Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

from all of us to all of you

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Another Solstice Rears Its Ugly Head (6WS)

(so I'm a little late)


In winter we carry mirrors
to dark rooms,
harvesting the light;
December’s pale sun thus becomes
a multitude of suns.
We send candles into the darkness.
Nothing is wasted.

Seen from the proper angle
morning sun becomes an infinity of light
reaching back to the first sunrise
on the first day,
reaching ahead to the last.
Dark rooms are transformed
by prisms of clear light.

As winter moves into spring
we adjust the mirrors
in rhythm with the lengthened days,
tinkering with the available light;
harvesting, harvesting.

By March we nearly have it right.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Snow, Rain, Sleet, Snow, Snow, Cold (6WS)

What, no thunderstorms?  No hail?  No gale force winds?   Only one blizzard this month and that was two weeks ago...

Something is terribly wrong, the temps are actually above 0 F. (thats -17C, folks) and I may be able to go outside without fearing for my life, my bone structure, and my dignity.

Maybe tomorrow.  When I can no longer see my reflection in the surface of the driveway

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Suspended Animation

Over the past few weeks I've been reading into the "Next Blog" place;  its amazing the number of people who have just stopped posting,  usually just before a cliffhanger, like the birth of a child, or a trip, or a wedding.  Maybe they started up another, elsewhere, a year or two later, or just  never went back to take the old one down.

In a way its like finding an unfinished undated letter that begins,
"Dear Mom and Dad, 
things have been a bit rough here but  we seem to have gotten things back on track, 
now that both kids are home and safe now,  I promise to keep"

--and there's a photo of two cute kids,  boy and a girl, he has a leg cast and she has  a huge plaster across one side of the head.  you'll always wonder who these people were, what happened to the kids, and what happened to let that letter be abandoned.

Unfinished blogs are like that, too. They just hang in the air, some of them started years before, hundreds and hundreds of photos (and oh I do wish they had taken down the kids pictures first) and hundreds of posts. And for five years or longer those blogs have sat there while the parents aged,  the kids grew up, the dog died, and their  life moved away and down a different street;

The kind that started mostly as a kind of textual howl of rage or annoyance, page after page filled with self pity and really REALLY strange pictures, and then disappeared;

Bad poetry, mostly written by girls with too much green hair, fake tattoos and ugly glittery shoes. Or fan sites in another language which are little more than paeans to young rock stars or anime characters;

Now and then a serious connect with someone , in that way that happens when you least expect it,  you somehow collide in mid-blog with someone and keep going back.  You lurk. They lurk back. Its like a dance with one person and yet you're watching that other neat person across the dance floor, who is also looking back...

You wonder if anyone in those abandoned blogs even realizes--or cares--that they're here apparently forever, in suspended animation, part of a life preserved under glass.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014


this wasn't exactly how we had planned to spend Thanksgiving.  We got  a foot of snow yesterday, heavy, wet stuff that packed down as it fell,  with the shoveling consistency of wet cement.   Add to that,  the driveway was recovering from a half inch of warm rain,  meaning Mud;  So we have, basically, hot brownie with vanilla ice cream.  
Does not Plow Well.  Does not blow well.

We lost the power just after dark and spent the rest of the evening enjoying the ambience of oil lamps and the dulcet tones of an industrial strength generator in the shed,  so we could still use the computer, run water, and keep the freezer and fridge running properly.

Today I spent quality time on the kitchen roof getting reacquainted with the view up there.  While his relatives were happily sitting down to dinner 80 miles north of here I was shoveling the  roof off.  While they were swurping up deviled eggs and lemon meringue pie I was bringing in wood for the stoves  and shoveling off the porch.

The Bobcat got a serious workout today, working its way across hot brownie trying to remove the vanilla ice cream without digging  a six foot hole in the brownie.  Not a pretty sight.

All in all, a more productive day (if one must examine such things that way) than if we had gone a-visiting and stuffed ourselves full of turkey and ham and potatoes and lemon meringue pie (one must be polite, after all) if only to keep peace in the family.

I can hardly wait to see what the weather gods bring us for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Land Trust Progress

At this stage we have finalized the paperwork; the two towns involved have futzed and convened and discussed, and agreed that this will happen.  two weeks ago we went to The Signing, amid small speeches and entirely too many photos  (and no you so do not need to see those) and papers signed in what seemed to be an endless number. Not unlike closing on a house, but with a  LOT more people involved.

So. It's done.  We learn to live with the rules we insisted on, and its just a damn nice thing to have done with.  And ironically, the people who border us seem to be intent on clear cutting with great resolve. It angers me, but its also nice to know we wont be part of THAT process.  Look on the bright side, as one neighbor said, maybe in a few years the undergrowth will come back and we'll have rabbits again.  And our view of the
ridge across the way will be clearer.

this was back in September, for anyone who wants to see where we were then.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

cold, cold, cold, damn its cold (6WS)

Three stoves running and its not even December yet.
sorta wonder just how long before  'too much wood" will 
turn into"almost enough" wood which may or may not be
the same as "not quite enough" but still conjures up
images of chopping up furniture ("well how many chairs 
can we sit in at once anyway"--or, "I never liked that
table, could never find a place for it...") or hauling wood
out of the forest  on a sledge in February, bundled to 
the eyes to keep out the gale force winds.

Pitiful, ain't it. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Google scary

Yesterday I had to clear the cache and cookies (for various reasons) and in the process must have upset Google.  This morning when I went in they told me quite firmly that I was not me, and I had better do something about it.
(This is when your blood pressure begins to inch above the danger mark)

I looked up the password and was told, nahh, you changed that four months ago.
No I didnt.
So I tried another.
It has become almost impossible to find help at Google now, because, haha, if you're not signed in
you can't, and if your password isnt working anymore, you can't get help to find out what your password might be.
I finally found a teeny button that said "help" and I started rowing toward that.  Finally got my old password changed (no no they say, you already used all those,  find another.)  and then I had to give them an altenate address. None of which are acceptible because, golly, they are already being used by google. "YES THEY ARE,  one of them is being used by my old blogger account and it worked just fine yesterday..."

so several tantrums later I have a new account addy, no verification second addy (since they are all locked up as google account addresses in the seekrit vault), no thank you, I cannot give you the number of the cell phone I don't own, and I pushed the magic button and here I am.

