Sunday, July 31, 2011


At which my yard man and I join three friends;
Are treated to several types of entertainment;

Convince two of our friends to follow us up (down) to
to the stage, where the dancing mob is growing in size and
working itself into a frenzy of body motions;

Have a grand old time doing likewise!*

*Sadly, I fear I'm speaking only for myself. All three friends just laughed when I said, "Come on, dance!" And that yard man, he was standing behind me. When the final encore ended, I was exhausted and exhilarated. "Wow, that was terrific!" I exclaimed. "Did you dance?"
He shrugged his shoulders.
Tsk. Tsk.


Saturday, July 30, 2011


IT'S BEEN VERY HOT lately, and I've been working like a dog for the past few days, (although about the only thing I can think of that dogs actually work at would be pulling sleds. And it's almost too obvious to note, but--that would mean they're working in cold and snowy conditions, [idyllic!]).

In my preparations for two new sets of tenants, I was scrubbing floors, changing light bulbs, washing air conditioner filters, scrubbing tub-shower units, replacing a toilet seat, scrubbing sinks and counters, replacing stove burner plates, cleaning refrigerators, replacing mini-blinds, cleaning ovens, replacing a piece of dryer venting, washing greasy old light bulb covers from stove hoods (actually, only one, since the other was missing and not available in the depths of any hardware store....Are you sick and tired of hearing about it already, Dear Reader?! Uh, huh. Then you can only imagine my euphoria, my absolute thrill at handing out keys yesterday evening!

In the course of turning over these two apartments, I made countless trips to hardware stores (surprisingly enough, not all big-box hardware stores stock exactly the same items. While one may have a 9-1/2" by 7-1/2" filter for a non-ducted stove hood exhaust fan, another can lure one on into its depths--spurred by encouragement from store personnel who only know the whereabouts, but not the specifics--only to let the now-sorely-frustrated one down).

Part of the problem was mine, of course, in that I did not think long and hard, and list absolutely every item I might conceivably need in order to get the job done before setting out for the hardware store. That would entail doing a fine-tooth-comb kind of a search for problems, as opposed to my usual way of casually glancing around and thinking, "Hmm, the tenants left this unit in pretty good shape. Shouldn't be too big of a deal. I'll run get some stove burner plates and a mini-blind."

Dear Reader, I'm too prone to do that kind of thinking . And not only does it cause me many trips to the store, but it causes me to forgo calling on the Amish woman who usually cleans apartments for me, and setting out to do it myself, since it'll be, you know, so simple this time...

Aaaaargh. It was quite bad enough before the air conditioner in Apartment Fifty-six went on the blink. (Yes, yes, that's exactly what I said: the AIR CONDITIONER broke down! That summer sanity-saver left me high and dry! [ can only imagine, Dear Reader, how low and sweaty it left me!]) And thus ensued the Grand Snafu of Re-rental Week. Double and Triple Aaaargh!

Of course you're going to hear about it, Reader Dear. I'll tell you about Christine, and Carl and Chris, and the quirky quandary. It'll have to be tomorrow, that's all. I've been working like a dog, you know!


Friday, July 29, 2011


It rained.
I mean it, Dear Reader; after all this long time, it finally rained!
Water was making all kinds of beautiful music as it hit the pavement,
gurgled over the clogged gutter spouts, fell with zeal against the leaves of the trees, and the parched and waiting lawn. It was dark outside, but I heard the symphony. So I went out to the front porch and stood there for quite a while, reveling in the fact that the rain was coming down with such vigor.

The neighbors have lights at the entrance to their driveway; they lit up the wet roadway, making it possible for me to watch the rain as it did its furious tap dance.
It would be so lovely to say that I danced and frolicked, myself.
I wish I could tell you, Reader Dear, that I stripped off my clothes
and ran out into the glorious downpour, throwing out my arms
and turning my face to the wet night sky.
Had I even slipped off my sandals and
ventured off the porch with my
garments about me,
that would be
to say.

