Sunday, January 14, 2018

Winter Blues



The last time I had bronchitis was 22 years ago, when I dragged myself into a walk in clinic, at 9 pm.  I was so sick I didn't even want a cigarette. The nurse said, 'take a deep breath" and the best i could do was a little squeaky thing.  "erk".   "Wait right here," she said, and came back with three prescriptions.

Walking pneumonia, she said. Go home,  stop smoking.  Never had another cigarette, but I spent the next month sleeping at the kitchen table, tending the stoves (not much changes),  and reading.  And learning to not smoke.

This time another new walk in clinic,  and three prescriptions (not much changes)  and this time I managed to give this to my husband too (generous woman that I am) and  I am exploring the mysteries of inhalers and such.  We may live.

I'm not sure if being surrounded by children for six hours on Christmas Day is worth the fallout.

However, I have progressed from sleeping 18 hours a day to sleeping 4 or 5.  The stoves are happy to see me, and I no longer feel as if Im wearing earplugs. Nor do my ears shriek when I cough.  Life, if not perfect, is getting better.

And the days, they're getting longer all the time.  There is that.

So much for Driver's Ed



This is just chilling, when you really think about the possibilities:

Driverless cars

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Nap time on a cold winter's day




It's been that kind of week...


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday 13 in memory of Sue Grafton

 
Z is for the title she never got to

  1. Zero
  2. Zymurgy
  3. Zither
  4. Zephyr
  5. Zenana
  6. Zipper
  7. Zigzag
  8. Zloty
  9. Zoo
  10. Zebra
  11. Ziggurat
  12. Zanzibar
  13. Zarathustra

Monday, January 1, 2018

Sometimes it's not the destination, but the journey


If you love/enjoy what you do,  someone, somewhere, will invariably comment, "I admire your enthusiasm, but I'll never understand what you see in...(insert appropriate enthusiasm/madness)"

For some, it's hiking. Not just the easy lopey striding stroll in the woods, nope, it's UP the mountain and DOWN the damn mountain, and invariably there's a place "I've always wanted to see" and getting there involves crampons and ropes...

For others, the lure of bicycling;  we have friends who  live on a reasonably distant and reasonably steep bit of land (not unlike ours) and once or twice  a year they like to drop in.  It's "only" 20 miles, and half of that each way is uphill.

We won't even go into the Mt. Everest folks.

Or the people who have followed the Appalachian Trail from Mt. Katahdin in Maine, to Georgia.  In one year.  2200 miles.

Farming.   It's utterly dependent on weather, insects, blights, and What To Do When the Cows Get into the Pole Beans...

For a few thick skinned people, it's the Polar Bear Club. Ambulances at the ready, they strip down, wave at the cameras, and plunge, howling, into the frigid January waters of coastal New England. The only thing that prevents ice from forming on the ocean here is the heavy surf and the high salt content. That, and people crashing into it in mid-January.

I was considering our own form of madness this morning at 3 AM, while I was goosing three stubborn woodstoves into  giving out more heat;  at -15 F outside, and it looks to be that for the next six years (oh where is global warming when you need it),  and a foot or more of frozen snow outside--and we have been doing this for 40+ years.  Add to that the ridiculous amount of work to get from tree to stove, one stick at a time.  All of it, because of a reward.  For us, it's being able to live here year round without depending on an oil truck and an oil burner (and the electricity) to make it all go.  And being reasonably self-sufficient, heat wise, to do that.  Quite frankly, you just do not get the intense satisfaction of cozying up to  baseboard heating on a chilly day.  It's just there.

And  beyond that, I suspect the same hidden drive that propels people onto rope bridges dangling over steep ravines, or bike tours from one side of the country to the other; or even stamp collectors, intent on collecting all the stamps issued for Bosnia Herzegovina.  Because we want to, because we can, because it gives us an incredible amount of personal satisfaction--not in the end game, necessarily, but in the trip to get there.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Z is for Zero...or Zoo...or Zenana



but we'll never know, now.