If for some reason I don't appear after a reasonable length of time it's because I can no longer access Google, yahoo, or the blog  and this blog will join the ranks of the thousands of blogs out there that were just fine until that last post and then WentAway.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Weather Report in Just Five Lines (6WS)


You watch the east and say,
what a fine day
 its turning out to be
I watch the west
and prepare for rain

Saturday, November 1, 2014

For some reason this just fits--(6WS)

The Second Coming
                William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some  revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight; a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Care Instructions, Syrup Cold Water Pot (6ws)

whatever it is, be careful with it 
(an unaccompanied warning sheet that was tucked inside a book someone gave me)

As it is made of glass,don't hit it with hard things

Don't put it directly on the fire

Don't clean it with metal brush, hand matters of caustic cleaner

Using sponge and plate cleanser to wash it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Ultimate in Plane Spotting

you can zoom in or out with the mouse wheel,  you can move the image with the cursor,  and yes, those planes are moving.  you can identify individual planes,  and on the left find out what the schedule for that  plane is, landing and take off.

this is more fun than the earthquake map.

ive listed it in the interactive list >>>> over there

Saturday, October 11, 2014

oh I love AccuWeather

This just in:  AccuWeather is predicting a 7% chance of rain (at least only on Spring Street) which will last exactly 160 minutes, from 8:40 am to 10:40 AM  with a minute by minute breakdown of what's happening when...if I lived on Spring Street, I would be getting out the umbrella, the rain coat, and boots.

And  if there is only a 7% chance of rain,  how can they predict the times it might happen, if it does happen?

Its been that kind of week (6WS)

                                              Barred Owl in his Grumpy Phase

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The New Toy

At the top of each page, just above the post box and to the left, is something called   "next blog>" and when you click on that, you get just that;  a random blog, good or bad,  amazing or terrible; some have been floating unused and abandoned for years, some are new, some will make you jump.  
No way of knowing what will come up next, but if you do find one you like, get the URL or something, because you may never find it again.
Yesterday I spent an hour playing Next Blog.

I think Im hooked on this.  =)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Farmer Bear


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mine Mine Mine

Six Things I Miss (This Week) (6WS)

1. typewriters in all their clacky glory, including the futzing with the ribbon and Cleaning the Keys day, and using one my dad had (and I still own it), and teaching myself to type with the help of a touch type manual from the 40s...

2. the Social Security Death Index when it was out in public, and I used it to find family, friends, it was a valuable tool for everyone--until put it behind a paywall and changed it around to point not at the info you wanted but the info they thought you wanted

3.  old computer games that were ascii symbols like Hack and NetHack, and floppies with text games ('you are standing in front of a house.  There is a mailbox there."), and box games for your old dos run computer...

4 Christmas cards that had sparkly snow and fuzzy touch-me santas or stand-up scenes-- and the week before Christmas when you got to Dress Up to go shopping in town.

5. The first day of school; a new grade, new shoes,  new clothes.  Getting used to the unfamiliar teacher and her funny voice,  until you  got used to it and then it was okay

6. my mother's barn with the 30 foot long rope swing

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

just for harvey

                                         is this better? =)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I think its going to be an early winter

sometimes it feels like one of those maddening puzzles where you have to move the rings, one at a time, from one of the three poles to the other side, but only so that the top ring is always smaller than the ones it sits on.

to shed:

to stove:

one armload at a time...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Now and then...this is just what's needed on a rainy Saturday night

Short poem for a Saturday morning (6WS)

porque te vas

sing of the coming dawn
weep for the passing night
cling to the moon as it rises
and sets with the faintest of light

cherish the night as it cradles us
keeps us close in the dark
remember the heart is fragile
when the arrow has found its mark

so let us huddle together
to keep the morning at bay
I will watch you in your dreaming
and know you are going away

Monday, September 8, 2014

Follow up to "Someone is not reading what they're writing"

Saturday I got this 'special' looking envelope that gives you instructions on how to open it,  fold here, tear carefully, step one, step two, etc.  When I opened it  I discovered that my bank had given me a new pin number for my debit card.
wasnt that nice of them, I thought. A kind of follow up to the phone call(s) I made last week about setting my pin by phone.

then I looked at the number.  ho ho  ho.  its a different number.  So now it gets interesting.

1. is this the real pin number, invalidating the old 'new'  number?
2. do they both work?
3. and no one on the phone last week said anything about my old card (the old old card) being automatically invalidated as soon as the new (now known as the "old new" number) number was given/used/validated...I could have two cards, three pin numbers, and none of them speaking to each other.  lol
4.  if I use this to try to validate the card, will my card be eaten by the ATM and armed guards arrive to beat me senseless?
5. will using this number cause both numbers to become illegal?
6. if I use the other number,  will that open a hidden trap in the floor and both I and the offending card be thrown in among wolves and spiders?
7. will neither of them work, forcing me to invent yet another pin number?  shoot, after four years I finally had the old one memorized,  this new one took two looks...
8. I believe this calls for shoes and  a trip to the Bank in the City, so that if I do go up in flames I will be doing it on their territory and it will be their mess to clean up.

Stay tuned.  Film at 11, with video.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

open the door, close the door (6WS)

I think we all have events that happen to us over which we have little or no control:  the loss of a friend, or a loved one, a misunderstanding that escalates into something way out of proportion to the original intent--a life-changer, perhaps.  You can't seem to get your balance back, and even years later you find yourself reliving bits of this and bits of that, perhaps even inventing a different ending.  Or a different beginning.

And then we get all embarrassed and worried, because we are "obsessing" and we tamp it down even harder.