But I just came inside.
And this is what I have
to tell you:

It rained!*


Sunday, July 24, 2011


THE YARD MAN AND I HAVE many Amish neighbors. And the yard man counts lots of Amish among his friends (he's better-acquainted with them than I am, as he works with Amish in many of his draft-horse endeavors). Yesterday evening he told me, "We're going out to eat tonight, and I invited Gideon and Barbara to go with us."

The two of them fit into all three categories: They are neighbors of ours; they are friends; and they are Amish.

We went to a busy restaurant that caters to tourists. Now, tourists in this area of the country are always very curious about the Amish. En route to the restaurant, we passed lots of enterprises utilizing the word Amish. "Amish Stuff" is the name of one store that made us laugh, as we tried to imagine what the shoppers expected to find there. Suspenders? Fake beards? Or just, you know, stuff like Amish belly-button fuzz.

When we came into the lobby of the restaurant, there was a video playing on a screen. What do you know--it was a video about The Amish. Well, Gideon and Barbara were interested in watching. The yard man and I were, too. What kind of silly notions might the producer of this movie have, concerning Amish folks?

Allaying our suspicions, we soon realized it was a well-made documentary. It covered all kinds of topics, from the making of church pews to notions about whether mules are truly meant to exist (Just a note, Dear Reader, in the event your sex education never extended this far: Mules are the offspring of a female horse bred to a male donkey. Two mules cannot mate. Ha! There's also such a thing as a hinny.* If you know what that is, Reader Dear, I'll eat my hat! At least, I'll just move right along, and eat my buffet dinner.) But, back to my tale...
"Yes, they've got it right," Gideon was soon saying about many of the subjects mentioned in the video: Amish family life, barn-raisings, Amish beliefs about a variety of things. And Barbara was nodding her agreement. We stood and watched for at least twenty minutes.

It was somewhat late in the evening, the supper rush was over; but people were still coming into the restaurant, and other groups were leaving, as we stood there engrossed in the movie. The lobby was pretty full when a young girl of about ten or eleven approached Barbara shyly. "Are you Amish?" she wanted to know.

"Yes, we are," responded Barbara. Then she said to the girl, "And what are you?"

The girl paused. She had a slightly perplexed look on her face as she thought for a moment. Then she said,"I'm normal."

Poor thing. I'm sure she had no idea why we were all laughing heartily as she slipped away in the crowded lobby. The yard man and I joked about our abnormal friends all through our meal.
And when we dropped Gideon and Barbara off at their house later in the evening, they were eager to report the event to their children.  "Don't know how normal people would react," they chuckled, "but we'll be laughing about this for a long time to come!"


Saturday, July 23, 2011



I've tried not to vociferate too vehemently about it, Reader Dear.
After all, heat goes with summer like chilly winds,
and snow and ice and sleet and frost and icicles go with winter (ahh, chilly winds...!)


Friday, July 22, 2011


I HAVE A FRIEND who invited me to go on a staycation-daycation with her. (She didn't call it that; it's strictly my slightly cheesy description for spending a delightful five hours popping into one air-conditioned shop after another in the small town of Lititz [this town being a mere four miles from my front door]).

We set out on this venture at this sizzling time (hottest day since Summer in the City [back of my neck gettin' dirty and gritty*]) and we stayed cool, and certainly did not waste the day!

There were antique shops,
and scented soaps-and-candles gift shops,
and jewelry-and-antiques gift shops,
and scented soaps-and-fabrics gift shops,
and kitchen gifts-and-scented body lotion shops,
and baby gifts-and-scented soy candles shops,
and clothing-and-bags-and-antiques shops.

I took lots of photos in one particular shop; there was an old woman there bundled up in a heavy black coat (and on such a frightfully hot day!) The coat and the purse she carried were both antiques (and she, herself, very nearly!) I must say, it was rather embarrassing for me, the way my friend giggled at this poor dear. Can you believe it, she even took a picture, then burst out laughing!

But then we moved on to another cool shop, and we saw this piece of wall decor:

We complimented the store owner, and discovered it was her own handiwork. So now my friend and I are determined to take a staycation-daycation-art-creation at some point (strictly my description; her words were: "Hey, we oughta be able to make something like that!")

