Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

...

LAST WEEK WHILE MY HANDS WERE TIED by the toolbar snafu, and I couldn't put pictures up on my blog, a dear friend of mine said, "Won't you come over and help me put pictures up on my walls?" (She didn't word it exactly like that, but she does have a fairly new living space, and she wished for advice. It was definitely decorating the walls that she had in mind).

She also said, "Come for brunch."

I would happily show you, Dear Reader, the delectable quiche that she served to me and another friend (who was also there to eat the brunch, and say,"Oh, I think that would look nicer there!" or, "Hmm, here's what you could do...").

And of course it'd be fun to show you the artwork we cleverly assigned to the walls.

But I took just ONE photo while I was there.
It's of artwork that caused me to draw in my breath.
Exquisite and vibrantly-colored--a delight to look at,




this work of art that looked perfectly placed wherever it sat.*














*Delectable taste, as well!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

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YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW,

*














AND SO ON, AND SO ON, and so on...
(I'll get back to you if anything changes).





*white stuff falling from the sky
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

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IT'S LIKE AN ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG...as the snow melts, I keep discovering historical artifacts. Yesterday wasn't the first time I went to collect the morning paper and found two copies--but yesterday I tended to forget that one copy might be vintage. Turns out, this time the snow had melted back to the 10th of February.

I opened the two-week old paper first, unaware of it's obsolete status, and it startled me in a "God-help-us-all" kind of way. Hadn't I just heard on the radio that snow and strong winds were in the forecast? (Though I thought they'd said one to three inches.)


And there was also that weird rumor making its way around the county--A monster of a snowstorm! Accumulations of unheard-of proportions! Due to arrive...oh, I don't know, sometime in March. I hadn't paid any attention--it was only a rumor!

I can't tell you, Dear Reader, what a relief to see yesterday's actual headline: "Bonuses on Wall Street top $20B, But average consumers turn sour." Because I had turned quite sour; yes, I certainly had! But, that sour feeling (having nothing to do with the cats on Wall Street--fat or otherwise), it melted away like a snowflake when I realized we weren't cringing for another blizzard!


(A delicate coating--that's just what we got. Hurray for delicacy!)


...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

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THE MIRACULOUS MIRACLE! THE SET OF happy happenings! That's right--utterly by accident, while meandering around in blogland, retracing a trail I'd been on repeatedly, I stumbled across my toolbar. I was very pleased to toss away the monkey wrench, along with the botheration, the pain in the neck, and pictureless posts.


Now that I'm back...where was I? I'm scrambling to find that set (Uh...the one I set by), that mid-February Hodgepodge:


There was the Valentine's Day breakfast plate...
The Valentine excursion (dress-up on a Saturday afternoon and hurry) to hear the symphony, which yielded this puzzling view of the theater lobby, rushing in the door...


And at the ticket window, Oh, sorry, the Mozart concert is next weekend! which leads to these photos--representing a rather delightful plan B:

involving an afternoon at the books-and-music store, a cozy dinner at a bar (my valentine and I never gave any forethought to the crowded situation at all dining establishments on Valentine's Eve; thus we considered it good fortune to get seats together, never mind the bonuses: pink lights around our waitperson's neck, Olympic pictures on two screens, and a full-course dinner with enough food carted home to enjoy the next day as a Valentine lunch).


After which we re-traced our steps, arriving at the theater again just in time for the currently-running play.


And then... well, we already had those tickets for the symphony, don't you know (the last two seats in the house when my valentine had called to reserve), meaning (I believe you've already guessed it, Dear Reader) we also got to go back the very next Saturday and hear the symphony orchestra play Mozart.

Ah, and my bootleg photo shows them--the musicians--all dressed in their costumes and powdered wigs...
(okay, not powdered; likely ordered in bulk from wigs-R-us, but still a nice touch).




We had one more dinner on bar stools, a week past Valentine's Day. Perhaps we'll make reservations on future Saturday evenings out; then again, we're kind of getting the hang of having our meals a step up from the crowd. We're likely to go on our hit-or-miss way, but possibly taking a little more care to check event dates...


...
at least for a month or two.









(Oh, there's more to the backlog...that's right, more out-dated photos to come.)



