Monday, August 31, 2009

...

JUST FOR THE NOVELTY OF IT, I decided to cut a watermelon into plate-like slices. Only after I finished did I realize how it simplified the task of tossing out the rind.


And the chickens clucked their approval to one another--hey, girls, would you look at this! Don't you think she's done a fine job with the presentation?!

video

It seemed to enhance their eating experience.

...

Friday, August 21, 2009

...

WE BUTTED IN LINE. I'll just say it quickly, before you quite recall the continuing story of Nitabee and me at the ticket counter in the Philadelphia train station, and the snaking line of people, and the three minutes or so to make a decision about fetching the fetching pitcher that I'd left at our previous stop...but, geez, we're in a hurry, I can't re-tell it all! We must have looked like damsels in distress, the gentleman at the front of the queue waived his place and waved us to the counter. And before you know it, my sister and I had another hour and a half to spend together. We got a cab, got the pitcher (minutes before the shop closed), got back to the station, and, after taking our time and studying the whole impressive array of food available there, we had ice cream. After which we said thank-you, thank-you and goodbye, goodbye and hey, we could do this again in cooler weather. She boarded her train and headed east. Soon after, I got on mine and headed west.

video


And then-- twenty minutes into the western journey a flurry of announcements informed the passengers there was trouble ahead--a severe storm had brought a tree down onto electric lines over the track. The delay could be a half-hour--or it could be hours, they said. No one knew. Friendly Guy across the aisle shrugged his shoulders and gave me a commiserating smile. The conductor strode purposefully through the car. The passengers resigned themselves and settled in (speaking for myself, at least, and, from all appearances, Friendly Guy.)

It's for just such events as this that I rip the NY Times crossword puzzle from the Sunday paper each week. (How forward-thinking, wouldn't you say?) And then there's that other item with which I am able to entertain myself: I took lots and lots of photos--shots of Friendly Guy (sorry I can't show you his smile--I was always discreet), the conductor each time he made an appearance, my puzzle, my feet (getting a little desperate for subject matter, it's true). When I went and stood in the cell between the train cars in order to warm up (the engine may have been turned off, but the cold-air production continued in force), I took pictures of every knob, door, sign and other accouterment. (I'm thinking of publishing an illustrated book "My Time Between the Cars Between the Rails").




Eventually the crossword puzzle got a little old. After all, I was expected to figure out how the answer to *Social reformer Margaret Fuller, to Buckminster Fuller (it just had to be "great-aunt") could fit into seven spaces! Good grief. Enough brain-wracking for one sitting!

Furthermore, fresh subject matter for the camera had dwindled to zilch, Friendly Guy went to sleep, and...yawn, it was about time for this saga to end.



video



Which it abruptly did...an hour and a half later.
And now this telling of it, too!

*the end*
...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

...

YESTERDAY I CELEBRATED WITH MY SISTER, Nitabee. She's the much younger one of us, although I love the way the occasion we were celebrating briefly takes away the much. We visited the Museum of Art, which was simply a cool place to spend the day, coolness being highly sought after at that time and that place--that time being just about the hottest day of the summer thus far. That place being a mere pleasant little train trip away for each of us. So we met at the train station. We then discovered that the walk to the museum, despite what the guy at the info desk had told us, was not an easy little jaunt, but a sweating-profusely and resting- often and searching-out-shade sort of a trek. Had the guy been oblivious, or did we actually look much younger than our ages? We agreed it was the latter for sure, dragging ourselves into the welcome chill of the museum entrance.

Now that we'd arrived at this air-conditioned arena, it was first things first: We had to eat.


And so we dined. Dining, especially when celebratory and with a sister, is more agreeable, and extends much longer into the afternoon than simply eating.


Next on the agenda was shopping. And don't worry, there's plenty of shopping to be had at this museum. Celebratory shopping, especially with a sister, is quite agreeable and can extend until the museum is about to close, if one isn't careful.











There was still some time for art perusal, though. Hence we got to share commentary on the nude paintings (only with each other, of course, and the one man who overheard, much to his amusement), imagine ourselves in 1850s French apparel (and choose dresses for each other--my choice for the birthday girl being simply the best!),













ride a very unpopulated trolley to a separate building of the museum, and view more--etc. etc.--art.




Celebratory afternoons, especially... (alright, alright) do speed away, however, and it came time for a very hot ride on a now very populated trolley (crammed to the gills, actually) back to the general vicinity of the train station--general vicinity meaning that it was close enough we could survive the trudge back before our scheduled return trips, and still in the area where we were likely to find some refreshment for our gasping, parched, dehydrated bodies (I do exaggerate somewhat, but hey, it was really hot, and we were really thirsty!)

And that's where I'm going to leave you...schlepping along the sidewalk with us...because, you see, there's more to the story than just to say that we hopped on our return trains and headed home. Oh, heavens yes, there's more.

...to be cont'd
...

Monday, August 17, 2009

...