It was a very cool day we had, this hottest day since Sunny Afternoon (in a summertime, in a summertime.....*)

*Yes, Dear Reader, haven't had a day
this steamy hot since 1966!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011



HOW OFTEN, DEAR READER, HAVE YOU raved over the colors of autumn? Those brilliantly-hued leaves! They are always impressive, its true. I've oohed and aahed with the best of the fall sightseers. But I'm here to ask you:

Can you EAT those colors?!

BLUEBERRIES and black raspberries.
These waiting patiently to be consumed with my breakfast cereal are from the neighbors' berry farm. I stopped by on Monday and got blueberries. "How much longer will you have them?" I asked the girl at the stand. (It's a two-week old photo; the raspberries were around for two short weeks. Alas, Week Two was the one just past).

"We'll have the last of the blueberries on Wednesday," she told me. "That's our final day for the season."

It was about four p.m. when I thought of it today, rushed there, and was blue to discover that I was too late!

RED bell peppers. These two have grown at my kitchen window, becoming less shy as the days have gone by. Now they're showing their true colors! Their reward will be a spot on the heavenly green salad I'm making for supper!

YELLOW Patty pans.
Patty, Patty, you and your tiny offspring are such an exquisite shade of sunny yellow!

And talk about gasping...
Oh, you little beauty queen!!

(I'll have to confess, Reader Dear, it's kind of difficult for me to chop up the Patties and put them in my stir-fry. But, oh my...


ORANGE (er...peach-colored) peaches! I stopped at a local roadside stand to buy them. "Do they like to cling?" I asked the seller. The answer was no.
So I got ready to buy a little paper box of them. Then I spotted a bagful with a sign, Seconds--$1.50.
In response to my, "What's their problem?" the young woman told me they had some unlovely spots.
Well, the ones on the top didn't look all that bad. So I brought them home--those little not-so-needy pariahs.

I exclaimed to my yard man , "nineteen very nice peaches for less than ten cents apiece. Someone didn't know what they were doing when they rejected these fuzzy little babushkas! They're going right into a cobbler, so get ready!" (He did so with relish!)

GREEN zucchini. I've got no photos of the green veggies (other than their spot in my stir-fry). Nor can I show you RED watermelon, the type of which my yard man and I have been gorging ourselves for lo, these many weeks. There are lots more colors, of course, but I can't talk about them now, Reader Dear. That's simply because I am busy...

...EATING the colors of summer!

Sunday, July 17, 2011



Another Sunday evening--
another concert in the park.

At which, The Yard Man and I were joined by
a friend;

and she, in turn, (when we went to get ourselves
some edibles), was joined by
a butterfly!

The butterfly was the first to leave.
Then, as the concert seemed to be winding down,
our friend also left for home.

That's when The Yard Man and I went down
to the stage and danced through quite a few
encores with the sizable crowd that had congregated

Even when the band quit playing, our evening
was not quite over. Back at the car, we
reconnected with the couple to whom we'd loaned lawn
chairs. Though perfect strangers when they parked
next to us upon arriving, I could write you, Dear Reader,
a handy little non-fiction paperback featuring
Jack and Theresa,* (who are tourists in the area just now)
since our twenty minute chat before leaving!

The rotund moon overhead was waning on us
as we drove home.

Long live summer!!

He likes to "eat healthy." She loves all the Amish food in
the area! She was born and bred in Brooklyn. Oh, my
gosh! Her grandfather had a house between Sixth and
Seventh (and my sister lives on First)! But Jack grew up in
New Jersey. He's a farm boy....*
Okay, okay, I said I could write a book, but that doesn't mean I want to.

Saturday, July 16, 2011



WELL, DEAR READER; I'm wondering if I'll ever post again.
Will I ever tell you about my daughter's birthday celebration on Wednesday evening?

Or exclaim about charming (and darling) little Marina, with whom I spent the afternoon today, jaunting around to thrift shops? (Her mama led the expedition, and my daughter was the member of the party who was the birthday recipient).

