Monday, October 31, 2011

REPORTS ON THE CELEBRITY birthday continue, as promised. The star first made an appearance around noon today on the sidewalk in front of his house, taking a spin on the birthday bike he received just last night.

Later he was spotted at a large antique market in the western part of the county, where he was highly entertained by a bird that squawked at him. (It just so happens, Dear Reader, that there is a Pet Shop in the basement below those antique shops; it is nothing fancy, you can count on it, but the bird and the few rabbits and the guinea pigs that reside there were of far more interest to the Little Actor than the inanimate objects thirty to fifty or more times his age.)

Bystanders next captured him on camera at a riverside location, where he made the discovery of a waffle (though you, Reader Dear, may call it seepage from a waterpipe, or even perhaps a waterfall).

Toward evening, patrons at a local restaurant were suprised and pleased to find themselves sharing space with the young celebrity (particularly the six who were lucky enough to be eating at his table). Even the musician providing the dinner music was honored to be performing for someone so charming, and voiced appreciation of his young guest to all the restaurant diners.

Word has it that the Little Actor tired from the long day of celebration and left the restaurant with his caretakers a bit ahead of the remaining four of his dinner party (the Canadian couple claiming to be his grandparents, and the Yard Man and myself, who make the same identical claim!) and went home to bed. It is unknown at this point how long festivities will continue. Check this blog, Reader Dear, for future exclusive reports!


Sunday, October 30, 2011


YESTERDAY WE HAD THAT SIX INCHES of snow, which put a cold, colorless coating on the day! But in the evening--oh, my, in the evening, Dear Reader--what color!

What color and cheer and balloons and cake and devoted parents and doting grandparents* and other adoring fans, and presents to unwrap! A well-known celebrity is about to turn two, and the gala, star-studded party celebrating this event took place last night!
*even the international ones!

What a sugar high for the little celebrity!

What an Isn't-he-Adorable-my-Little-Actor high for me!

(Festivities resumed and continued throughout the day today, and will be reported on throughout the day tomorrow!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Missing: October's bright blue skies! The vibrant colors of autumn! The frabjous weather about which I so recently rhapsodized!

It's all been snatched away!

I've been stolen blind! least, well, I've been blinded by falling snow! (Of course, Reader Dear, I am not the only one missing these things; everyone in my neck of the woods has suffered these loses as well! Many were loudly complaining at the post office and bank when I crept to these spots this morning!)

In light of this impoverishment, I'm guessing there will be no reason for the yard man to leave all the lawn chairs strewn around the bonfire site, hoping for a follow-up. Though who's to know? Perhaps there could be a bonfire in the snow!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I'VE GOT A GALLIMAUFRY, Reader Dear, on this (yet another) gorgeous day! I'm going to give it to you in one great glob.
Salads: easiest meal ever! These are two that I recently tossed. I think of salads as my works of art. (My yard man thinks of them as pretty good, if they've got some meat, cheese or plenty of peanuts atop).

Tomatoes: easiest vegetable to work into a meal! Soup, salad, sliced, sauced, salsa'd... They're pretty easy to grow, too, sometimes vining right up out of the compost pile that's hidden away behind the storage shed.

Copper Beach trees: always spectacular! (Or at least that's my personal opinion, which is not surprising considering that twenty-seven years ago I coerced my yard man into planting this one that stood half-grown and shimmering in our yard this afternoon. (Yes, Reader Dear--half-grown! When we purchased this tree, on the eleventh anniversary of the day my yard man signed on with me, the nurseryman told us, "Fifty years to maturity!" [He was speaking of the tree]).

Pear trees: at times surprisingly fruitful! Someone planted two pear trees in our yard long before my yard man and I arrived here. A husband and wife I like to suppose.*

*The trees, Dear Reader! I'm speaking of the trees--only one of them has ever borne pears. The other stands near her side and never says a word, but I'm sure he plays a role!

(I had not been keeping an eye on the Mrs. lately. I was delighted when the yard man pointed out this afternoon that she's got a whole crop of offspring. They are kind of hard, wild little things, but more abundant and plumper than most years!)