JUST RETURNED FROM A brief vacation back in the Beautiful Valley, where I and my "I do" man spent time with many family members. Okay, yes, he's my husband; and yes, the family members were all extended relatives of his (and mine, due to "I do") --descended via his maternal grandparents; and certainly yes, as you've no doubt deduced, it was a family reunion.





I'll tell you why I like this family and why my weekend was quite well-spent: One-- The members of this clan enjoy being together, which means that they all get along, they like each other. They have these reunions every two years and most of those who can make it attend each time. Two--They generally find good places to meet, always where we are served our meals and don't have to be scrounging around and spending time in a kitchen. Three: They like to laugh. Maybe it got passed along in the DNA--these people love to have fun! Jokes and story-telling abound, as well as stunts to produce more laughter, so that, you know, there'll never be a shortage of stories to tell and more amusing stuff about which to reminisce.


Four: Do whatever you please, as far as how you spend your time at the reunion. If you want to squirrel away and do your own thing, no one seems to be offended. Possibly that's because

there are always plenty of people to join in the excursions (are you kidding? always excursions --this past weekend it was antique shops, Amish stores, road-side stands, gift shops, a winery--the beautiful valley had them all, and the van-load of women [yes, well, the men aren't as big on this kind of jaunting] investigated as many as possible). If one prefers to stay put, one can always join the league of jigsaw puzzle-piecers. Or sit on the porch and chat (where much of the laughter occurred), or study the table of family history albums and geneologies. Whenever hunger strikes, one can cruise the snack table; alas, I neglected to capture a picture of that. Too bad--it was impressive!




Equally impressive, I thought, was the hummingbird that came to the feeder at the porch, and just look at the shot I got of her.










When it came time to say goodbye to the grand view and the people who had enjoyed it for the past two days, it seemed a little too soon.







So we drove very slowly out the quite awesome tree-lined driveway, making it a shorter time until the next get-together with these dear folks.












...

Friday, August 14, 2009

...


CHEERS FOR THE LOWLY ONION. No matter how much I have to cry over them, it gladdens my heart to see them rolling into my coffers. They find a place in nearly every soup, salad and sandwich I prepare, not to mention most of the hot dishes.






Also rolling in are the watermelons---ah, the sweethearts. No one around here has to beg for hurrahs when we slice into one, and, although the color isn't deep red, the taste is as refreshing and satisfying as laughter (well, perhaps. tell me a joke and I'll compare).


Next on the roll-in line-up: those handsome Aubergines (ha, just the eggplants putting on airs).
I'm eagerly waiting while they primp and plump.


...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

...


I'VE GOT MY OWN PERSONAL GUINNESS RECORD to relate. Calm down, Reader Dear. Yesterday I may have mentioned (just in passing) the sipping of mint juleps, but I haven't taken up any head-tilted-back, gulping-and-belching guzzling of beer just yet. I'm referring to the Guinness Book--you know, the one with all the superlatives.


A few days ago my daughter of the prolific garden came toting an enormous armload of her red zinnias. "I brought you a bouquet," she said with a laugh.
I was aghast. "Why ever did you do that?!"
"Oh," she said, "the eggplants need some room to grow."

Thus I got quite the biggest bouquet ever--personally speaking, of course.


























"Throw them away if you want," my daughter said, when I pondered what on earth I was going to do with them. She deposited them gently on the porch and returned to the garden. Throw them away?! Now THAT I found impossible! These long-stemmed beauties had the lengthiest stems I'd ever seen on any Zinnia. Come to think of it, they were the longest-stemmed flowers I've ever been given*( That's the second entry for my Guinness book.)






With a lot of trimming, a little ingenuity, a plastic trash bag and an empty planter, I got the flowers corralled into a fantastic bunch--not so tidily arranged, but impressive for their mass.




Later, when the weather threatened to storm on my largest-ever bouquet, I brought it indoors, where those flowers seem to sit expectantly, waiting for some grand event to take place.



"This is it!" I explain each morning when I come downstairs. "The earth is still spinning in space! There's still hope for the human race!" And they seem to lift their pretty red faces and smile in understanding.




...

Monday, August 10, 2009

...


IT'S HOT. IT'S TOO HOT to work outside where everything is baking in the sun. It's also too hot to go anywhere, getting into a garageless car and suffocating until the cool air kicks in. Fortunately for me, I've got another option I am free to choose--being penned up inside with the fake coolness of air conditioning. It doesn't seem like freedom to me, though; it makes me feel like a prisoner. I put off thoughts of it as long as possible, and dream instead of lounging in a hammock in the shade, sipping mint juleps and being fanned by someone else. Today, however, everything roasts in the sultry air. It addles my brain. The snug little blanket of heat and humidity is wrapped too tightly, and, alas, there's no one clamoring to fan me. So I've given up my freedom for refrigeration, and flipped that little switch to "cool." It's got to be a hot idea on a day like today!


...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

...




