And I'm curious about this, Reader Dear: Will I ever lay out
my childhood art for your inspection, as I quasi-promised?
(I've got so much to show you!)

And how about the Chocolate Mint that's causing
my heart to go pit-a-pat! Will I give you a descriptive taste of the heavenly drink I brewed?

I'm taking a great big sigh. All I can tell you is:
The answer is anybody's guess, Reader Dear.
Anybody's guess!
Care to?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


DID SOMEONE SHOUT "FIRE!" in an uncrowded park?!

Today I set out to take my arm-swinging walk (Yes, Dear Reader, I've been quietly walking those loops about every evening since summer began. [I know, I can hardly believe it, myself--I haven't said a word! Well, mostly it's because it's been so uneventful there at the park. I mean, they did away with the pond; Mr. Bullfrog had to move. And then they put up more housing for birds; some discrimination going on there, I'd say.

But mostly it's been just the same old creek flowing along, green grass growing, and American flag fluttering on its flagpole. I meet and greet a few dogs and their owners, but other than the two young boys with their BB guns, and my admonition to them to use caution--I wished to keep both my eyes, I've had no contacts about which to regale you.

Thus my instant attention at the sight of snow in the middle of summer! [Had I not arrived when I did, I'd have looked at that fire-fighting foam on the ground and suspected some pretty large snafu had occurred with the weather!)

By the time I arrived, the swarm of firefighters
was spraying only water; but it was fine
entertainment, the likes of which Mr. Bullfrog
never managed to provide (bless his heart
for trying).

As I was finishing up the second of my four
loops, all the firefighters clambered aboard
their trucks and exited the park with red
lights flashing.

That's when I noticed one more truly
unusual occurrence for this prim and proper
little park: The port-a-potty that generally stands
in a corner of the parking lot was now lying in a corner of the lot!

I left in a hurry, Reader Dear, a bit as though someone had shouted "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Because--while it was a rather pleasant thought to imagine snow in July--well, ugh! I can't say the same for letting my imagination run wild around that potty!


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Or, I should say, I'm really rockin' at keeping the "found"s neck-to-neck with the "lost''s.
(Hmm...won't it be exciting--[you know you'll be the first to hear it, Reader Dear!]--if the "found"s pull into the lead!)

So I'll give you the picture (if I can): This afternoon we were off to the concert in the park, my Yard Man and I. We went early and took a picnic supper for the Little Actor and some of his groupies. (Alas, no pictures of that; yes, I had my camera, but neglected to use it). Little Actor had to go home to bed; but then, friends showed up and helped us eat the leftovers (Sorry, no pictures of that, either; still had my camera, but failed to use it.) It was another frabjous summer evening! Another great concert! (Sorry, no pictures of that...

You know, Dear Reader, there's an old adage: "USE it or LOSE it." How the fluky fortune was I to know this pertains to CAMERAS?!

I sat and gabbed non-stop with my friend (the female of the party who joined The Yard Man and me. I'm sure the males had a conversation, but I'm certain they did not gab.) I barely bothered to bask in the bluesy sounds of the band, so intense was our babbling. And before you know it, folks were applauding the encore. Heading home.

That's exactly what The Yard Man and I did; we called it an evening, exclaiming once again about the beauty of these summer evening concerts. At home, we carried the picnic paraphernalia into the house--and that's when I missed my camera. My camera!

Alas, I knew the very spot I'd left it--right there atop the T.P. dispenser in the ladies' restroom!
"Ha," offered my Yard Man, "that's the last you'll see of that camera!" But, hmmm. I pondered his statement and decided I'd have to put it to the test.

It was nine forty-five. I hopped in the car and drove the ten miles back to the park, hoping there'd still be a few people lingering there. Hoping the restrooms would still be lit up. Hoping against hope my camera'd still be right there, keeping a lens on the T.P. dispenser.

I drove through the dark park, winding my way to the location of the restrooms. A few other vehicles were still roaming the grounds, a very scarce scattering of people. The restroom was still lit. camera!