I'm trying something  a bit different.  Im writing it out, the way I wanted it to be.  You imagine, perhaps, that an old buddy or an old flame has suddenly come back into your life twenty, thirty years later. Write it down from where the possiblities kick in,  and then play it as you want it to go.  I tried this a few days ago, working my way through a possible  if imaginary reunion, and somewhere near the end, something magical happened. I wasn't writing it anymore, it was writing itself.

The reason Im doing this, is when ordinarily I write something as a prose piece, once it gets said, typed out, and corrected,  it goes into a drawer and I forget about it. Ive said what I needed to say,  and its over.  I thought, why not do this with reality?  Granted, its a reality that will never happen, for whatever reason. But its a stab at a reality that could have happened, given a few shakes of the snow globe.

And now I have no more desire to write it again, to play it out, to invent.  To obsess.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How I spent my summer vacation--Land Trust talk

this is part of the property we have in the Land Trust--we've been chipping away at access roads,  and the more I see these, the more excited I get about this. This particular road runs from behind our house for about a half mile back into the property, and ends at an old cellar hole that was, according to the deeds, abandoned around 1856.  Why, we have no idea. There was a fair sized barn and a small house, situated fairly close together, a well, and what might have been a privy.   

We are down now to small changes in the wording,  lawyers being fussy about loopholes, and all...another site visit, and we may have this nailed by winter. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Someone is not reading what they are writing

Last week  I received a breathless letter from our bank informing me that my debit card was one of many that had been "compromised" when someone apparently hacked in to the computer system there.  oh, treats.
Now.  This is where it gets really interesting.

My card is apparently compromised.  They are going to send me a new one very very soon.  Until then, my old compromised card is still live, still out there like a dead fish on the dock.  They also state that the old card will remain active until the end of September (excuse me?) at which time it will be rendered inactive.
At that time, once its been wiped from their books and the password is history, they tell me I must then destroy the card so that no one can use it.

If the card is  deactivated, how can anyone use it?  Wouldnt it have been much simpler to just have me change my password?  Now?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New small appliance day

After 15 years my old hair dryer died.  clickclickclickclick.
for 15$ it didn't owe me anything, and it did simple things; dry hair, get the steam off the mirror, annoy the cats.

The new one looks Electronic.  It has a retractable cord,  and black on black instructions on the plug explaining what the red and yellow buttons are for.  Let me get my glasses.  Ah, one is for reset (which I always get nervous about, I have visions of small wires in the wiring bundle HIDDEN in the wall, slowly frying away, getting brighter and brighter.  there has to be a reason why a plug needs to be reset, few of them good.) and the other is for test.  In case you weren't sure  it was working before, "test" will tell you those small wires hidden in the wall are still glowing and you need to Call Someone. =)

I have issues with electricity. You may have noticed.

It also says, "do not use if test fails".

There is a two sided warning sticker on the cord itself--one side says "always "unplug it" after use" (why the quotes?);  is this one of those wink wink nudge nudge phrases?  Then it says DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG,  and to further enhance your hair experience,  WARN CHILDREN OF THE RISK OF DEATH BY ELECTRIC SHOCK.  There is  a rough drawing of a plugged in hairdryer, obviously "on" and plugged in to the wall, floating eerily above a bathtub full of water. A transparent bathtub, with waves apparently sloshing back and forth so you KNOW its water

pictures in the enclosed  11"x15" sheet, showing you how to use a hairdryer. how to plug it in and unplug it. In four languages.  and it also has, for no extra charge, "ionic conditioning' to stop the frizz.  Probably what you get when you drop it in the water and try to retrieve it.  Well worth 19 dollars.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

what happens when you stop micromanaging the lawn

and let the flowers in

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Memory can be a fine mesh sieve

the only thing worse than re-reading a book but not recall it until you're nearly at the end (and suddenly know how it ends)  is re-reading a book and finally remember  that not only did you read it a year ago, but you didnt like it then either.  Sigh.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It was a very bad day (6WS)

 arright arright, im coming, hold yer horses..
 damned humans,  heeeerrreee kitty kitty kitty  niiiice kitty go walkies?  yeah, right...
Some walkies.  All this damned green, all these horrible pine needles, they hurt my FEET.  Dont they know this is my NAP time?
 Where's the sidewalk?  The traffic?  This is a damned forest,  all she does is drag me out here and then disappears, expects me to follow her. Oh, please.
We just  keep walking and walking and walking--my feet hurt, im missing my nap, im thirsty and where the hell IS she...
Yep, there she goes again "there's a good boy, niiiice kitttty"  Oh wait. I heard something
 Oh god. what was that. Sounded like a of those vicious turkeys, I just know it is...
Oookay, that's it, she's hiding, and Im going home. I've had enough of this crap  She wants me, she knows where I'll be.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

We have been assimilated

It's happened.  Just got The Call from my husband in the grocery store.  He wanted to know if he should get this size or that size of coffee, and I said, get the one that's the better value.  He said, "but..." i said, you're doing the 'how many eggs do we have in the refrigerator' thing.  

He laughed, I laughed,  and I promise, I will never get/use a cell phone just because I can't remember if we need milk or not.  Ever.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Meditation with the sound turned down (6WS)

The first winter we spent in here, in 1976, was one of the more dreadful winters we had experienced. It was during  those years when we had gone back into a cold weather cycle, and it took us broadside. Temps went down to -20 and stayed there, and zero was considered a warming trend. We had only green oak (never trust avuncular wood guys, they dont hear what you need;  they hear what they think you need) to burn for most of the winter, and the parlor stove I guilted  my mother out of.  The dog would wake me in the morning, barking ferociously at his water dish, which had frozen solid over night.  He was never a fan of ice, lol.

One of the cats, weary of being cold all the time, royally expressed her annoyance by peeing in the dog's bed, all the way through all the old blankets, staring straight at me the entire time. If she had had a middle  finger, it would have been used.  Did it for an entire week at 5 am every morning, and then stopped.  The point had been made, and she managed to score a few points off the dog, too.