Sue Grafton died this week, and while I never knew her, I followed her novels, letter by letter, from the first, "A is for Alibi" all the way down the alphabet to "Y".   And I shall miss her and Kinsey Milhone, her main character in 25 novels.  That, in itself, is no mean feat.

http://beta.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-sue-grafton-obit-20171229-story.html

Friday, December 29, 2017

Good Advice


My dad was not an easy man to live with: bipolar and a sociopath,  he was also far more intelligent than his background would allow for.  And now and then he would get it right, advice-wise.

One of my tasks growing up was working alongside my parents in the blueberry field, cutting brush and poisoning out things like poplar and raspberry canes.  One day he planted me in front of what was about an acre of hundreds and hundreds of poplar shoots, all of them no more than four feet high, and told me to start clearing them out.  One. At. A. Time. Cut, poison, cut, poison, cut, poison, each tiny stub.   I would cut a few, straighten up, sigh, and stare out at the endless sea of these things.
After awhile I suspect it began to get on his nerves, this whiney child, snipsnipsnip sigh snip snip snip sigh.
And he gave me the best advice I have ever gotten, for getting through long tedious things.
"Never look ahead to see how much is left," he said. "Focus on what's right in front of you, and nothing more. But now and then, look back, to see how far you've come.  You'll be amazed at how
much easier it is when you do that."

And he was right.

Life, it turns out, is loaded with mindless, seemingly endless tasks, the  kind you have to do,  but with this advice they turn out to be not so endless, and ultimately you have a large mowed piece of lawn, or a much smaller pile of logs (and a corresponding larger pile of stove wood) or even a shoveled driveway.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Keeping up with the Joneses (T13)




Jack Jones

Shirley Jones

James Earl Jones

Tommy Lee Jones

Tom Jones

Mother Jones

Davy Jones

Jennifer Jones

Spike Jones

Nora Jones

Quincy Jones

John Paul Jones

George Jones

Monday, December 25, 2017

One nice thing about snow...



is, when it happens on Christmas day and you are supposed to go somewhere
instead of Somewhere being at your house, you can opt out for almost any reason
you can think of that has "snow' in the excuse. 



 And if you do brave the blizzard, well, you get extra stars for that.




Sunday, December 24, 2017

When it rains it pours...

and then the temperature drops





Saturday, December 23, 2017

Window Casings, Curtain Rods, Curtains Too (6WS)


Somehow making curtains
has segued into, "honey can I borrow
your drill bits?", fiinding the ladder
and the tape and the hammer and the
screws and screwdriver to
construct a temporary window casing
which will magically be hidden
by the curtain I haven't finished yet
and I am more pleased with that
than anything I can think of
since it also involves repurposing
an old bureau drawer that no longer
has a bureau...and I will finally
be able to get rid of an ugly
pot rack which I never liked anyway.

Six Word Saturday

And Merry Whatever, y'all.  🙌🎄

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This old house in retrospect

We've done what we can.

We managed to salvage this house 45 years ago from a certain slide into rubble, and it has served us well.

When we moved up here we had been married, incredibly, only 4 years.  (My mother nearly had hysterics when she realized we meant it)  We both had basic survival skills and the willingness to let go of preconceived ideas of comfort (laughing hysterically over that one), and were willing to compromise on NOW wth the carrot-on-the-stick of LATER.



 This was a photo Rods grandmother took, in 1968.  "My Home" it said on the back. Four years later we moved up there. We listened to wiser heads and bought a very inexpensive old trailer to live in while we did the heavier renovations.  It was stationed directly across the driveway, and lasted for four years. This was a side view (right side of the photo below)  We added the porch when we redid the siding.