So, then...
I saw there was still activity at the stage; it was still lit up. As fast as I could, I got myself across the dark, grassy expanse of lawn and up to the two men loading a truck. "Are you part of the band?" I asked.
"Sound system!" was the terse reply.
"Do you know, is there anyone here from the park?" I asked.
"Uh," the fellow craned his neck. "I think Betty's still here. Yeah, over there in the green shirt."
I made my way around the loading area and over to the edge of the stage, and Betty was there to greet me.

"What are ya' looking for?" she asked, her hand moving toward the pocket of her shorts.
(I can't tell you how it boosted my fragile optimism when I saw that hand hovering over that pocket!)

"I left my camera in the restroom." I replied. "I didn't know if you have a 'lost and found' anywhere or..."

"What kind of camera?" She was now reaching into her pocket, but paused while I searched my brain, and then told her what brand of camera. Upon hearing it, she pulled forth my lovely little Lumix (absence makes the heart grow fonder, they also say), and passed it over to me. "Someone turned it in!" she said.

"Thank you! Wow, how nice," I exclaimed. "My husband told me I'd never see it again!"

"Well," she said. "If you think that's something, last week when we had that really huge crowd, a man lost his hearing aid, and he found it again! Isn't that amazing?"

Having been in that great huge crowd, I did agree!

And now then, with my lovely little Lumix in hand, I can give you, Reader Dear, the picture:

Of this sight I discovered as I was leaving the nearly-deserted park.
A single (older) couple was dancing in one of the empty pavilions, to music
they carried with them.

It was so pleasing to me that I've decided to count it as a second
delightful "find"!

Causing the "found"s to pull into the lead!
(Didn't I tell you, you'd be the first to


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Yes, Dear Reader: yes, yes, without further delay:
I'm already here at the following day; in fact, it's the very hot
afternoon of the following day. I've searched the house for those
garage keys; searched the floor of the car; searched my briefcase.

Now I'm driving over to the garage units.
There is my plumber friend, working away at what is now "his"
garage space. The door is raised, open. He greets me, happy to show me
that he's carted away the junk. He's already swept the place clean!
(Of course, he had to sweep around the old electrical box that weighs
I'll bet a ton. How that's to be disposed of without a forklift, I
have no idea.)
"Bad news! You didn't happen to see the keys, did you?" I asked. I told him how I'd found the little wire ring, but no keys. I was searching the grass outside the garage door as we talked.

"Well, I did see something shiny in the dirt as I swept the floor," he said.
"It was small, I didn't bother checking it out. Boy, was there a lot of dirt!"

"Oh, no!" I moaned. "Then I guess it's gone. It could have been one of the keys."

"No," he said. "I put all the dirt in a bag. It's right here! He was already grabbing the big black plastic bag that sat in the corner. He knelt on the floor and opened the bag. "I'll look. It could be here..." He was pawing through the great mound of dust and dirt.
Dust was rising in choking clouds.
"Agggh! Bring that bag outside!" I ordered. "That's awful!"

He dragged the bag out into the sun, and continued to sift through it, pulling out big strands of old insulation. I stepped away, searching the grass. "What do you know, I found one!" he exclaimed. And sure enough, he had one of the keys! "I might be able to find the other one, too," he said. He continued digging, sifting handfuls of the dusty dirt.

"Oh, stop!" I said. "It's not necessary! I can always get copies made. Thank goodness for this one!"

But he was determined, and he kept on with the dirty job.
And then suddenly...
I shrieked!


I was astounded, couldn't believe my eyes. "IT'S MY EARRING! THIS IS INCREDIBLE!" (I was still shrieking). The plumber had frozen in action. My voice came down an octave, but I continued to fling exclamations far and wide. "I lost it a long, long time ago! It was more than a year ago! It was one of my favorites...I got the earrings at a's just amazing!... and it's glass; it's made of GLASS!!"

The plumber was impressed, and he was happy I'd found my earring; but he was more interested in finding the other key. He went on digging through the dirt. I, however, took my earring to the car. The keys no longer concerned me. No, I was on Cloud Nine! I still had this earring's mate!