There was no running water, no washing machine, no indoor plumbing. The windows were covered with plastic sheeting to at least keep the wind out a bit. on a windy day it was like living in an iron lung,  as the plastic billowed in and out...
I had no driver's license and couldn't leave the house that long anyway, because the kitchen stove was good for three hours, and then it would go out as if it had been switched off.  Did I mention the roof leaked?

But.  And this is important. Neither one of us ever said, or even thought, this is ridiculous, why don't we just pack it in and go to town?  We didn't stay because of the cats or the dog, or because we were so broke we couldn't have afforded an apartment somewhere (which we weren't);  it quite simply never occurred to us to leave.  There were harder years, and colder winters, but we were more prepared for them, and had learned how to work around the hard parts.

 I finally understand that it has become, for us, a  meditation. For someone else  it might be the neighbor's apple orchard,  or the lake you visit every summer with a profound sense of coming home, and the long wait all winter to return.  It can even be an avocation (woodworking, pottery, photography...) chosen without the sense of "This instead of  That" in the process.  "This"  you say, solidly, "is what I am, and what I do."  It defines you, even as you define it within yourself.  For Harry Truman, (the Mt. St. Helen's guy, not the President) it was the mountain. When they came to bring him down from the mountain, he refused. It was his home, he said.  I can understand that.

It can also be the land you live on, the house you own.   It matters.

my mother in law, the least fanciful  of women, once said, 'this is a good place to heal". and she was right.

Friday, August 1, 2014


New sign on the board at my favorite church marquee:
"The King is Back!"

forgive me, but the first thing I thought of was, there's been an elvis sighting...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Been a busy summer

in several directions, and this place, sadly, has been mostly at the bottom of my priority list.  Not for reading, but for contributing.  (slaps the blog lady on the wrist--get your act together, lady, people are watching)  

however,  I did add a link to a place called  "Lope"  which I keep forgetting about and shouldn't>>>over there in the Interactive List.

Friday, July 18, 2014

By Golly I think we have it now (link to Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac)

(which is now also listed in the Interactive Stuff list)

Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Aizhai suspension bridge

If you dont use Bing as a home page... this link should take you to a gallery of views of an  incredible bridge.  I've always loved the Chinese landscapes,  there seem to be mountains all over the place, and it has made the Chinese  into incredible engineers in the process.   the slideshow is really worth the trip.

Aizhai suspension bridge

Saturday, July 12, 2014

garden, wood, lawn; lather, rinse, repeat (6WS)

--and I know when I've reached the pivot point of the summer when I start thinking "next year I need to do this and put  that over there" and understand that for this year I've done all the titrivating and tweaking I can do.  But by golly, next year...=)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Prepositional Phase

prepositional phase

where you are right now
between away and to

is not where i am
among the concerned leaves
down along the empty  hallways
beside and amidst the parted grasses

there will never be an after
without the before that came before
no here no there
no way around above or through
without me,  without you

the perhaps of you and I
has been overtaken by the now

why doesnt even enter into it
and that will have to wait for spring

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sorry, I've been off in all directions lately.

sometimes (as I think i have mentioned before) things happen in bunches.  all the water backs up in the dam and spills over (no no, that was a metaphor),  you go to the doctor and he says,  we need to have some blood work done.

The little oh oh light goes on in your head. 

So now I am making the rounds of osteo doctors, physicians,  blood work places.  The folder I started last winter now has a new one beside it.  Last winter it was about tests and scheduling and exams.  Physical Therapy.   This new one will probably be an extension of that,  with treatments and results as well. 

We're also in the middle of  finalizing the Land Trust for this place, and that takes up a fair size hunk of energy, mental and otherwise. 

I just fired my old reliable wood guy because he was becoming less than reliable and more expensive as well.  I hated to do it,  but at some point you have to stop making mental excuses for him, and move on. 

And I guess moving forward is what we do, every day. Sometimes a bit of backtracking, but it's still progress of a visible kind. 
this is a porcupine leaving,  totally fed up with my incessant picture taking;  I often feel this way,  just want to turn my back and walk away.  If i had his quills, I just might =)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What happens when you don't take vacations from your vacations

Every year I do a bit of titrivating to the garden, much the way I used to rearrange furniture in different rooms;  next year, I say, I want peonies over there and maybe a bit of poppy for color...

and next year thats what I do.  This year however we have raised the bar a bit, and instead of replanting peonies and scaring the daylights out of unsuspecting jonquils when the new neighbors move in next door,  we have decided that stove A (parlor stove) really needs to  be in the dining room and stove B (log burner) really needs to be in the parlor.

From there it's like a rock dropped in a still pond.

In order to make this work properly, we have to change the kind and amounts of wood we will be using, and make a space for the new shorter stuff so that its easily accessible and more plentiful.  Before this, we  just culled out short bits and stored them on the attic stairs.  This year we are actually buying quantities, and it needs to be separate, and will be living on the porch. and arent you all fascinated by this. It will also be dumped on my lovely lawn.  sob.

We got more long wood last year than we could use, so we have to explain to the wood guy in short words and with a lot of arm waving and pointing, that no no we need short chunks and then 16-18" stuff.  12 cords total.  Then he tells me how much that will be and I go in the house and have a nervous breakdown.

And of course due to global warming last winter was, by some accounts, one of the mildest on record (whose record, and which southern tropical island did they take the readings from)--it was so mild  that Florida had snow and Louisiana got to practice driving sidways in snow with one foot on the brake and one on the gas...and we had such a mild winter that we actually burnt 13 cords of wood.  three years ago we were averaging  8 to 9.

Monday, June 30, 2014

not for the faint of heart (2nd chorus)

i have been having problems with a new website,  and someone suggested installing Opera as a browser;  don't ever try this at home...

I got part way through the install process and in order to proceed it asked me if I wanted at least three tool bars, including an instaweather one, a music all the time one, and a calendar. I said no, not really.  further down the line it said you really need to install this WONDERFUL registry scan program, and proceeded to do so.  It told me I had over a 1,000 harmful errors in the registry (implying that if I didnt Do Something the entire western world would collapse into the ocean. No thank you, I  said.