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Thursday, February 18, 2010

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I'D JUST TURNED OFF THE TV SET AND SET ASIDE some time, Dear Reader, to compose a new post; I was all set to set about showing you the set of photos I'd set by for future sharing. Of course, I had my mind set on setting down the details with a story--setting the stage for each picture as is my set habit. But here's where the major setback occurred, where the set-up went sadly awry: The set of tools in my toolbar had hopelessly vanished! (I set free a stream of words that I dare not share,oh, shameful admittance.) I had set too much store by these tools, I now plainly see! I had my heart set on using them always...and effortlessly. Sure, I might possibly limp along without using italics, but set aside the use of my pictures? Oh, never!

With the laptop set before me for an exceedingly long time (far more than enough to set my teeth on edge, I can tell you, Dear Reader), it began to be clear I'd been set up for disappointment; I had set my sights on a goal I could not now attain...unless, somehow, oh happy thought...perhaps I could follow a set of directions that would set me back into the business of blogging with a toolbar!

So I set to with a will; set my eyes on the prize; set my hand to the plow, if you will. If someone online could set me straight, could set forth an easily-followed set of instructions, I could once again set up my photos! I had my heart set on setting in motion a series of (keyboard) actions that would re-set my toolbar, and nothing was going to set me off-course.

The sky long since was set with stars as I frittered away more hours(by now, quite possibly the moon had set as I searched for a site where the tools were set out for regaining a toolbar). But, alas, woe was me...I think I'd set too much store by this wishful plan. My countenance was set in a mournful frown. There was nothing to do, simply nothing to do, but set off on another course!

So I set down my picture-less dilemma for the night, and I simply set sail on a sea of restful slumber--where invariably most troubles are set adrift.



Epilogue: Since that time, I'm awaiting a marvelous miracle, a set of happy happenings, by which I'll regain my toolbar (my italics! my photos! my video clips!) And after that happens, why...I'll be ready, I'll be set, I'll be posting with pictures again!) Are you set, Dear Reader?



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Monday, February 15, 2010

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SAY IT ISN'T SO...suddenly my blog is throwing a tantrum!  There's nothing but a monkey wrench in the toolbar!  In the same way that some folks can't talk without waving their arms, I fear I can't post without pictures!  Something is terribly wrong, and the blog M.D. won't come by with his old black bag.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

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I GOT TO THE BOTTOM OF IT...radio blaring for courage. You'll have to remember, Dear Reader, I was driving down a steep hill yesterday--steep and winding, and only one day past a blizzard. I'd been pretty sure that gravity would get me to the bottom one way or another, but I didn't relish the thought of a sideways slide or a dangerous doolally. That's why I had crept down that hill like molasses in February.









When I got to the bottom, and relative safety, I thought I should show you my wonderful old covered bridge,







because it's very often that tourists and photographers with their fancy equipment are
pleased to find this picturesque gem,











and it's seldom adorned with more snow than it is today. (Notice how the sign says "BRIDGE"--for those who are wary of sheds atop roadways.)


Okay, so the drive down the hill wasn't all that much of a high-wire act, but I thought it enough for my day's allotment of nervous suspense. That's why I was startled to come upon another small heap of it further down the road.



The rest of the trip to the doctor's office was mostly on well-plowed roads, and there wasn't much traffic--only a handful of four-wheel drives and ubiquitous snowplows, as I had suspected. So after I left that medical office, when the sun had used up another hour tidying the roads, I took up the notion that I should be able to run one more errand. By way of main roads, of course. Oh, of course.

But......alas, as I passed the side road that I usually travel, it looked so free of snow--enticingly so. Hmm, I thought. Hmm, why not?

Perhaps because I'm a half-mile in, and, gulp, I sort of forgot that this hill was so steep. Well, I had no choice. Slow and steady thankfully took me to the top; and then, cresting the hill, I started down the other side. I focused on reaching the bottom. Except......uh, what?! Where was the bottom? Surely I wasn't seeing things properly. It looked for all the world like a sea of unplowed snow ahead! It looked for all the world as though some guy on a snowplow had gotten a call: My water broke!!


Or perhaps he was told he could quit at ten, and now it was already ten-0-two, for heaven's sake! Nope, no time to plow to the level and make a turn-around...or post a warning sign.

So there you have it, another few minutes of jittery rue while I backed my way over a slippery snow-covered alp (uh-huh). Then I repentantly made my way home by way of a long and circuitous route--taking care to avoid any road that might suddenly say:

The End!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

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THE BEATLES SANG IT FIRST: "Here Comes the Sun! Doo dah doo doo...and I say: It's all right!!" (exclamation points mine). I can't tell you, Dear Reader, how delighted I was to open my eyes this morning and see that big cheery melting machine popping up over the horizon.



