Monday, August 31, 2009

Today I wrote a letter

no, i mean a real letter to a friend, on paper, words on de page, the entire thing. She sent one to me last week, because she was having trouble making her computer do what she wanted it to,
and figured it was time she remembered how to do this thing.

she bought paper, an ink pen, and a stamp. The least i could do was send her one back. I had the pen, but had to scramble for paper, and luckily had a few stamps on hand. It was interesting, seeing as how it's been nearly ten years since I sat down and actually wrote a real letter--date, salutation, the whole bit.

I was a bit nervous, not sure if i could actually form complete sentences and write at the same time (you laugh, ha ha, try it, it's not as easy as it once was), and make the lines even. It was like being nine years old again, writing to my best friend.

I am ridiculously proud of re-finding a skill I thought had been lost to the computer...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hurricane Danny

well not surprisingly we are getting the edges of this one, lots and lots of rain (always welcome this time of year) but not much wind, which is nice, too. They figure maybe three inches, and from the way it rained all night, we got that and maybe a bit more.

The mister spent yesterday and Thursday mowing, getting ready for one of our neighbors to come take the hay for his horses. It was a close thing, (it always is), but they got it baled and we helped load it on the trailer, got done just around 5 pm. Im always glad when this is done with for the year, and this is one of the major reasons I never wanted to get into farming. Weather plays such a huge part of it, and you are always haying with one eye on the clouds, racing whatever is up there heading your way.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

the tomatoes are a volunteer that simply took over, and it has at least a dozen small fruits--the potatoes I dug this morning because the leaves were looking less than healthy, and came up with 25 pounds--the man who sold me the sets said they should yield 10 to 1, pound-wise. I bought two pounds , and have already exceeded the limit. One more box to dig. if the others pan out as well, I may get a 15 to 1 yield...

Friday, August 21, 2009

and yes, at last, the reason for the title

two years ago, almost exactly, I went to the ophthomalogist and was told my new vision problem was a monster floater, and that I would, basically, have to learn to live with it. Few surgeons understandably will touch them, since it involves major surgery way down there in the eye. He also said, if there are any changes to the eye, let me know.

Three days later what i thought was the floater descended, and in three days more the eye had become a grey haze, utterly distorted. Wow, I thought, this is a mess. But I never went back. partly because I figgered he'd tell me it was there, and to get used to it. Partly because I wanted to see how this thing was going to play out, too. The distortion was incredible, and over time the eye became darker and dimmer. I could see in natural sunlight, but aritificial light was worthless.

Today I had an appointment at his office, and it turns out that two years ago they had not told me that what often follows a major floater like that was a detached retina (which is why I went in the first time around). The doctors at that point discussed it without me being present, but all I was told was to go home and get used to the floater. (This is why today, two years later, I exercised my privileges as a 63 year old woman, and suggested gently that the next time something like this happens to someone, to TELL them what to look for so that they have full knowledge to work with. I called it a learning experience and I suspect he'll get the message. )
And I found out today I did indeed have a detached retina. Those are supposed to be treated very quickly to keep them from getting worse. Not knowing I had one, meant two years have gone by. Im going to see a retina specialist in September, since they said I do have some vision left (oh joy in the morning) in that eye, even though there's not a lot of hope for repairs at this point.


I do wish doctors would learn to trust their patients' intelligence and ability to handle stuff, rather than playing god and making pronouncements from on high--while you nod and smile and go off into the world not realizing you have an aneurysm, or a detached this, or a fibrillated that, waiting to change your life. Oh, they say, when you end up in the hospital, I was afraid this might happen. We didnt tell you because we weren't sure, and didn't want to alarm you...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

tomato tomato

I wasnt planning on planting tomatoes for two reasons this year--one, we had such a glut of them last year I figured it would take two winters to finish them up--and two, Im not supposed to be eating the things raw, anyway.

And yet the plant out there right now, a volunteer, doesnt know all that. It's like a cat we had once who didnt know he was a stray, and moved in one night just like he lived here. The plant is now five feet high and taking over the space alloted, plus a few feet more in all directions. It has at least a dozen fair sized green tomatoes, and if the frost holds off another month, I just might get a few fresh ones. (don't tell anyone)

I bought four bell pepper plants last spring. They are all doing remarkably well, except for one which didnt want to be a green pepper, and has decided to be a banana pepper instead. Hey, im flexible.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

pet peeves for august

people who take photographs of flowers, birds, insects, etc, and post them in a huge collection, hundreds and hundreds, carefully labeled sometimes as to where and when, but not a single
identifying clue as to what those birds, fish, insects, ARE. no names.

I found an image in one of those groupings that was a mate to an insect I had taken a shot of, here in the yard. Utterly useless, except to tell me that I don't have a rarely seen bug. I was so annoyed by this, I actually wrote to the guy and suggested maybe a bit of research would be nice--if you're going to bother to take the picture, you should take that extra step and find out what it is. He said he knew a lot of them, but never got around to putting up the actual names.

Yep, that's useful.

The other peeve I have about photos is lifting stuff from the net with no acknowledgement or identifying clues, just because you 'like the photo'. At least identify what it is, or who it is, when you post it, if it's got markers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Silent August

Last night I stepped outside to see the Perseids; I know they're around other than last night, but that was supposed to be the peak show. The fog, however, blocked the sky, and the only thing putting on a show was a bajillion crickets, all across the fields. And a lone barred owl at the edge of the woods.

In August I am sharply reminded that even though the garden is still showing off, the goldenrod is beginning to bloom, and the milkweeds are forming their fall seed pouches. It's half way to September, and except for a few crows and jays and the woodthrush, bird song has just about stopped. No more mating serenades, no more territorial warnings. Some of the swallows have already gathered and left, without much fanfare, off to the wilds of Tierra del Fuego for the winter.