Undaunted, they tried to give me the same registry scan and I stopped the install.  However I had to uninstall the basics from the Uninstall program (there were five) and then go into the registry and delete the bits they had oh so conveniently left behind. There were lots.  They even installed a shortcut button on my desktop, which I deleted.

Now, two days later, I find that like puppies around an empty food dish the Opera program is still sitting on my desktop with its tail wagging hopefully.  I clicked on the short cut button and it started barking and leaping and I dumped it. Again. 

And as a special added attraction, I find that this little number has been haunting me for a week;  even have begun  humming snatches of it (quelle horreur) when no one is looking. It needs a new home.  Im sure it will love it at yours.
Henery the Eighth

Saturday, June 21, 2014

in case any body was wondering (6WS)

im still here. still breathing.  the solar storms are raging,  there are flutterings of the magnetic poles,  someone is now trying to blame our cool summers here in New England on you-know-what  and Al Gore is beginning to sound uncomfortably like the man carrying the sandwich sign that says "repent of your sins, we are doomed".

however, its a beautiful weekend and i have been enjoying it to full advantage.  Charlie ate a baby turkeylet the other day,  much to the consternation of the baby's mother and me,  and this morning I caught him stalking three full grown hen turkeys, obviously with designs on their ediblity.

this could turn out to be a long expensive summer, lol.

Oh, and happy solstice,  everyone.  It's been a long long wait, hasn't it.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Windows7 works very well.  we just installed it about  a month ago (why rush into these things, right) and aside from a few unhappy moments it has been a  nearly intuitive process.


There is always a however, isnt there.  In this particular OS,  Word has integrated itself with all text functions.  If I  misspell  a word in Outlook, Word underlines it in wobbly red.  If I forget the apostrophe, it adds it.  If I decide to type teh for the,  it gets corrected.  I have managed to turn of the wobbly red line,  but teh and apostrophe's still get corrected, as does waht, taht, etc. Lord help us all if I have occasion to email a Mr. Taht.  Who does exist, I just checked.

Last week something arrived in my Inbox and before I had a chance to open it the Officious Email Police informed me that this was a potentially dangerous website and could be sending me potentially dangerous email.  And promptly deleted the mail.

Now and then I do like to get out on that high wire with "Potential Virus" hanging over my head like a malevolent crow,  but Microsoft no longer allows me that thrill.

and if anyone has a clue as to how to delete that damn spell check from my email, you will be my bestest friend forever.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Monday, June 9, 2014


she was very good at details; I valued her opinion on projects that would, ultimately, involve her

she was a connoisseur of gardens and catnip in particular

and where she trod, she trod carefully and lightly

Saturday, June 7, 2014

mow mulch dig mow mulch wait (6WS)

(and sometimes all that effort pays off )

                                                    Alium and Solomon's Seal                      


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday

As part of the Easement process here,  Moose Mountain Regional Greenways (our  Easement holder) will be sponsoring three or four walks/tours  a year,  wholly staffed and sponsored by them.  Saturday  we had the first.
I can only imagine what the neighbors must have thought, seeing 15+ cars in a long train (this is truly back of beyond countryside) heading up the road...several neighbors got involved too  (great if exhausting way to meet folks),  and off we went, covered in Deet and sporting an amazing assortment of walking sticks, canes, and bits of tree limbs for support.
It was surprising how many botanists, bird people, and flat out nature observant people there were.  We found lady slippers (to my surprise), lotsa skiddy wet leaves, which is the quick way to get down a steep hill, black flies, mosquitoes, ticks. I was at the tail end of things,  and to look ahead and see this conga line of enthusiastic people was both encouraging and funny at the same time.  They pondered the meaning of scratch marks on beech trees (bears was the general consensus),  of linden trees and hop hornbeam;  we admired the mountain view from the edge of our neighbor's field and probably nine gazillion pictures were taken along the way.
I am still a bit wired from it, but pleased and surprised at the turnout.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

gardening is never a straight line (6WS)

Head out to plant the tomato plants which are now languishing in teeny pots and looking like gangly teenagers,  and three hours later they are still sitting beside the  garden,  and you have moved from pulling weeds to mulching,  you've mowed one side lawn,  started turning the compost bin,  and are now hunting for the bag of lime and the lopping shears...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

C.E. Chaffin 1954-2013

I was searching about the web,  wondering how CE was doing, and this one hit me smack in the face.  It may not mean a lot to many people who read here but anyone who was writing and online in the last 15 years or so may remember Melic Review both as a poetry crit board and as a lovely online poetry magazine, one of the few at that time who would accept work exclusively online.
He was the first online publisher (and only one actually) who ever took my work, and we were friends for several years while Melic was still online.
I shall miss him, and even just the fact of him online.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Too Much Green is Just Enough (6WS)

I have dug and mowed and mulched and mowed and planted and mulched and mowed and rearranged and dug and discovered ticks and black flies and mowed and it is now raining, and I can stop doing stuff.
As a friend of mine is fond of saying,  "I have leaped onto my horse and am about to ride off in all directions", and I never understand that more than when summer arrives.

All the apple trees are in full flower,  the lilacs and early peonies are one step away from  blooming.  This is the time of year I really like best,  when the tidying up is done and all those wonderful varied mounds of green are about to turn into something else.  All that potential, all those possiblities.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's raining on my new lawnmower (6WS)

but I dont care.  its new, its shiny, nothing clanks or bangs or falls off. the old one was a gift from a neighbor who didnt want to spend the extra $$$ to have it repaired--so we cobbled a few bits together and it ran well if not perfectly for at least six or seven  years here.  But Thursday it breathed its last death rattle and I do mean rattle,  and we realized that it was Over.

Friday, May 9, 2014

To get the heart started

just found this elsewhere, it reminds me of the old Atari games

Monday, May 5, 2014


6 months ago I had blood work done for my yearly physical.  One of the tests, I was informed, might  be expensive, and they didn't think my insurance would  cover it. I said, since this is the reason I'm having the blood work,  I guess I'll just take my chances.

