Saturday, April 22, 2017

flavored water, yum

We go to such lengths to make sure our cats and dogs  have clean fresh water in nice bowls...if a spider lands in it, there are tears and screams.

Right now it's pouring rain. The driveway is a muddy hollow with lovely deep pools of  water-the-car-drives-through.  Toby is out there right now, drinking it dry. Pure, muddy, manna.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Just in under the wire (gasssp gassssp)

muffin top
mutton chop
chop shop
crop top
carrot top
rag top
black top
copper top
flip flop
flat top
Big Top

Census records

These things are a scandal, truly.  Over time I've had a chance to use them, both the 1940 records and much earlier ones.  The people who recorded this stuff could not spell, nor did they much care.  The records are sloppy, hard to read, and inaccurate as all get out.

I just checked out my father-in-law's 1940 census record, and they had him down  in three  different places married to three different women named Doris. Each last name was spelled differently, which made them three different women.  His father's middle name was spelled Carroll, Carral, and Carrall, depending on who was writing it down and who was interpreting it.

In earlier records, which used to be available to the general public,  they have amateurs interpreting the findings, and they have no idea about older names.  One of the names that got my dander up is an old Biblical name, Shuah.  The census takers got it right, but the interpreters insisted it had to be a "p" and so the name became, for all time, Spuah.  oh, please.

I fear for us all when the days of cursive READING have disappeared forever, about ten years after cursive writing has gone.  Those few people who can still figure it out will be considered wizards and brilliant and command great gobs of money, and no one will be able to tell them if they got it wrong or not.


In the 1970 census we happened to be in California at the time but  were still residents of NH.  When the form came in the mail it stated uncategorically that if you were not a resident of the state you were in, do NOT fill out the form.  Cool. We were in the middle of packing to come back anyway.

 A week later a census taker appeared at the door and insisted we MUST do this.  So we did.  When we got back to NH a month after,  there was a census form in the mailbox, and a warning that we must only take the census in our home state.  A census taker arrived soon, and we did the census all over again.  Nearly at gun point.

My mother in law, who valued her privacy deeply where the gummint was concerned, got the nice fat full census and threw it in the fire. Refused to answer all those "personal" questions.  I have never seen a full census, but apparently it's quite extensive. Maybe this next time, eh.

Monday, April 17, 2017

There's a pattern here

Last week I went to the dentist to have three teeth filled. Took about an hour.  No pain, no discomfort, lots and lots of painkiller.  This afternoon I got a call from the dentist's office, a woman with a teeny kindergarten voice, wanting to know if I was okay.
er, yeah...
well, she said, we wanted to make sure you weren't in any discomfort or pain after your procedure. Are you sure you're all right?

yes ma'am I am.

"Oh GOOD.  Have a wonderful day. 'bye."
Last week we got a brochure for a new Senior Living development, the kind of fancy place where you choose the colors,  the placement of applicances, and even the appliances themselves.  I had a friend who lived in a place like that, and I will admit they are truly lovely.  They even give you choices for counter heights.  bathroom fixtures, and (if you ask nicely) crown molding.   The prices for all of this are astonishing.  And scary.

a few months ago we were contacted by a local cleaning agency wanting to know if we would be interested in having someone come in once a week or so and clean house for us. It didn't dawn on me why, until just now.

And more often than not, now when I buy groceries they ask me if I want help putting the stuff in the car...

We are being treated as if we were Elderly.  White haired, fragile, cane-wielding, elderly.  I'm amazed Meals on Wheels hasn't gotten to us.  maybe next week.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Scary things you never want to encounter online (T13)

1.  You need to change your password or your account will be terminated

2.  This is not the correct password for this account

3.  That name has already been taken. Try again (it's my name, dammit, I used it yesterday)

4.  Booting up into a black, blank screen.

5.  The program has stopped responding. Please contact the program administrator...(we're sorry, the site is down. Please contact us using the following URL... we're sorry, that URL seems to not be working.  The site is down, Contact us using the following URL...)