Horses: sometimes found hitched by fours! I've already informed you that it was a perfect day for lolling outdoors (I did say gorgeous, did I not?) Since my yard man is seldom inclined to loll, he hitched up a quartet of these creatures, and trotted off up the road to work.*
*Work the ground, that would be. At his vegetable patch, of course!

Little Actors: sometimes busy climbing the ladder to success! Other times, as on this gorgeous afternoon, they just want to climb a ladder--any old ladder--again and again. And again! It's where this gallimaufry comes to an end...

Monday, October 24, 2011


SUPERLATIVE! THE WEATHER YESTERDAY, Reader Dear, was enough to make me think that life is a bed of roses; that Murphy's Law is a manifest misrepresentation of the truth; that whatever will be, will be wonderful; that weeds and thorns and gloomy skies are the rarest of rare abberations; that there will always be singing; that world peace is a plausible possibility!

Yes, the weather was fantastic! Staying indoors was out of the question! I took a walk past the house of my Amish neighbors, and I could see by the excess of buggies parked there and the line-up of hats on the porch that "church" was going on.
And, oh my goodness... I could hear the singing! (Pertinent pause)...hmm, what was it I just said, Listener Dear?!

It was definitely that kind of day!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

YESTERDAY MY YARD MAN dragged lawn debris and several big logs down to the assigned spot in our meadow, and we hosted the Bonfire! The Harvest Moon Festival! (Well, okay, our annual frankie roast [ahem, yes, of course--go ahead and call it a weenie roast if you insist, Reader Dear; I was going for a little more class, that's all).

The yard man got started early in the the fire and burning up the sticks and limbs and other trash from the yard. He built a good base of coals. He encircled the whole thing with chairs.

Meanwhile, I built a good base of plates, cups, napkins, rolls, and all the needed et cetera. I built up my hopes for cooperative weather, as well.

All of the building paid off.

When the last of my yard man's aunts, uncles, cousins, and...well, all the guests...had sighed with regret to be leaving while those oak embers still blissfully burned, groped around the dark tables and gathered their half-empty containers of contributed food (there is always an abundance of non-wienie edibles), thank you-thank you'd and taken their leave, my yard man and I sat by the murmuring fire and chortled. The jist of our exclamations: "Stars above, we're so lucky!"

Friday, October 21, 2011

And I did my best. It was the best I could do, considering the distractions. Right off the bat, there's that big-screen movie playing in the sky. Wow, that ever-changing panorama of clouds was so fascinating! Every few minutes I felt I had to record the show for you, Reader Dear. I'd veer off the road (or not), and snap a photo. At one point, I found a good place to park and sat there, simply watching.

I dug out my list and wrote: "Watch the sky."
And then...oh, comes my favorite radio interviewer on the car radio. She's laughing and telling me she used to sound like a feminist Minnie Mouse, and she's cracking up her interviewee, too, who himself is simply hilarious.

It's obvious I can't just get out of the car, and go on into the hardware store, let these two chatty folks go on being interesting and funny without me!

I had to pull out my list again; write: "Listen to Fresh Air"

I won't make a big to-do of it, but all things considered, I got a lot done. That is, Reader Dear, if you wish to count the smiling and laughing. Oh, and looky here,

I did record some sounds and sights for you, yes I did.

That wasn't on my list, either!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I WOULD HAVE YOU TO SUPPOSE, Dear Reader, that I'm still there, at the Richmond Folk Festival in Richmond, Virginia, though I'm not, and only wish that I were...

still eating that tempting food dressed in fat and salt and hanging together like a work of art;

still going with the flow;

still fiddling around (or wishing I could);

still filming--(Small actors can be quite demanding: "From this day forward, I insist on live dinner music!");

still leaving on a sunny afternoon...

I'd even have you believe, Reader Dear, that it's only yesterday. I'm saying goodbye to the dear Small Actor, shooting one final movie in the motel room, wrapping things up (or at least stuffing them into a travel bag).