My husband said, not long ago, I cannot believe we actually rebuilt the foundation UNDER the house.  Or a new shed because the old one was beginning to (literally) sway in the wind.   A lot of things we did were major renovations (new roof, carrying timbers,  siding, porch, new windows) not to mention wiring, plumbing,  a kitchen, restored chimneys and a garden. Internal walls, ceilings, a full kitchen. Eventually running water and a real bathroom (don't ask).  The house is an L shape,with two long sides, which is why it looks lopsided at the roof edge.


this is what a house looks like with no foundation under it and yes, you could see sunsets that way--we were also working on the chimney, as well.  

I learned how to make a load of hay,  how to deal with a garden, mix cement,  how to deal with wildlife (mostly just take pictures and be vewwy vewwy quiet--so as  not freak the poor critters out),  how to plow the driveway, build a stone wall,  split wood and stack it.  and understand the 'why' of when it fell over. Aha, she says, One mistake I won't make again...we each brought our growing up skills along as well (I could build brushpiles and burn them flat without blinking, he could use a chainsaw and drive  a tractor) , and figured out the rest of it as we went.   I became a passable carpenter and am still amazed at  how much you can do with a skillsaw and hand planes, and he now knows how to navigate a grocery store and keep a fire going in the stove.

I've never regretted a bit of it. And we've both learned a lot about leaving things too long, or  fixing the tiny hole so it won't become a huge hole.  The nature of the beast up here is proactive. Fix the wobble now,  or the wheel will fall off when you need it the most.  Getting up at 6 a.m. to find there is no fire in the stove and the dog's water dish is frozen solid is something you only want to encounter once. After that you get up in middle of the night and feed those stoves.   It grows you up very fast.

And not long ago we both realized that if we hadn't moved up here when we did, in five years the  house would have slid too far south and collapsed. The bedrock under this house is apparently on a southern tilt, and any structure, from a house, shed or barn to a compost bin or fence, will eventually tilt or lean or drift in the same direction.   We even had the power company replace a power pole in the yard because it had begun to lean south as well, and since it was the pole nearest the house,   at some point it would overbalance...and now, ten years later, the new pole is beginning that same southern tilt.  Sigh.

It's like a moveable feast. No matter what you do, something, somewhere, is creeping up behind you, ready to fall or drip or come undone at 2 AM, or come down with a crash and the dreaded tinkle of broken window...

But the day is thundering toward us when this old house will be somone else's old house (with all those wonderful restrictions in the Conservation Easement),  and even though I know and like the people involved,  I also know that there is nothing they will do  here, for whatever reasons, that I will approve of.   Being aware of that helps, immensely.  When I leave here, whether I'm driving or being carried out,  I don't want to know what they do, what they plan to do, or see the cool pictures.  No, please, no.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Time, gentlemen ( T13)


Waiting for...

a phone call
the pot to boil
the other shoe to drop
the check, please
the last taxi
the light to change
inspiration
the lights to come back on
Xmas morning
the rain to stop
the snow to start
the doors to open
everyone to go home


Thursday 13

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

If this keeps up...

There will be four actors left in Hollywood, no producers and damn few "celebrities"

Trouble is, once something like this gets rolling, it's hard to tell who really belongs on the bandwagon and who just hitched a ride because they like the attention. 

It becomes a judgement call, about what constitutes harassment, or flirting, or affection, or accidental bumps in the hallway,  and what started out as mutual but apparently went bad quickly is now one person's way of getting revenge (and don't some people  have LONG fishing rods when it comes to revenge) 3 or 5 or even 10  years later.  I think the magic word is "perspective". 

My perception of  rape, or groping, or affection, will be vastly different than someone else's. It has to do with your age, your comfort zone, and your sense of self . 

I applaud those women who come forward, it takes a lot of courage to do that, to admit that they were treated this badly.  I just hope it doesn't become a feeding frenzy for disgruntled women who were denied movie roles, or raises, or were fired or never called back for a second interview--or were turned down if THEY made the first move.