In a week or two the sparrows and warblers will start packing it in for the summer, too, and there will be clouds of them out there, ferreting out every seed and insect they can find. It's a wonder they can even lift off after all of that *g*

But the crickets, now. We still have them, and that's not so bad, after all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Car whines

I was going through new car sites today, seeing what's out there. Mostly curiosity, since Im keeping t his little car until it's time to give it to the junk man...and one of the things that convinced me, was the number of cars touted as having "great gas mileage" and then you read the numbers. Best of the lot, in Honda, anyway, was 30 city, 34 highway. Excuse me? And for a price tag somewhere over 20K. The hybrid, which is usually way too expensive for what you get, trumpets 40mpg. wow. What no one ever factors in is the cost of that brutally expensive battery, and what recharging that puppy will cost in electricity every time you recharge it. Of course you're saving money at the pump, and saving gasoline. But the electricity you use to charge that up at home uses oil at the other end, to make electricity.

I did the math on this once, and it turns out that to amortize your expenses you would have to own that car for ten years. and if you figure in how steep car payments are these days, make that twenty years, since the interest rates on an auto loan usually double the original cost of a car by the time you're paid it off.

In addition, the batteries are brutally expensive, and need to be replaced every three or four years. I found out today that what is IN those batteries comes from an open pit mine in canada, and is truly toxic stuff. Sounds better and better, don't it.

but we can fire up our hybrid cars, ignore the whirring of the electric meter, and feel good about saving the planet. god bless america.

Pet Peeve time again

Last week my husband was carded while trying to buy O'Doul's Beer, which has less alcohol in it than most cough medicines. Now, this is a 65 year old man with a grey ponytail and a nearly white beard. The woman insisted that he could not buy beer unless he could prove he was over 21.

it's all well and good to be careful, but caution does need to be tempered with common sense. In this instance I think stupidity won out. And all she had to do was LOOK at him to see he had met and passed the legal drinking ago decades ago...what makes this even more bizarre is that a year ago he was carded for the same offense in another store. sigh.

In the supermarket today I actually focused on the cigarette display, which these days is not a wealth of various brands and styles, lining the checkout counter aisle, but a locked and god help us chain-padlocked display behind heavy glass. It looks eminently unbreakable. I suppose at $6+ a pack they would want to keep those valuable little containers safely tucked away, but there's something slightly chilling about such extreme measures--and then you realize that a child seen holding an unopened pack, or even an unlit cigarette, can be arrested--and then you think, if they're that dangerous (which in a way they are) why are they even sold at ALL?

If Uncle Sam could find a way to legalize for profit cocaine, heroine, and marijuana, you can be sure it would be done. The only reason cigarettes are even sold at all is because the government gets a great deal of money out of the process.

and last week on a heavily traveled two way highway I saw a young woman in the breakdown lane, roller blading. Cell phone glued in place. it would have been okay, but the breakdown lane there is fairly narrow, so every left footed stroke carried her over the white line and into the traffic coming up behind her. Everyone had to swerve to miss her, and that meant oncoming cars had to swerve as well, to keep from hitting the cars that were... well, you get the effect--I cannot tell you how much I wanted to ease her back off the road with the passenger side of my car...really really wanted to. So I laid on the horn, just for something to do, and she turned to look at me with this blank expression that had "whatEVER" written all over it, the facial equivalent of the finger. One of the very few times I have EVER wanted a cell phone, *g*

There seems to be a certain level of entitlement with people like that, they really dont give a rip about the people they're endangering, or discommoding. And if she did manage to zig into another car's zag, it would immediately be his fault, not hers.

I really really wanted to. oh yeah.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Age Hath It's Perks

you can forget stuff, and it's okay. When a plant comes up in the garden that you never saw before, even if you have the tag that says you planted it, it's always a pleasant surprise. and when a volunteer plant appears, you can take full credit for it being there.

You and your friends can tell each other the same old jokes as if they were new, and everyone laughs as if they never heard it before, probably because they have no memory of having told it to YOU three days ago.

Books read years ago, so long ago that the plot resolution is a gentle surprise, are always fun. What isn't, is realizing your favorite books are now the books of a much younger person, and no longer even readable.

You can be cranky, and its 'cute'. You can actually think, if not say, "now see here, young lady", and know that in five years or so you can say it too.

You don't have to keep up with new technology. And if you do, people are startled, which is always fun.

The day I realized I was older than most if not all of the doctors, dentists, and policemen, I stopped being nervous about any of them. We are now eye to eye.

Younger waitresses are often so unsure of how close you are to Senior Discount time and so nervous about insulting you, they often give you the discount anyway. I LIKE that one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

mystery solved

Suddenly this week-- which has been blessedly too hot for a change, the Japanese beetles have begun congregating like swimmers at coney island...then yesterday I noticed several dents in the ground, it looked a lot like the mark a deer hoof would make on soft ground. Didnt think much of it. Then today the mister mentioned it, said they were all OVER the place--so we went on a tour of the garden and sure enough there were at least two or three dozen little post holes, all diggy places maybe two or three inches deep.

Then I remembered that skunks are prodigious diggers, and they love japanese beetle grubs. A little online checking, and that's it. They also apparently like carrot tops, but only the sturdiest ones--it does no harm to the carrot, only to the greenery.

Between the skunks above ground and the moles below ground this place is going to resemble a miniature meteor strike zone. But no grubs.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Better late than never

Saw our first Monarch of the season today--considering the lateness of the year, this could well be one of the guys heading back they way they came last was a new one though, flying as all beginner butterflies seem to, with great joy and swoops up into the trees and OVER the roof and bumping into people--
We run a sincere butterfly patch here, and it's nice to know at least one will get to enjoy it this year, for however briefly...

Saving Face