I looked around right away to see how things were. Had anybody pulled back a corner of the white blanket we'd left everything snugly wrapped in last night? Hmm.













I scurried to the front window, camera in hand,
to check on the road situation, and--


what a charming coincidence--I was so tickled to snap a picture of another picture-snapper!

I, myself, had no desire to trot around the chilly outdoors at this hour. My preference involved a white blanket, it's true, but nothing colder than a few quick steps across a bare floor.

By the time I climbed out of bed for the second time, my mouse-trap-emptying, kitchen faucet-replacing, oven-bake-element-installing, snow-shoveling (uh-huh, all of this within the past week--I keep him so busy!) yard man had a wonderfully unwrapped gift to present to me.



I neglected to make a record of the unwrapped car, but that's because I was off to a doctor's appointment--early afternoon. When I called ahead to ensure I wouldn't arrive at an empty office building, the answering service responded, "Your appointment's at 1:00? They will be there at 1:00!"

Wow, they're showing up just in time! I had ended the little debate with myself about the wisdom of traversing roads mostly populated (I presumed) by four-wheel drive vehicles and snowplows, and now I was hoping I'd be there in time, too. Allowing more than double the minutes I'd ordinarily need for the seven-mile drive, I pulled nervously onto the snowy road.

I'm inching along. I'll have to continue this tomorrow, Dear Reader.

(Speaking of tomorrow, I'm singing it again:
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.
I see the ice is slowly melting!)




...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

...

AS THE SNOW RISES HIGHER AND HIGHER
and my world gets whiter and whiter, I turn the music up louder and louder. While I truly do appreciate the beauty of falling snow, there comes a point where enough is enough! This morning it seemed the snow was playing a nice little game of hide-and-seek. Aha! I could still see the car in the driveway. And there was no fooling me--I still recognized those bumps and mounds from the previous storm.

video


But by mid-afternoon I felt like a big old bump myself, and the snow seemed clearly intent on obliterating everything on the horizon. It kept on snowing to beat the band (or at least the Toronto Chamber Orchestra playing Samuel Arnold's Overtures, Op.8.) I should have been moving papers into the filing cabinet, or moving unnecessary items out of cupboards, or maybe just moving myself out of the house (I could have taken a nice little wallow in the snow!) But no, I started to vegetate. I could only rouse myself briefly to tend to a few other vegetative items--and those, poor things, were going into a kettle of soup!

I had to make the soup, you see, for Mr. Yard Man, who was working so hard. "Everything's shut down!" I told him when he came inside after clearing a path to the chicken house. "It's like we're out on the prairie, hundreds of miles from civilization. When we run out of food, we're done for! Thank goodness we'll have eggs," I added, " but I just put the last three potatoes in the soup!"





Well, then...I started to think of it snowing for forty days and forty nights.
I turned up the music a bit, and ran to get the set of Christmas lights that I've started to utilize as 'chase-away-the-gloom-of-short-days-and-long-nights' lights.

I can't tell you how often I filmed the snow falling.
(Well, I couldn't show you the snow plows, Dear Viewer,
as there were none past our house in all of those afternoon hours).
Branches were sagging,
and the afternoon was waning.
Dusk started falling along with the snow.
And then the wind picked up.


I called Ed, the man who plows out my snowed-in tenants.
"Can your plow handle this?!"
I wanted to know.
He assured me it could; and besides, "My son has a really big payloader," he said.
"We can always use that. But it's going to be drifting tonight. There's just no point in my plowing it now.
I'll see how things are in the morning.
"


I upped the music once more
and made myself a banana smoothie
...using the last banana.

That hard-working yard man will eat the final grapefruit.






And then...I guess we'll just see how things are in the morning.


...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

...

"AIN'T LIFE GRAND?!" he seemed to be saying.



(I had a little conversation with this guy today.) "You're doing so well with this current weather," I said to him as I drove by, "You're a fortunate fellow!"

 I'd just heard the news on the car radio:

More snow is expected to arrive tonight. It will fall heavily at times and is expected to accumulate eight to eighteen inches. Blizzard conditions may occur. The extended forecast is for snow to continue-- it will keep on snowing until snow has covered not only the fields, but the fences. Snow, in fact, will continue to fall indefinitely, with a slight chance of a tapering off in early May. Snow accumulations are expected to delay 'spring thaw' until mid-July.
*


*Okay, that's my translation.
 It was rather alarming.