I GOT UP EARLY THIS MORNING TO MAKE SURE the sun came up.



















I noticed whoever was in charge didn't slip up...there it was, right on schedule, lighting the sky on the eastern horizon.



















I haven't been contacted about taking a turn yet, but when I do I'm going to be awfully nervous
about setting the alarm clock.



















Imagine if it failed to go off...all the early-risers in the universe would notice the screw-up and shake their heads.




















Maybe the goof-up would be blamed on my country of origin, or my political persuasion. Of course, the case could be that my gender, age or degree of conscientiousness would be the talking point. I'm guessing, however, it would be the fact that I stay up entirely too late at night. Tsk, tsk, she's one of those night-owls--fritter-frattering away the wee hours--such folks should never be trusted with the job, even in the middle of winter!


So the fact is, I'd just as soon not have the responsiblity. Really, it would be a frightfully awesome task. I'm so hoping the one in charge at present will continue to carry on.


He/ She's been doing a really phenomenal job thus far, thank God! In fact, such a good job that I don't think I'll bother getting up to check tomorrow morning.



...

Friday, August 7, 2009

...

RE-MAKING THE BED.

























TUCKING (back) IN.














Okay, so they need a little time
to recuperate. You would, too, if
you'd been (twice) yanked out of
your bed just as you were getting
really comfortable and settled in,
maybe snoring softly,
starting to dream.








--(another new posting)--
...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

...

FOR A REPORT ON THE CONDITION of the leaking water pipe and the torn-up flower bed and the person in charge of the fretting and fussing that was done yesterday, did I really tell you to "check back tomorrow"?


After frittering away a whole entire day just to nervously oversee that whole big contretemps, I don't have as much time today to blab on about how it's not such a big deal, really. The complaints died away after the plumber left late in the day and I looked down into that hole, which looked eerily as though it had been dug for some other purpose, and felt grateful that it was just a plain old hole, after all!


Today, filled in with a little gravel and the early morning sun, followed by the stuff that spent the night beside the opening just waiting to undo it, the hole has been quickly obliterated.

Yesterday I got running water restored to me, I got back my stove and oven and refrigerator and music and all that other electrical stuff. I'll get the flower garden back, too...all I've got to do is get busy and make up the bed.

Which I'll do as soon as I make up the bed and get busy.


...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

...


TODAY WE HAD: ONE SMALL LEAK for the water pipe, one giant leak (of time) for mankind--two of mankind anyway. That would be me and the yard man, who must now wear the hat 0f the fix-it guy. I'm not counting the plumber in the census of people whose time gushed away. It's his job to climb down into muddy holes and repair damages; I once heard of a plumber who said, "Lady, your _(hmm...the word rhymes with knit, but isn't nearly so refined)_ is my bread and butter!" (The plumber was not so refined, either. But then, he was working in sewage, who can blame him?)




You may question, dear reader, how it happened that my time seeped away, since I was not the one to rent the backhoe, or use the shovel, or consult with the plumber, or muck around in the mud, or do any of the backbreaking labor. So here's the thing...I was the one who had to stand around biting my fingernails and whining about the lack of running water. For a while I even had to bemoan the fact that the electricity was turned off. I mean, really! My job was a breeze at that point--how could I not complain? I couldn't use the faucet, the toilet, the washing machine, the refrigerator, the freezer, the stove, the oven, the vacuum cleaner. Well, to be truthful, I couldn't summon up any fretting about my inability to vacuum...but no cordless phone, and no music (I tried singing to myself, which is no easy trick when one is in a complaining mood) ...and.. and...no internet?! To my way of thinking, there were sufficient grounds for malcontent.


Soon enough, however, the electricity was restored and, after considerable time, there was even some water available for use. Just as I was about to wrap up the belly-aching and hope the lawn could soon be put aright, alas, some fate decided that if I really wanted something to grouse about, then why not have the consultation with the plumber produce an edict that my flower bed shall be ripped apart. Yes, yes, the very one I was studying with such satisfaction just this morning and delighting in the way the flowers were becoming so expansive in their beauty, adapting so well to each other and looking altogether lovely.


After that things escalated rather rapidly--my bewailing, that is; but there was the advanced digging and drilling and way more slogging of sloppy mud, as well. I grabbed a quick pre-ripping R.I.P. shot of the bed,


and then I rushed to do a temporary transplant
of the poor flowers, some of them with their very roots chopped off.



















Had I been ruing my lack of music? As I worked at saving my pitiful plants, I was treated to Jack's "Hammer Symphony, Etude in F minor." I must say, although it wasn't what I was hoping to hear, it did fit the occasion rather well, and it neatly drowned out my less-than-pleasant words of ungratefulness.

video

...To be continued. That's right, you are going to have to check back tomorrow to find out if my further ungratefulness led to yet more calamity, or if, in fact, things hit bottom (the jackhammer, the shovel, the griping) and steadily improved. I'd be happy to fill you in right now, if only I knew...



...