Part of the problem is that women have been taught to be polite, to 'respect their elders' and those in a position of authority.   My mother always said,  'listen to the doctor, he knows what's best".  No, mother, not always.  We have to unlearn that kind of teaching when confronted with something that makes us queasy, or uncomfortable.  We have to learn to say "no" as if we mean it.

"No" is one of the hardest things to say, for a woman. Not "I don't THINK so..." or "not really" or "not now" or "probably not..."  all of those mean "no" to any woman, but they mean "maybe" to a man.  Saying "no" without qualifiers feels abrupt, brusque, and rude.   Saying it to someone who has the power to hire or fire you sounds like instant career suicide, and often is--he knows it, too, and uses that as a lever. 

One word. That's all it takes. No drama, no whiney sounds.  Just a good, solid "NO."  and leave. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Change? Again?

Change is not necessarily a good thing, especially when it comes to your overly enthusiastic besties at the bank.  Every time they implement a fun new way to update, upgrade, and simplify your accounts it ends up in a puddle where the freezer used to be.

We have been presented with an updated version of online banking which leaves me cold and trembling.  I have no idea what, or why, and I do wish they'd stop.

I can see that sooner or later we will be receiving one of those plain brown wrapper type envelopes that you always have to retrieve from the trash because...oh wait...you don't suppose...and sure enough they have sent you a new debit card.  Artfully hidden in a throwaway envelope that looks like it came from Mutual of Osaka...


Friday, December 15, 2017

Sanctuary


It means different  things to diferent people,  sometimes as large as a 30 acre estate or halfway house or church, sometimes as small as a child's bed where they burrow into blankets and dream.  It's a kind of Safe Place, not necessarily from danger,  but personal.

A place where all your tools or toys or dreams are kept in one area. No one disturbs them.

I've never been much for personal rooms, since the house I live in is as much an overall personal space for me as anything--but even my bedroom at home was far from a sanctuary, since Mother invaded it regularly, snooped in my bureau, read my diaries.  It was my space,  but in name only.

And I've always wondered at people who have untouchable spaces,  sewing rooms, or craft areas, or even tool sheds or home offices.  This summer I found mine, and never realized it until recently.  It's sort of a movable feast, and right now it's a sewing place in the dining room. Sewing machine, ironing board,  the dining room table covered with a thin rug to keep it from scratches since it's my temporary cutting table.  Light, heat, storage, space.



Now I get it. When you enter that space, you claim it as yours. You know where everything is, and why it's there.  My husband's workshop is that way, he has chisels and carpenter's planes there that go back to his grandfather's time,  as well as his own stuff.  He can walk out there, and say,  did you use one of my screw drivers today?  He doesn't mind, but he knows immediately if it's missing or moved.

Do you have a space like that, that works  for you?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Burning the Chia Pet (Thursday 13)

Sunday Afternoon

bigger than it looks, it's about 8 feet high and maybe 16 feet across


Monday morning

 annnnd then it snowed, now  we can burn
 always into the wind, never with it
burns much cleaner that way  
and you're not so apt to annoy the trees at the edge of the forest 
 notice the photos are being shot from further away,  lol


 this is my favorite shot, that tongue of fire...


Monday afternoon
took about three hours from start to finish

I am, by the way, ridiculously pleased with the way this thing burned.  I think it's the best one yet.

Thursday13

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sometimes the right hand thinks it's a left foot

Our electric company (who outdoes itself in customer service) has come up with the kind of program that sounds, at first read, like a good idea. 

Then you read it again and realize that maybe....not...

They are now in the process of implementing a program that will enable them to contact you in email or text when you have a power outage. So you are aware that you HAVE a power outage.

I can just see someone firing up the computer after the lights come back on, to find a message from the power company, informing you that there's a known outage in your area and it should be restored in about three  hours.  "Aha" you say, "that explains why the lights wouldn't work" 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

o boy it's snowing


o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing
o boy it's snowing













ookayyyy enough of that.  Can we have spring, now?