Alas, all good things must come to an end, they say. Autumn leaves must fall.
And that's just what they're doing today, outside my window. (They may be swooping and whirly-gigging to the ground today in Richmond, Virginia, as well, but I do not know. I am not there [and that is the truth of the matter]).


Sunday, October 16, 2011


I'M IN THE GREEN ROLLING HILLS OF VIRGINIA, between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay. Can you believe it, my very own Dear Reader? a folk festival is currently underway! How happily for me plus these loved ones: we are rolling toward it this very day!
( We get a preview via live radio broadcast as we [us native Virginians--the Small Actor and I-- plus the rest of our small entourage] make our way there.)

To be precise, it's the Fourth Annual Richmond Folk Festival, this weekend musical event to which we're headed. We've spent the morning breakfasting, slathering on sunscreen, and gathering together paraphernalia.

After our arrival at this spot beside the James River, where the glorious music is cooperating with the honeyed warmth of the sunshine, the nostalgia-producing train whistles, and the aroma of international foods, it's obvious there is no finer place to be on a day such as this one!

I find myself, Dear Viewer, in the enviable position of having too many pictures to proffer; too many musical moments to manage to mete out in an orderly fashion.

Or at least I'm too busy to share with you right now, Reader Dear. I'm busy eating fried potatoes and Thai food. Busy giving the Small Actor starring roles. Busy perusing the crafts and arts displays. Busy people watching.

I'm just busy enjoying this idyllic day! Okay?!*

*(I'll come back later if you say yea; I'll put more sunshine and songs on display)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


WE ALL KNOW, DEAR READER, that "evening red and morning gray sends a traveler on his way." That's why I was a little concerned when I climbed out of bed this morning and was met by an unmistakably red morning sky! It was a kind of sky with the sneaky reputation of "pouring down rain upon one's head"!
Well, rain or shine, I needed to make some movies; I intended to go and visit my Small Actor, no matter the weather. So, accompanied by my chauffeuring yard man, I set out for Richmond, Virginia. And the day performed quite admirably. It was such an incredibly clear and warm and blue-sky day, in fact, that I fear I grumbled a wee bit too clearly and warmly over the need to spend so many hours in the car.

Eventually, of course, we crossed the bridges, paid the tolls, hopped out of the car and ran back to open the trunk and procure some snacks during a long traffic light, dealt with the horrendous traffic, ate the snacks, drove the miles, and ended up in the presence of the Small Actor! Oh, I'm in awe of this little celeb!

(I'm moving into gear to begin gearing up for setting up my movie-making gear and making a movie!*
*Look for its release tomorrow)


Friday, October 14, 2011


WELL, DEAR READER, I WAS ALL SET to comment on the weather (A clear sign that not much was stirring today, other than the leaves being whipped off the trees; followed by bright sun; and right on the sunny heels, a thunderstorm; then soon, an era of sun; and a half-hour later, darkness and a shower; after which sunshine once more ensued. Someone appeared to be having a very tough time with decision-making today!)

So then the mailman arrived, and once more rain fell out of the sky as I trotted out to the box and retrieved the daily assortment of junk mail and invoices and....oh, my.
What have we here?!

It appeared for all the world, Dear Reader, as though this mysterious package in the box might possibly be belated birthday bounty!

Now, it is Day Eight of my Birthday Year celebration. If truth be told, I was pondering the advisability of calling the whole thing off! In actuality, as soon as I finished my tale of the weather, I had plans to recant! A Birthday Week celebration, I said to myself, is quite long enough. The birthday cupcakes have been consumed; the birthday flowers are fading. The birthday cards are going to look a little goofy displayed in the spring of the year. And what is, Dear Reader...YOU are going to be pursing your lips and shaking your head about the time I say, "It is day Two Hundred and Thirty-three of my Birthday Year!" Good heavens, me too!

So you can just imagine my flip-flopping ideas on this when I opened the well-wrapped package and there, sure enough, was a pinkly-wrapped Birthday Gift! And a wonderful Birthday Card!

This is so lovely! Suppose I'd just ended the celebration?! I really must rethink my recantation!