Just weeks ago I had cleaned up the messy array of ear jewelry that cluttered my dresser top. I paused when I came to the lone earring that I'd purchased from the gift shop of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I'd only gotten to wear the set for a few months before I lost this one's mate. So long ago! Should I pitch it? I asked myself. Most women would! You're a hopeless pack rat! Throw it out! I preached. Just do it!
I volleyed, and ultimately this argument won out: It's so very small. Better to keep it. Who knows when the style may be mismatched earrings!
But now here it was--my precious prodigal earring!
I took it home and reunited the two.
And I said to my yard man, "All that stomping around, and hauling of things in and out. It is made of glass! And...and...suppose I wouldn't have gone over there to the garage when I did! Had I not lost the keys! Had he not swept the floor! Had he not seen a glint! Had he not still had the bag of dirt! Had he not been willing to dig through it! Had I not insisted he bring it outside into the sun! Had he not persisted in looking for the second key! Had I not been watching at EXACTLY the right moment!!!"

(AHEM, Reader Dear. What say you?
Shriek-worthy or no?!)


Friday, July 8, 2011


AH, ME...I HOPE YOU WERE NOT TOSSING and turning last night (and the night before), Reader Dear, consumed by curiosity! And it's my wish, the days did not find you unable to concentrate! I scurried back here as soon as I could to give you the climactic conclusion; shriek coming up!

The installation of the new garage door took place:

with much noise, but not a lot of to-do. The installer handed me the new keys,
two little gold ones on a thin wire loop.

That thin wire loop with the little gold keys went immediately onto my big wire loop with my humongous wad of keys (a landlord's burden to bear). Then, oh, wow...I could operate that garage door by myself! I raised and lowered it several times just for the novelty of it! (Don't roll your eyes, Reader Dear, at home I've been sans-garage nearly all of my life!) Next I pondered the pile of items that still littered the interior of that garage. That Yard Man and Linus had roared away in the truck just prior to the doorman's arrival. They took a big load of things. But left behind was everything deemed worthless. Junk. Salvage.

I wondered around, hoping The Yard Man would show up again; then, voila! who materialized but the plumber who hoped to utilize this semi-empty space. "I'll take care of all this," he told me, surveying the debris. "I'll do it tomorrow." He was eager to take up occupancy!

"Fabulous!" I said. "I'll leave it unlocked. I'll stop by tomorrow."

Now, Dear Reader, forgive me as I hop to Act two, in which I'm preparing to hop into bed. As I'm undressing, I hear the small "ping" of something hitting the floor. When I look, I find a thin metal loop. It's--ah, me--it's the loop that held the garage keys! My heart does a little loop-de-loop. Heavens, what happened to the garage keys?!

Now, Dear Reader, forgive me as I leave you dangling a second time! (Be glad, after all, you're not dangling on a thin wire loop!!) This is distressing me; but I promise you (as I told the plumber), I'll stop by tomorrow.
Truly I will! And you'll hear me shriek!*

(*Phooey. I can hear you thinking it already...!
But no, Reader Dear. The key to my shrieking does
not involve keys. Nope. Nyet. It does not!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


READY YOURSELF FOR A TALE, Reader Dear! I told my yard man the story in bursts of animation during supper, and finished off with the following: "It seems to me the chances of this happening are about a million to one!" I love haphazard surprises (of the good sort, naturally) and coincidental events, and... well, just wait til you hear! Just to give you some idea of the marvel of it, a shriek is involved!
Yes, indeedy!

Of course, since I've built it up to such monumental proportions, I might have to cover my ears when you say, "Oh, phooey!" (It's okay, if you really must.)

Now, first, I'll have to set up the whole thing for you, which is not my favorite part (I want to skip directly to the shriek. Which would be such a dumb thing to do. Shrieks alone do not interest me much, and I daresay you'd have the same sentiment.)

