Saturday, December 30, 2017

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

but we'll never know, now.

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

Friday, December 29, 2017

Good Advice

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

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

And he was right.

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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Keeping up with the Joneses (T13)

Jack Jones

Shirley Jones

James Earl Jones

Tommy Lee Jones

Tom Jones

Mother Jones

Davy Jones

Jennifer Jones

Spike Jones

Nora Jones

Quincy Jones

John Paul Jones

George Jones

Monday, December 25, 2017

One nice thing about snow...

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

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

Sunday, December 24, 2017

When it rains it pours...

and then the temperature drops

Saturday, December 23, 2017

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

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

Six Word Saturday

And Merry Whatever, y'all.  🙌🎄

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This old house in retrospect

We've done what we can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Time, gentlemen ( T13)

Waiting for...

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

Thursday 13

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

If this keeps up...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

Change? Again?

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

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

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

Friday, December 15, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Burning the Chia Pet (Thursday 13)

Sunday Afternoon

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

Monday morning

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

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

Monday afternoon
took about three hours from start to finish

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


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sometimes the right hand thinks it's a left foot

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

o boy it's snowing

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

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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

alphabet soup x 2 (T13)

harry houdini

suzanne somers

barry bonds

billie burke

betty boop

bugs bunny

charlie chan

tommy tune

arthur ashe

joanie jett

roger rabbit

roy rogers

jack jones