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Saturday, February 6, 2010

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WE HAD A BIRTHDAY BASH IN A BLIZZARD. The meteorologists say no, we didn't actually get a blizzard (not enough sustained wind*). And perhaps it wouldn't rightly be called a bash, either (not enough hoopla); but there was a whole heaping lot of snow today, and the birthday meal was a rather large endeavor.

The birthday celebrant and his wife (who happens to be my daughter-in-law) fortuitously arrived in this area (from southern Virginia) two steps ahead of the snowstorm. While the one was helping my yard man** to cope with the snow,

video

video

the other was devotedly putting together a bang-up meal a la Julia Child.

video

Owing to the fact that so much of the white stuff
was cleaned up so well (with a little help from road crews),
eight of us enjoyed the coq au vin and the
reine de saba avec glacage au chocolat
(oui, it's all French to me, too.)













Even if the main entree was a slight adaptation,
(two more roosters have left the henhouse--
I'm clucking my approval!),
the meal was a great success!








And though I had some grumbling to do
in regards to the snow, I'd have to say,
all-in-all this was a
tres bonne journee!










..........





*Clearly, there was some wind, as no one in this household could have sculpted this snowdrift so elegantly!




** (Lucky for me, my yard man works through the winter, even coming to the rescue when a tenant calls to tell me, The snow's up against my door! I can't get out! )

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

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HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED (In Which I divulge the Answer to the Unsolved Mystery of my Startling Activities Last Saturday Morning)


Some months ago--I can't say precisely when, other than to say it was long, long ago, and could have even been back in the time of spring (ah, I love to think back to those days of yore)--I spotted a small bottle of Essential Oil of Lavender on a store shelf. Thinking how the fragrance of this flowering plant has always pleased me, and remembering that the scent of lavender is supposedly an aid to sleep, I bought it and carried it home. I intended to--well, exactly what I intended to do with it, I don't recall. I suppose I was going to try dabbing a bit on my pillowcase, the better to drift into peaceful slumber. It's possible I was thinking of putting a few drops on the lightbulb in the bathroom, giving a subtle up-lift to the ambiance of that room. Whatever the case, prior to a week ago that lavender oil spent its time in a bathroom cupboard.

Now, follow me as I clean out this bathroom cupboard, Dear Reader, and sigh with exasperation. (I'm the one sighing with exasperation, but you're certainly welcome to do so as well.) Why did I buy this oil and simply squirrel it away? I carry the bottle into the bedroom and deposit it in the little dish that sits on my dresser, right by my side of the bed.

It can sit there while you take another small trip with me--further back in time, and off to another spot. On second thought, you're not so likely to enjoy this visit I'm having with my eye doctor, so why don't you just go your way. You don't need to hear me say, "What?!" in response to her odd revelation. Of course, you'll miss her reassurance, as well, "It's a fairly common occurrence--to sleep with one's eyes partly open. It'll only dry out your eyes."


Okay, hands of the clock whirl forward in time (as your brain whirls, too, Dear Reader, and the mystery unravels)...

Last Saturday I awoke very early, and closed my eyes. (They hurt, you see, when they're dry like that.) In the dark of night, I felt for my eye drops--right there in the little dish by the bed. I unscrewed the lid on the bottle.

And... I think I can honestly say: I will never enjoy the scent of lavender again!*





*Directly into my left eye, I dumped two-thirds of a bottle of Essential Oil of Lavender. I highly recommend you don't try this stunt, Dear Reader. You can't imagine how ghastly! The awful feel of it in one's eye! The wretched scent of it! And, oh--the horrid taste, which fills one's head and runs into one's throat! (Writing about it six days hence, one can feel inclined to gag!)


...
Epilogue: Well, after the spitting and coughing and more spitting and coughing (I didn't want to swallow), and the nose-blowing (tears make one's nose run, you know), and the fifteen-minute shower, with water running into my eye (as per the nice woman who answered the phone at Poison Control), and the triple shampoo (would I really have lavender-scented hair my remaining years?!), and the gargling with soy milk (hey, I was desperate!)...

I threw out my pillow (if only a dab would put me to sleep, then yikes--I might even now still be sleeping!)



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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

...


OH, MR. GROUNDHOG, you broke my heart!

























(I'll tell, I will!--tomorrow)