At those apartments that I mention now and then, I've got a three-unit garage building. Two of the spaces have been rented out for quite some time, but the third...ah, the third had been...well, ...uh...the third had been serving as my catch-all. Aaargh! This means it had been filling up with all kinds of paraphernalia. In the first place, there were ancient pieces of equipment in that garage that came with the building when I got it fourteen long years ago! There was something that looked like it may have been the latest in portable bed frames circa the 1920's; a hunky old electrical box of some kind that weighs I'll bet a ton; and various other truly decrepit articles not worth a dime. In addition to all of that, I piled it full of odds and ends of furnishings gleaned from vacated apartments ( items that just barely squeaked into the "save" category); cans of paint; a rattly extension ladder; stove burner plates, hanging vertical blinds and faucets still in their boxes (for replacements, you know); a charcoal grill (that was a tenant leave-behind, too); an old treadle Singer sewing machine (Y2K was looming when I made the purchase) in its antique cabinet--drawers stuffed with antique thread and other sewing items; a rotary push-mower (uh...the dread of Y2K was powerful enough to cause one to take leave of one's senses). There was also an abundance of stuff (furniture, bicycles, boxes of who-knows-what) stored there by children of mine.

Okay, so now you understand that the place was crammed quite full. And due to the fact that most things had dwelt there for years, while never once did I "tidy up," it's to be assumed it was dirty. The place was dirty.

Too, the garage door was in very poor condition. In fact, the springs were shot, making it impossible for me to open it myself. Ah, the whole situation was deplorable! So when the plumber who services the apartments for me inquired about using that garage space, I knew it was time to
take action.

First things first--I ordered a new garage door! Secondly, I pretty-please-oh-please'd The Yard Man, would he come and give me a hand?! (He had Linus to help him out, after all!) Not right away, you understand, but eventually there came a begrudging yes...

So Hurray for The Yard Man and Linus--they're hard at work! And I'm getting ever so tired just filling in the back story! The sad truth is, Reader Dear, you are going to have to sleep tonight without knowing the cool conclusion to this chronicle. It's--To Be Continued.


Monday, July 4, 2011



Though not quite as loud as the third, and a little less spectacular, the celebration today was not shabby!
My yard man and I enjoyed another cookout. I stuffed some eggs with that devilish concoction again, and off we went.

Our afternoon was filled with yummy food, visiting, and lots of cute children.

Later in the day our agenda once again included yummy food, visiting... and one cute child--this child actually being not only cute, but smart, well-behaved, creative, funny (in the ha-ha, adorable way, of course), well-adjusted, sweet....(I could say more), and an amazing little actor, to boot! (Is it really necessary to tell you, Reader Dear, it was the Little Actor, himself?! [Rhetorical question, you don't need to shake your head, no]). He was accompanied by his usual caretakers and two guests, making for a delightful group of seven.

And then, my goodness, as we finished up our meal, the sky was lit up with one great big firework!

Later on I did get a front-row (er, front porch) seat to
some more of the noisy kind, too. It was almost
the end of the Fourth. That yard man was already in bed
by the time the neighbors across the street started their cracking
and popping.

Up the street, our Hollering Neighbor thought
to wake his wife--
"Look out yer window, Honey!"

But I always think it best to let sleeping spouses lie!

And how was your Fourth, Reader Dear?
(If you don't wish to answer, you may stand on the Fifth)


Sunday, July 3, 2011




There was a pool-side cookout at the home of my Yard Man's nephew, featuring grilled gustatory greats by the grilling guru of the family.
And homemade ice cream.


And following that:

The Yard Man and I met up with our young friend, Linus, and his father and younger brother, who have now joined him here in the U.S. Along with them were six other Germans, traveling as tourists. We took this group of nine internationals with us to the holiday concert and fireworks display at the park (you know, Dear Reader, the same park to which we've been traipsing for Sunday evening concerts since summer began!) The crowd there was so massive, and we arrived just minutes before the band struck up, so the Yard Man and Linus' dad dropped the rest of us off at the entrance and drove away to find parking for the vehicles.