I got a notice about three months ago that Blue Cross had paid part of it, Medicare had paid the rest, and I owed nothing.  Oh GOOD I thought.

Last month I got a bill from the Lab where the bloodwork had been done.  For the full amount.
Sooo I called Blue Cross and the nice lady there spent a good fifteen minutes on the phone with the Lab people, and then said,  you're all set.  They said they didnt get the notice until after the bill went out two weeks ago...(which was also a flaming fib, since the bill was dated two days before I got it)

Last week I got a bill from the Lab, stamped  OVERDUE.

Soooo i called Blue Cross, and we went through the same process.  This time when the girl got back to me she sounded a bit sweaty.  As if she had Had Words with someone Difficult.  She assured me crisply that the bill had been paid and I should be getting No More Bills.  I said, what if they send me one.  There was a pause and she said,  "Ignore it."

I can hardly wait for Round 3.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Milestone: One toe over the line (6WS)

We all have 'em:  first time someone calls you 'sir' or 'ma'am" in a store,  turning 21,  turning a decade over,  your driver's license,  retirement, medicare,  the first time somebody asks if you'd like the senior discount, and later on, just assumes.  ow.

Today another first:   in the grocery store the very young (maybe 13) clerk looked at my mounded cart full of stuff and said,  "ma'am, would you like help with that out to the car?"

Saturday, April 26, 2014

In my travels, I found this:

Even if you don't read all of it, read a bit. Dip your toes in.  Im not sure the URL takes, if not, copy and paste it, somewhere.  Its worth the effort

Ohhh and by the way, somewhere between and here and over there we passed the 20,000th post event.... how cool is THAT...yay

whoever gave me this, thank you (6WS)

the cough the wheeze 
the sudden sneeze
this cold has brought me to my knees
my head feels like it's fulla bees

Thursday, April 24, 2014



          Youve got to admire this kind of singleminded devotion to duty

                                               (click on the image to enlarge it)

Monday, April 21, 2014

sometimes one picture...

Words of way too many syllables dept.

(names changed to protect the embarrassed) found in one of the local papers:

"X  X  poses for a portrait yesterday with the road the town of  X built on her property as an access road to a water tank a couple of years ago over her left shoulder."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Desire (the porcupine)

What Desire

All I ask is to be left alone
with my endless hungers;
axe handles rich with the savor
of sweaty hands, old tires stored
behind the barn; green lumber
oozing pitch; crates, leather gloves,
hoses, discarded boots. Last summer
there was a salt lick in the field;
even now my quills rise in pleasure
at the memory. My mate and I embraced
the salt, licked it down to the ground
while the cows, longing for a taste,
were forced to wait their turn.
Young maples, scored and girdled--
we feast on the sap quietly, at night,
while the cold air flows around us,
the silence broken only by the sound
of our own determined chewing.
And in early spring, compelled 
by I know not what desire,
I climb a small tree
and sing for love
into the dark, cold, sky

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rant of a Personal kind

Sometimes there are places we go that we dont talk about much,  partly because it has a specialized language, or a specialized following.  In some groups computers are only touched upon briefly, no one has one, or they have a limited knowledge.  In some instances what is online important to one person barely touches another.

Games is such a pre-occupation.  I am an avowed games addict;  if it has dice, or cards, or a game board, move over,  honey, I want to play too.

For the past 16 or 17 years Yahoo has had, not only email, and Messenger, but a fairly extensive and well working set of games that covered everything from solitaire games to dominoes, pool, and gin.  Dozens of games, thousands of players.  I was there for  16 of those years, off and on.  They were (past tense deliberate),  I'm finding out, some of the best online games on the net, consistently.
Last week they closed the doors.  We were braced for upgrades, updates to what was familar, perhaps a new look to the game rooms. That was the implication.

It turns out that all the games, from Cribbage to Literati (the strange wildflower version of Scrabble), from Hearts to Spades, Chess and Checkers, have been closed out.  The administration is being quite cheery about this in the forums, in spite of the pitchfork and burning tar responses which most former players are exhibiting.  Oh, they say,  we KNOW you'll just love our new games. 

 No we won't

New games, new graphics, all bright and super fun

Not bloody likely. Where's my Spades?  Where's my Cribbage? What have you done with Gin? Who the hell washed the floor in  here?  Get those damn frilly curtains outta here--

Oh, they will be SO much fun to play, we just know you'll feel differently once you've seen them

No we won't.  All the games we spent all those years on,  and they're gone.  We dont want dancing bears or 'rewards' or adorable tutorials with cute pink borders.   Give us back our games

We can't.  They're gone.  

Then so am I

Friday, April 4, 2014



"hope is the thing with feathers", she said
but love is the thing with wings
that keeps it aloft
long after need, or want, or time
has dimmed  the colors
to muted pastels
and the background
has receded into the fog

love is the destination
but hope is the heart
of the migrating  bird

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The proof is sometimes in the not taking

Been taking Vitamin D now for three or four years,  to even out that winter depression thing.  It's always seemed to work,  and  yet you do always wonder if its not just the Idea that works rather than the real deal,  humans being what they are, placebo-wise.  

Ive been slogging through March with, it seems, one foot in a snowbank and one foot in a lead shoe, at least mentally.  After five months of relentless and almost unremitting cold and snow,  there's a tendency to blame that, as overload.    But this month  it seems to have been weighing down a bit heavier.   I even considered doubling my regular dose of  D to counteract that.

Then this morning I looked at the bottle,  and it turns out I've been  inadvertently  taking half the regular dose, for about a month.  Last time I bought this stuff I just grabbed it without checking the dosage on the label..

Aha, she said. aha.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Something is wrong, here

We are losing our freedoms, one by one.  When you add them up, it gets scary. I  had intended a long list of these things,  and at the end  realized that as thinking individuals,  you are all aware of all of these, one way or another, with your own opinions as to what constitutes personal freedom(s) and how much it bothers you, affects you, or makes you yawn and turn the page.