6. Blue screen of death  The nice tech support man is in India and learning English one slow word at a time.  Most of what he says is accompanied by the sound of turning pages.  None of it  is intelligible.

7. We have upgraded our site, you need to change your password; (twelve letters and numbers, no two consecutive, with at least one special character. )

8. "You do not have access to this site"

9. We are a virus and we have disabled your virus program, your email, and are holding your little puppy for ransom.

10. You boot up after a long day, ready for whatever is out there, and there is no internet.  No lights are flashing. There is no online and the service guy won't be available for two days.

11.  All and I do mean all of your passwords have disappeared.  Including the ones that let you in.

12.  Your bank won't let you in, because you used the incorrect password. They suggest you visit the nearest 'live' bank, which happens to be three hundred miles away.

13. You just got a notice from a collection agency about a  product you never heard of, telling you if you don't pay your overdue bill immediately they will be attaching your house, your car, and your first born child. Turns out it's the right name, wrong state.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It doesnt have to make sense, it just is

Years ago, this little white cat named Albert became friends with all the wildlife around, from woodchucks to porcupines, and there wasn't an animal he didn't think he could be friends with--

until the day he woke at dawn and saw, from the east window, these delightful teeny deer (perspective is all, isn't it) grazing in the field.  He leaped from the bed, ran downstairs, flap went the cat door, and I saw  him walking very very fast across the lawn toward his new future friends.

As  he got closer, they got bigger. Much much bigger.  He slowed a bit, and they suddenly noticed this strange creature racing toward them.  The head doe stared at him as he got closer, and then made that 'hanh' snorty warning sound. He slowed a bit more, and then she stamped at him.  Oops.
He turned without breaking stride into a perfect U-turn and headed back to the house, ears back, now, and not happy.  Flap wemt the cat door, and baaack up the stairs, to sulk on the bed and think about this.

Since then, and that was a good 15 years ago or more, we have not had a cat that could so much as sit on the porch without causing general irritability in grazing deer.

This morning Toby and Charlie were both on the porch, and there were deer (those teeny deer again)  grazing in the same relative area--from a distance of maybe 100 yards or more--neither group had seen the other.  The Charlie stood up and stretched and heads came up.  He walked down the steps, and Toby followed.  There were several snorts and hanhs  and the cats turned and looked, and when they did, all four deer turned and flashed the white tail signal, bounding off into the woods.

My theory is, deer, like most animals, pass along information in some way to other members of the herd, and to their young. "this is good to eat, that will kill ya",  "these are safe places to feed, but not those'.  and apparently, "small unidentified furry creatures with long tails are to be avoided.  We don't know why, but they threaten us."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

ahem: T13

1. peak means a mountain peak or pointy top (as in a hat with a peak):
pique means annoyance
peek means to look, ("i took a quick peek at the first page")

2. 'role model" not "roll model" unless you are built like a muffin
and are looking for work as a bakery item

3. "I don't know, right?"  Or the abbreviated IDK?  what does this MEAN

4.  I saw someone online the other day saying he was going out to get desert.  Amazing the difference when you drop a letter or two.  You  can eat IN the desert (and dessert if you want to) and you can desert your dessert in the desert, but anyone bringing home a desert for a snack needs a really large U-Haul truck.

5. "witnesses arrived to the scene..."   I've begun seeing this more and more, and it makes
me jump every time.  You can go to something,  or arrive at  but you never "arrive to"...  Yet. Unless, in your travels, you "arrive to join the party"

6. mussel is a particularly shaped clam,  muscle is er, a muscle. not the same thing, please.   After reading a very detailed blog about the 'muscles" along the river's edge I just plain lost interest,  sadly. It's a shame when one word can kill an entire blog.  Once is a typo.  Twice is not.

7. a lot means a whole bunch. "alot"  means youre not paying atention. =)

8.  "back in the day".  I have been hearing this for years, by people who are articulate, well read, all kinds of things.  I know what it means, by why is it necessary?