If you concentrate a bit, Dear Reader, you might easily figure out that this action left me alone to guide the group into the sea of lawn chairs and spread blankets and blanketed spreads (not to mention eager concert-goers milling everywhere). "Linus, Linus!" I exclaimed. "Where shall we go? There's no empty space anywhere!"

But I bravely plunged into the array, and my little assemblage followed after, lawn chairs in hand. It was hot. We were too close to the food vendors. Then we got too close to the huge speakers where one couldn't see and the noise level was too loud. Mostly the problem was not enough space. It seemed that always just ahead might be a better spot. After a muddled trek far into the interior, one German woman had had enough! She pointed and said, "!!!!"

Linus told me, "She is saying we should go back!"

We did.

Ah, Germans to the rescue--we finally had ourselves situated in an adequate spot. I called the Yard Man to tell him where he'd find us. He did not answer.

"Forty thousand people here this evening!" The announcement from the stage as the band began to play.

Hmm. I called the Yard Man again. Still no answer. Questions began popping like fireworks. What if I can't get through to the Yard Man?! How on earth would he find us? How would I ever get these German-speaking folks out of here?!Nervously, I phoned once more. Still that Yard Man did not answer; I left a message.

After which, I happened to look at the sky. Oh, great gray possibilities! Was it just my imagination, or did a thunderstorm seem imminent?!

It was just my imagination.
The Yard Man and Linus' dad showed up.
The band played on.

It was another great concert in the park,

complete with cannons...


things bursting in air.

And, fortune smiled, it took us less than an hour to
walk to the cars and exit the parking lot!
Like I said, it was an excellent day of celebrating.
It would have made a fabulous Fourth of July!*

*(Had it not been the Third of July).

Saturday, July 2, 2011



In truth, you really don't have to know a thing about draft horses in order to appreciate Horse Progress Days, Reader Dear. The whole idea of the event is to demonstrate all the new equipment that's been invented during the previous year for use with the horses; and watching these big steeds in action is pretty amazing.

But...oh, my goodness...watching all the horse-watchers is what had me enthralled!

Far more than half of the folks showing up for these activities are Amish, and there is just something so doggone cute about little Amish boys all dressed in their look-alike straw hats and suspenders.

Put them behind a miniature horse, and it's guaranteed to tickle your fancy, Reader Dear!
(I'm only assuming your fancy's a bit like mine; if I'm correct, it just means you're going to be seeing these next few photos and wishing that you could have been at Horse Progress Days... watch for yourself the horse watchers. And even to watch the watchers like me, who were watching both the watchers and the watched!

Of course, besides horses and horse equipment, there were throngs of vendors at this event, as well. So if all you wished to do was peruse the tents filled with goods and foods, it'd be worth your while. (Why, I ask myself, why did I not take a photo of the "fry pie" assembly line [the row of Amish women constructing fruit-filled pastries, deep-frying and glazing them]?! At the very least I could have shown you a specific blueberry one before I ate it). Alas, you missed all that, dear reader of mine.

Which convinces me that you really should bestir yourself and come have a look of your own when next you hear of Horse Progress Days!*

*(Stay away, however, if great crowds give you the willies. My yard man returned from Day Two this evening, completely bushed. "Counting both days," he said, "we had twenty-one thousand people!"**)

**If you think that's something, Reader Dear, he also gave me this mind-boggling number: Six-hundred and fifty buggies on Day Two alone. And each with a creature to pull it!
Now that's what I'd call horses progressing!


Friday, July 1, 2011


THAT YARD MAN OF MINE could also be called a Horse Man. Surely I've made mention of his interest in them previously, but likely I haven't emphasized just how greatly he enjoys them! Specifically, his area of interest is draft horses. Those are the big kind, Dear Reader; they are horses the size of baby elephants--muscle-bound, hard-working, farm horses!

Now, I can't give you the full run-down on all that my yard man, The Horse Man, contributed to the event which I attended today; but I can tell you what they call it--Horse Progress Days.

Today was Day One of the two-day
affair, and the weather was outstanding! My goodness, have I got photos for you!

Yes....yes, I do.
You'll have to come back on Day Two.