After awhile it becomes "natural" to be scoped and groped at an airport, or realize your phone could be quietly monitored, or that somewhere on the net your surfing habits might be raising eyebrows.

And one major thought suddenly drifted by:  When you lose your right to privacy, whether its read mail or net snoops or drones or laws dictating what and when and where you can do what you do--or deny you the right to do it,  for whatever reason,  when you lose that,  you have lost everything.  Your personal freedoms are now becoming fewer and fewer.  Laws and mandates and bans are  being quietly passed that invade your car, your home, your mail.   They tell you  what you can own,  smoke, eat, or read, how to raise your kids,  and how those kids will be treated in school,  to the point of stupidity.

Give us enough pot to smoke, and we won't notice, or care.  Big Brother is alive and well.

Not only that, anyone with a smart phone can take your picture, or a video  of you--any survelillance camera can track you through a store, a hallway, a parking lot.

I'm lucky.  I have lived to hear  what the ending music of a 2,000 year old cutlure sounds like,  but too old to experience what follows, 20 or 30 years down the road.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Poem for a Chilly Saturday morning (6WS)

Tree Men

They took the tree down limb by limb
the way doctors took my old friend's leg;
one  cut and then another, and a week later
back to take more until he finally said,
"Enough, take it all",  and they did.

Yesterday I watched the power company
hack away at a tree too close to their lines, 
then cart the pieces to the brush pile
until all that was left was a naked
stub 20 feet  high. Enough, I said.
And when they left at last I went out
with a chain saw
and took the rest down,
sat beside the stump and wept.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Frustration thy name is New Operating System

Okay, it was time. I've been running on fumes with XP for about two years,  getting those sniffy little messages saying,  "your computer needs updating..."  sorta like Mom warning you that you 'd better take an umbrella when you go out.  "Ohhhh MO-therrrrr..."

So last week the mister installed Win7 and IE11. Win7 is doable, on the surface.  However,  when you start to delve and sort of force it into a personalized workable critter you realize that it has six tails, two heads,  and the horse you bought  refuses to fit the harness you have.

I am slowly readjusting what I got to what I want,  but I begin to feel like one of those old "Can This Marriage Be Saved" topics in Ladies' Home Journal.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bucket List (a work in progress) (6WS)

The possible, the doable if I could get my act together, and the not bloody likely
(and after all, aren't all of us a Work in Progress)

lose that last ten pounds

publish a book

learn to understand if not forgive (sorry Mother, still working on that one)

refuse to give in to Old (surprise me!)

see my oldest friend one more time before one of us dies

Britain, anywhere,  with no strings of return attached

connect with at least one half-sibling before all of them are gone forever

spend my final years living in a hotel (in lieu of an elder hostel)

learn to let go gracefully

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Silly season

in my internet travels i am, on occasion, invited to take a survey.  I'm a sucker for these,  and there is one site that actually rewards you over time with point$ that can be converted into $$$$...
Most of the time the questions make sense.  But now and again  someone in the Question Composing category prefers  a bit more specificity in their questions,

"how old are you (a numeric answer, whole numbers only)"  apparently there are people out there who answer with things like "thirty seven and 3/4 as of January 19th"

"gender:  male    female (please select one)"  (what if i cant decide?  what if someone wants  to choose BOTH?) and what about "other", eh?

"zip code:  please be as specific as possible"  Im still working on this one.  How does one answer a zip code question vaguely?  "ohhhh,  somewhere in the 03000s,  you know, east coast..."

And what has to be the looniest question loop of all:
1) Do you work outside the home ?  "No"
2) Do you own a business?  "No."
3) How many employees do you have?  [10, 50,  100, 1000]  "please select one answer"
4) What category does your business fall into? (select one)  and no, 'other' is not an option...

and finally on the next page, "are you a)employed b) looking for work c) retired d) a stay at home spouse"

the minute you select "stay at home spouse"  you are booted to the main gate: "thank you for your time unfortunately..." and out the door.

The best part is the next day when you are asked to take a survey and it turns out to be the one you  took the day before and you are told, firmly, that this survey is now closed...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

possibly a pantoum (experimental model)

No Moon Ever

You were wrong about the dark,  you know;
and about magic. You said there was no magic
in darkness, no sunset ever held you
in thrall, no moon inspired you to dream

about magic. you said there was no magic
only meaningless dreams.
In thrall, no moon ever inspired you to dream--
but then you never have danced under the stars

dreaming meaningless dreams
on damp grass, with dark eyes watching  you,
never have danced under the stars:
you were wrong about passion as well

you were wrong about the dark, you know,
no moon ever inspired you to dream
in darkness, no sunset ever held you.
you were wrong about passion as well

Saturday, March 8, 2014

This seems a better fit somehow (6WS)


you go out with the tide
i wait on shore
tend a low burning fire
it would not do to start a blaze
just now

when the tide turns twice
i will rise, brush the sand from my hands
and meet you at the high tide line
accept your gifts of fish and shells
as another would accept roses
and a box of chocolates

for a little while
add driftwood to the flames
as we eat the fish
arrange shells in magical patterns
of hope and safe journey

wait together for the outgoing tide

Monday, March 3, 2014, the rat in the woodpile

I signed up a few days ago,  it was a 7 day free trial subscription,  and then you could unsubscribe if you didnt want to pay for more.

By the end of the first day I was done with what I needed to be doing, and realized Id better get out of this now before I forget.

oh yeah.  Three tries later I was still subscribed,  and everytime i went in to reunsubscribe they said "welcome BACK"  and we were off and running again.  Finally yesterday I found yet another place in there to unsubscribe so i thought, aha, lets try this one.   I got my letter of confirmation,  oh boy,  and i thought i was on my way.

an hour ago I got a survey from the good folks at wanting to know how well they were doing.  I  told them.  Then I realized I was AT the site again, and went to look and sure enough Welcome BACK was all over the screen.

so I am now on the treadmill again, with unsubscribe and welcome back and confirmation letters  which i have yet to see, btw...