9.  When in  doubt, don't  throw an apostrophe at it.  The possessive "s" is always a mystery, even to me. I have been known to march clean around the barn just to avoid the front door with the Possessive S on it.  But there are time's when you do have to wonder ju's't why anyone doe's this'.    Stop it.

10. If you don't know, look it up. There really is no excuse (and this is where Spell check DOES help) for some words--Caesar is always spelled this way, no matter how much we don't want to believe it. Rogue is not a synonym for Rouge. Trust me.  Nor is Tounge an alternate spelling for anything.

11.  "Always" is never spelled "allways".  All ways is never one word.

12. "alright" is not a word.  "all right" is.

13.  The man who invented Dunkin' Donuts (may he rest in a soggy grave for this) changed forever the way we spell doughnut, in the same way that Stephen King gave credence to 'cemetary" (if he spelled it that way it must be right, right?   Noooo.)

Thursday Thirteen

Saturday, April 1, 2017

And in other news...

this is fun.  Read all the lists, they really went all out with this one

it's april 1st and it's snowing (6ws)


just like 1997

our trusty ash barrel,  a wonderful measuring tool, as long as the wind doesn't blow. Ten inches, plus a bit over.  

this always reminds me of those winddriven photos of Mt. Washington, with the rime ice (otherwise known as horizontal icicles) sticking to the sides of everything...

this is, by the way, a woodpile. it's under there somewhere.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Last night I was awakened out of a lovely deep sleep by the sensation that I had lost not only the use of my legs but the feeling in both of them.  It was pretty scary.  I dislike sleeping on my back, since by morning, at my age, I am reduced to beached whale status and need to claw my way over to the edge of the bed before I even think about getting up.   Try telling that to an overeager bladder.

Anyway, I finally realized that I was not paralyzed from the knees down, I was trapped by a sleeping twelve pound cat draped  gloriously and enthusiastically across my ankles.  When I reached down as far as I could I encountered, not Charlie and his cloud of floaty fur, but a sleek, groomed creature and I thought, oh my stars, Toby is sleeping across my knees...Toby who rarely gets close enough to pat,
Toby who streaks through each room that has humans in it, who has only recently decided if Charlie can get brushed, well he wants some too. But only between the shoulder blades, thank you.

There he was, snoring delicately away,  all eight pounds of him, making sure my knees didn't rise up and float off, and Charlie at the bottom, protecting my ankles from the same fate. Suddenly I understood that I was going to keep that position all night, if necessary,  because, Toby.  And I did.

Then again, twenty pounds of cats  is nothing to be trifled with,  in any position.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry. RIP

He was 90.  He was amazing.


Chuck Berry the blues

Monday, March 13, 2017

If you got 'em

get the cows in and hook the chicken coop door.

Even though they insist on calling this an 'old fashioned
nor'easter" (makes it sounds like something out of granny's
attic), I think classic would be more appropriate.  It is, I admit,
kinda fun to watch as this thing plays out. And NOAA
does have some fun weather maps.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Guess what! It's 1984 and 1952 all over again! Thursday 13

1.  I worry that we might all be monitored in some fashion, very soon

2.  I have found places on the net where any news commentary concerning the Donald that is in the least critical of his actions is represented by an opening statement that has turned into an unclickable link. "oops, we can't find that. error 401"  yep.

3. Anytime I see outrage or fear or anger expressed, concerning the new admin,  I wonder how long those kinds of expressions will be allowed to continue.

4.  There is such a thing as too much power and the wrong hands wielding it. In the wrong hands, obviously, any power is too much.

5. I've been seeing several blog entries sent to me that start out obviously not in favor of this or that, politically,  click on them, and the link is broken. "File not found."  and i wonder who pulled the plug. I know, I've done the same thing at times, but rarely.  This seems to be happening more and more.

6.  We are being catapulted back to the time before women's rights were an issue, before integration, before birth control, before health clinics for abused women, and the days of "don't ask, don't tell".

7. It has become the norm to automatically praise any newspaper who resists the Donald's dubious charm/policies.  I just wonder how long those papers will continue to exist.

