him:
but if you squint, you can see him gripping what's left of his breakfast pear

he's got the last of it in his mouth and moving very fast, so he's a bit streaky...happy squirrel 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It's been a long happy ride, but...

Bit by bit the car has been dying.  I no longer feel comfortable about driving it anywhere, so yesterday we called (sob) the car guys and either today or tomorrow they will be coming for it.

I feel like a betrayer.  I cleaned it out, found a small but hopeful mousenest in the back seat,  found about 75 cents under the seats, later I'll go through the wad of stuff that was in the glove box. 

On the bright side, they will probably be giving us a check for nearly $400 dollars.  And when I canceled the insurance on it,  they said they will be sending us a rebate check now and taking the car off the next policy statement. 

I feel like I just sold my puppy to the Dog People.

Sunday, August 19, 2018


This started out in a totally different place, and when I started looking at these incredibly funny, charming animals, I knew they needed their own post.

wombat movie

There are dozens of You Tube videos about these little guys, all of them make Cute Kitties pale by comparison,and I LOVE Cute Kitty videos.

this is my favorite.  I want one.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Finally Gave Up My Old Car (6WS)

Somewhere, Im not sure where, is a Six Word Saturday, but I can never find it.  Soooo. I do hate to waste a perfectly good 6WS,  thrifty Yankee that I am...

Last time I started it it made a strange grindy growly noise.  In the parking lot at the grocery store, when I slowed to turn, there was a funny hesitation in the brake pedal.

Oh. Not good.

It's not had a lot of miles on it, as these things go, but they were all MY miles, and that seems to matter.  It took me to Iowa city four times, into Vermont countless times, and it always started, always stopped (which is sometimes more important, after all).  It never complained.  Hondas are like that, I know people who have  Hondas that just turned over their umpteenth hundred thousand mile mark, and they're still running.

But last year the window handle on the passenger side broke, and while the window is still in place, I expect at any point it will slide down into the well.  One good bump might do it. It has always had a back hatch leak which means when it rains, you need to move stuff back there to the right. 
It has never stalled at a light, or anywhere, for that matter.  Brave little car, never complained, and even on the most vicious days, it started right up, which is more than can be said of its owner.

I tend toward the point and click kind of purchase, and when I went in to buy one, 18 years ago, I looked at the cars and said to the salesman, "what about THAT one over there?"  took it for a drive, and brought it home. My husband was in shock for a few days,  since he's a great believer in researching everything down to the wires...

The first time I drove it somewhere I ended up coming home in a nasty blizzard,  no idea how it would handle, but it held the road, it never skidded, and I got through 30 miles of four inches an hour snow  in about two hours.  If you can fall in love with a car, I did, at that point.

I dislike intensely having to share driving  HIS car now, but I just can't see buying a new one, not with the doodads you're forced to take along with it.  So we will have to share.  (bummer)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lumbering toward autumn

Can't decide if this is the late spring rains or the early fall rains, but whatever it is, it's pretty endless.

Now and then the sky lightens a bit, and we see shadows on the ground, and like the good folks in Seattle, we get all excited about it.  Then the fog drifts in again, and we go back to whatever we were doing.

My lawn is now on the brink of hayfield, and the driveway is forming soggy places.  Even here in NH there have been flash flood warnings (our local town has three rivers that they are in the center of)  and for all of that, we do sit high and (I'd like to say 'dry', but...) not flooded.

This may be Nature's way of alerting us that August is half over, summer is no longer icumen in, and we'd better get used to it.  I can hardly wait for November, that's when the fall rains REALLY take hold...

I feel sorry, truly sorry, for the people in Pennsylvania and NJ;  this is nothing to what they're dealing with.  Can't even blame it on a hurricane.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A new rule for seniors

--for whom time tends to swirl about like damp confetti:

put all the days of the week in a hat, and draw one. The one you pick is the one you celebrate until you weary of it, and then you take another.

I could have sworn this was at least Monday (don't ask me which one, I was pretty sure it was July until I found a calendar, and oh, my wasn't that a surprise) but my husband said, quite firmly, that it was Sunday.  An August Sunday.  We both checked to be sure of the date.

There was a chance to see the Perseids last night, but they were supposed to be near dawn--and I find it's one thing to BE up before dawn, and quite another to GET up before dawn.  And since we were socked in with clouds anyway, and fog tonight, I'd say my chance not-seeing any of them will have to wait until next year.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

No regrets, no shame, no blame

We all make decisions, every day of our lives. 

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. As a kid, many of the decisions in your life are made without your knowledge,  your consent, or even, often, your approval.  You learn to adjust, or make do with the shreds of what you have left.

I was an only child.  My husband was, too.  When we got married we never really discussed having children, since I was totally unfamiliar with babies, as was he.  After four years we moved up here, and I realized almost immediately two things:  1) a young married woman who is 'childless" has no business  going to baby parties where the new baby is passed around.  As soon as you reach for the child, someone reaches in and says, "it's okay, I got her" as if she were a football and I was about to fumble the play.  Message received. 
My mother was coy about it. She would say, "well, my daughter doesn't seem to want children, so I don't pressure her..."  and since I was sitting right there, well, all eyes would turn to the poor depraved  and thoughtless girl. 

and 2) where we lived at that time was no place to bring a child along.  We were living in a house with one leaky old cook stove, no central heating, plumbing, or amenties. I hauled all the water from a dug well, all winter.  All the wash was done by hand.   I didn't have  a driver's license and we couldn't have afforded a car for me anyway.  And he was away 11 hours a day.  It was a choice we had made to live here, and a serious commitment.

That's really where the timeline for me starts.

Not a good place to be pregnant, go into labor, have the child on the kitchen floor, and then pack it up and go back to hauling wood and water. yes indeedy.

We would not be living here now if we had had kids. My mother, being the family Narcissist, would have had them in her power by the time they could form full sentences.  I was just numb enough and young enough to not really understand just how toxic she was.  And what is chilling, in looking back, every single one of my 'young men', at least the ones I was drawn to, were also serious control dudes.  It was familiar to me, obviously.  The man I married was not into control, and that has made all the difference.

If we had had children we would have been living in town,  and the house would have had to go to the highest bidder. (Read, developer.)  It would have been pulled down, the land divided into umpty-teen house lots, and the history of the place destroyed forever.   It's a revelation to realize that there is not a single thing that I can recall now that would have existed to remember.

What I'm heading for here is I have reached the 'no regrets' part of the story, and the long sigh of relief.   People tell me I've missed so much.  I agree.  Different scenario perhaps, different ending.

Our memories are about other things.  I'm cool with that.  Maybe, in the next life, I'll go down the other pant leg of time, and see how it turns out that way.  Maybe, in the next life, I get a different  mother. yowza.