I would never ever recommend this place to anyone,  its confusing,  awkward to use, and impossible to get out from under.  If necessary Ill kill this card (its a  'net only" debit card) and start another.

But the good news is,  March 9 we switch the clocks back.  yay.

Postcard from Missouri

"Welcome to Missouri, a nice southern state. Woke up to this and 3 degrees this morning."

This is from Harvey,  who is still searching for his February daffodils  under his March blizzard.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It's Warm, it's sunny, it's March (6WS)

The woodpile shrinks,  the days get longer, the sun is higher in the sky  We're a laconic folk, we don't get excited by much, nossah, but we do expand a bit around the first of March.   Go out on the porch,  brush the snow off the old porch glider, and sit for a bit in the sun.  Think about stuff.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When good shovels lose their grip

All  I know,  I was up on the roof cleaning snow from under the windows;   looked away for a minute, and heard this noise...sort of a scrapey scratchy sound.  I looked around and there was the shovel,  throwing itself off the roof.  Seriously.   The last thing I heard was this muffled voice saying, "ssssnow angel. musssst...makkkke...ssssnow angel..."

And then silence.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Yes, yes, I Know its late (6WS)

Finally hacked a workable path (don't ask) through the kitchen late last night and realized that I had yet to can any tomatoes this year.  Better do it now, the little voice said.  They won't last foreveah in that freezah... 

I hate that little voice, it's usually right.
 It also means that the tomatoes that have colonized my freezer like stubborn chinmey swallows will be gone, and i can actually use it without having to shoehorn other things in between the frozen tomatoes.

These are Romas,  and should boil down nicely into paste of varying thicknesses and varying amounts.   I know everyone is just  fascinated with this stuff, so I may add a few more process pictures to this post as it changes.

Since I can't locate my food mill, I had to resort to the more basic method of straining, and since roma tomatoes have much tinier seeds than regular tomatoes, straining was a two-part symphony;  one to get the larger bits and the skins removed, and one using a finer meshed strainer.   Now, we boil.  Tomorrow Ill can them.  (I'm sure  the food mill will show up as soon as the last jar has been sealed and labeled...)

surpised myself, 12 jars, all the tops popped, and it only took 36 hours start to finish. =)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The morning after

Monday, February 17, 2014

How cool is this--text resizing

was just over in the forums fussing about something or other and found someone asking how to make the too-small text larger.  I assume this is a temp fix, but thats all anyone needs, isnt it.  I  have visited blogs that are, at my age, almost unreadable because of either too-large text or way too small.    The solution, and its sooo simple;  hold the cursor over the offending page and hold down the Ctrl key:  slowly, one clicky thing at a time,  rotate the mousewheel either forward or backward.

This works on mine, and on others, as well.   Life just got a tad easier.

If only we could turn the mousewheel  on ourselves  now and then...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Well I tried but you can only spread blame so far

This morning i noticed a drippy puddle place on the kitchen floor,  and my first thought was, oh my  a pipe has started leaking.  Then I noticed a corresponding drippy place on the ceiling and realized that the snow on the roof in that corner (this is a one story ell attachment on the north side) has been going through a periodic melt freeze melt thing for about three days,  and the ice has backed up under the shingles in that corner.

And THAT means in a little while i will have to go out, shovel my way to the roof (violins and weepy guitars here please),  climb the ladder and shovel off the roof.  (Saxophones of Guilt at this point)  break up the ice dam (by that point damn would be closer)  with my trusty whatever-Im-carrying,  pull down the snow from the main roof (Violins again and a bit of snare drum), shovel THAT off,  break off the huge icicles and try not to step on them  (laughing ha ha ha sound from the trumpet) since they are like marbles underfoot--
All because yesterday and the day before I looked at that mess up there and thought, nahhhh,  its okay.  mea culpa, mea culpa. 

  (To be fair, this is an "after" from last year. why waste film)

Trying to blame the Mister here, but he has his own roof (porch) and this one is my responsibility.  Yes, he coulda said, we need to get those roofs (rooves?) cleaned off, he coulda said, the ice is gonna build up up there, I'll help you, (Saxophones of Guilt again) but he didnt.

 At least its warmer,  the sun is nice.  Yes it is.  And Charlie Underfoot is having a grand time studying the drips as they fall into the coffee cans. plink, plink, plink...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

In The Distance, A Dog Barks (6WS)

In The Distance, A Dog Barks 

she came out to retrieve the paper
from the porch
saw him drive by, stop;  
watched him watch her
he rolled down his window as if to speak
but no words came out
she never moved
as he slowly drove away;
feeling colder, she went inside
careful to latch the door behind her.
He came by later, the house was dark
the dog had been brought in for the night
there was a new cat sleeping on the porch
the door was a different color--
he knew he'd been away too long

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

This Was the Month That Was (6WS)

oops lets just say I got over eager, lol.   TOMORROW is SATURDAY. YES IT IS. I knew that.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grisham Redux

In my journeys through John Grisham I find that his writing is much less even than I realized--and while  he is not of the 'brains on the wall" genre,  some of his books do have entirely too many torture scenes (probably the ones with screams in the first chapter are the worst) and those I now close down quietly and put to one side.

Trouble is, once you've encountered this sort of awfulness it makes you cautious about the next book of his you find.   Just finshed "The Broker" which promises gore and grue but, thank allah,  never delivers.  

As my mother in law once said about books like this, "I just read those parts with my eyes closed".  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

ten suggestions for growing old gracefully (6WS)

1.  I shall not shuffle

2  Exercise, exercise, exercise

3.  I shall not wear green eyeshadow

4.  I will never agree  that 50 is synonymous with Senior anything

5.I will never allow anyone to make me wear a funny  hat

6. I will not go ON about ailments

7.  I will refrain from saying "when I was your age..."

8.  The doctor is not always right

9  What's 'best' for me  may not be 'right' for me.

10.  Turn up the radio and dance

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

official portrait -- Charlie at Rest

Now that he has settled down,  he is no longer a whirry fizz in the middle of the photo.