8.  The smirk, the sneer, the hand gestures, the wall.

9.  That auto-blame that kicks in anytime something goes wrong. "it was X who did that."  The classic sign of a Narcissitic personality.  I know, my mother was one.  If I was in FRANCE and she broke a dish, it was my fault. Trust me, she'd find a way.

10. Blaming people who are in no position to refute the claims, in order to deflect unwelcome attention about  their own bad behavior.

11. People all too willing to believe that just because he's President he must be ready for sainthood and they behave/believe accordingly.

12. Years ago we impeached a President for sexual misconduct (and folks, that kind of  'misconduct' takes two) yet this time around we elected one who brags about it.  Times do change.

13. Sweeping and all-inclusive laws that affect our personal lives, our behavior, and those of our friends, with no regard for the grey areas and the people who will be irreversibly damaged.

Thursday 13

Friday, March 3, 2017

The winter of our annoyance

I never quite understood the fascination with winter, with snow, with sub zero temps.   People actually CHOOSE to live here in Northern New England,  even if there's a choice for a balmier climate.  You know, Tennessee. Virginia.

Someone suggested to me that we did seem to obsess about wood.  As I recall, I pointed out that when you burn the stuff for close to nine months,  spend the other three or four or five cutting, splitting, stacking, and negotiating over it with wood deliverers,  it tends to crop up in convo quite frequently:

"get your wood in yet?"
"Nahh, threw my back out last week,  hard to throw wood leanin' on a cane, yep"

"How much you burn last winter, anyway?"
"Considering the early cold and the late snow,  just about everything back to the walls.  Mebbe 13 cords, mebbe less."
"Yep, now I have to it do it all over again this year..."

Possibly, too, because burning wood is such a personal experience, I mean, you're right there with it, every step of the way--if you have gas or oil the delivery truck pulls up regularly, fills the tanks  and drives away.  Your only concern is finding the checkbook. After that, it's thermostat time.

But I seriously wonder why people, when they have the chance,  move NORTH instead of South...and then are surprised, open-mouth awestruck, when they look out the window one morning to see two feet of snow.  Like, it never happened before or something...

But there are perks to all of this. One of them is watching newcomers learn how to drive sideways on icy roads.

Or explaining why the 6" of new snow doesn't just disappear in a day or two "like it does in Tennessee..."

Or showing them what a roof rake is and why you really do need to clean off that roof NOW...

I know a man who buys a new plastic shovel every time it snows, because he always forgets and puts his used shovel away once he's cleaned the driveway.  In the shed.  The one where the snow drifts in and plugs the door shut.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

My one political commentary for the year. I hope.

Without realizing what I was listening to the other night I kept hearing the Donald in speaking mode:  he sounded sincere, sonorous, convincing. What, I thought, was THAT all about. Then I recognized the speak and response rhythm when the POTUS addresses the congress once a year.

My husband is a fan, by the way. I am not.

Anyhow, the whole speech went over very well, and the next day the news people were all over themselves with exuberant praise for what a wonderful, sincere speech the Donald made, they were surprised, very encouraging, and quite willing now to believe that he has changed his tune/stripes/spots and is becoming civilized.

I has my doubts.  Anyone who has been subjected to his many moods and modes of communication will recognize this one, it's the "placate the masses" one,  intended to soothe and butter everyone up.  It was a speech, nothing more.  Even the Donald knows better than to go into Big Dude mode with Congress, and to be honest, he handled them very well.  I just don't buy it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Even the smallest steps are appreciated (6WS)

Day before yesterday I was shoveling off the kitchen roof after the second semi-blizzard in three days (and of course it's a two-fer  because once you get that roof clean you take the roof rake and drag down as much snow as you can from the main roof on two sides, giving you usually three times as much snow as you just cleaned off) and in the midst of all this I heard ravens, looked up, and there were two of them, heading off for the woods. Cruk, cruk, cruk.

And deeper into the woods, careful, tentative, a pileated woodpecker drumming out his first love letter to a prospective Mrs. Woodpecker.

At the edge of the field which is bordered by woods, chickadees, shouting at each other, establishing their own early territories for the spring.

At some point the sun will come out and something will start to melt.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

T13--ladies only--mostly

Ah, the memories:

1. full body girdles with stocking grippers (remember the dents?) to hold the nylons up

2. "are my seams straight?"

3. two inch heels for everything--even teachers, nurses and waitresses wore them

4. "mules" and yes they had heels too

5. lipstick came in two basic colors:  red and pink, and when you were 16 you were allowed some.

6. if you colored your hair (it was called "dyed" back then) you never told anyone

7. home perms with little pink plastic clips and curl papers

8. homes for wayward girls (and it was ALWAYS her fault, right)

9. dress-up to go Christmas shopping, to the movies, even to  the doctor

10. you wore blue jeans or slacks only at home and skirts to go out in public

11. I had a Golden Book (flip book), one side was "Just like Mommy" and the other side was "Just Like Daddy."  grrrr.

12. real glass in your eyeglasses

13. little metal perforated curlers with a hinge that usually pulled out a chunk of hair when you took them out

New Thursday 13

Sunday, February 12, 2017

It looks almost fake

It's been snowing since noon.  I must admit, albeit grudgingly, it is kinda pretty.  There are storms like this that make me feel that the snow is not rising, but the house is sinking.

The weather people are still arguing about just WHERE in NH this will become a blizzard and seem to have narrowed it down to two counties out of a possible er. however many there are.  What I am curious about is how they can explain to the storm that it's just supposed to turn into a blizzard in ONLY those two counties?   It would seem about as useful as shouting at ants that they're going the wrong way...

The mister is out there even now, making his first snow blower pass of the evening. He's a happy happy man.   Enclosed cab, am-fm radio, heat,  power.  Much power.  The only thing missing is a heated shower and maybe closed circuit tv.  He keeps telling me I should learn to use the BobCat,  but I suspect we would have to fight over who gets to use it first...

It does resemble one of those lithographs you used to see in old stories, all we need is a sleigh and several hungy wolves trailing behind, waiting for somebody to be thrown to them as a sacrifice...

Monday, February 6, 2017

one wish

We have a cat here named Toby;  he's about  7.  He came to us 5 years ago, with his bonded buddy Sammy.   After Sammy disappeared Toby made tentative friends with  our remaining cats but has always been numbingly frightened of humans, of hands raised (oh my god he's gonna throw something at me), or sudden moves.   When you entered a room, he would hurl himself out the door to escape. When he needed to go out or pass through the room you were in he would whiz through like greased lightning.

Since Charlie came, two years ago, Toby has settled down. he accepts us as tolerable, which means if we enter a room, he opens one eye to make sure we aren't carrying anything, and then more or less goes to sleep. He no longer gives us that deer-in-the-headlights stare.  Charlie has colonized the bed and that seems to have given Toby permission to do the same.  Sometimes he will actually brave the fact of Sleeping Humans to sleep there; we pretend not to notice.  Or move.

When I brush Charlie, now, Toby will show up too, not so much to be brushed, but for a very fleeting scratch between his shoulder blades.   Slowly, slowly, he's being assimilated.

But I have one wish, before one of us dies,  and that is to have him jump up into my lap, turn around a few times, and curl up for a nap. Not planning on it, you understand. Just somewhere near the top of my bucket list.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Town House crackers and maple syrup (6WS)

Reeeealllly gooood

just dip and eat. dip and eat. dip and--😊

Thursday, February 2, 2017


she thinks of the times spent
in quiet easy conversation
two people relaxing on a step
or leaning, the way country people do,
against the side of a pickup,
staring down at nothing
as they discuss everything

sometimes they were so easy
together people mistook them
for more than they were to each other

they were each other's cheering section
on the good days
and on the bad as well
she thinks of the way it felt
when they hugged hello
and then goodbye

some things need
no explanation or reason
or boundaries
and what it is
is just enough on both sides

my stone wall will never become
your white painted fence, she said
but never out loud

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Something for the last day of January--

--that has utterly nothing to do with weather or politics or anything but what it is.

Arlo Guthrie