(Now the weatherman and I are both scratching our heads [and once more the sun is shining!])


LITTLE ACTOR returns to the screen!

It's a dare-devil act, riding high atop rolling stair-step equipment,
commonly used by employees of the Habitat Re-store Store. And in
this starring role, he performs his own stunts! (Climbing alone
with little assistance, save for the iron gripe of the director on
one of his legs!)


Thursday, October 13, 2011


DAY SEVEN. ON WHICH I ate the final two birthday cupcakes (pulled from the freezer where I'd stashed them five days ago when my daughter told me, "Here, you can have the rest of these cupcakes. Do you want me to ice them for you?" and I'd said, "No." (Though I'm not sure why).

At the rate of one per day, they've kept those birthday wishes alive!

I also ate a whole, startlingly large, breathtakingly red, singularly sweet bell pepper, presented to me by my yard man. That event was in the running f0r Highlight of Day Seven.

But then there was also Mozart's Unfinished Symphony playing on the car radio as I returned from a meeting with the Claims Adjustor at the (pardon my mournful sigh) moldy residence of my (understandably mold-averse) tenant. The C. A. did not appear to be a particularly friendly fellow (which perhaps is best for the insurance company, as he is the one who must deliver such statements as, "No, no. This outside work is simply maintenance! We cannot cover any of this outside work!") Even though Mozart may have dilly-dallied around (or perhaps he died?) and never got the job done, his music put me in such a mellow mood that I could imagine the mephitic mildewy mold marvelously...uh, mass murdered. Yes, Reader Dear...murdered without delay! I could imagine it!

What truly took the cake, however (and who really needs more cake when it is Day Seven?!) were the two friendly guys from the power-washing company who showed up to clean the kitchen porch, and walkways, and numerous other surfaces around this ancient property where my yard man tidies up the yard but never cleans the porch of its long-accumulated grime.

I have to say...hey, hey, hey!

That put a celebratory ribbon on my day!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


THE SAGA CONTINUES, Dear Reader. This damp, gray day was the sixth in my Birthday Year. While birthday aspects appear to be on the wane, they have not disappeared! Yesterday's lunch with an old and dear friend was in honor of my birthday. It just so happens that the outing was in honor of her birthday, too, making it doubly celebratory! (I am quite willing to share! Have you a birthday during the remainder of my birthday year, Reader Dear? Wow! Let's have a joint celebration!)

When Tina and I lunch together (we don't restrict it to our birthday event) , I usually pick her up at her place of work. In the few minutes that I waited for her yesterday, I was treated to a birthday sidewalk parade! ( The folks pulling the wagons and the adorable little tots being pushed and pulled and carried along likely thought they were just going home from morning preschool or toddler gym [or, well, something of the sort] but that didn't dampen my appreciation!])

Day Five didn't sport bright sunshine, but it was pleasantly warm enough to enjoy outside seats at the cafe. The birthday lunch was delightful. Were it not for a nagging pain in my back that even now causes me to avert my eyes when in proximity to the holiday monuments I built on Day Four, I could pronounce Day Five an unqualified celebratory success!

Today's highlight, then, was an extended phone chat with yet another old and dear friend. Our visit was lengthy, prolonged, stretched-out; um...let's just say that lots of babies were born and folks died and the mailman came and went as we talked; stocks fell and Occupy Wall Street activists assembled and dispersed; the grass grew and my hair grew (likely yours, too, Reader Dear) and the sun secretly made its descent behind the curtain of clouds. I could say the visit was like a long cold drink of water, but that's more of a summertime expression, and I much prefer to say it was like an elegantly-iced, rich chocolate, made-from-scratch birthday cake! (Precisely the kind that is apt to appear when I get to go all the way to West Virginia and see this dear friend in person; oh, yes, on many a visit this cake or its cousin has shown up; there didn't even have to be a birthday!)

Were it not for the hand-to-my-back cringing and creeping around caused by the distinctly un-celebratory pain, Day Six would officially be declared first-rate.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


YESTERDAY WAS THE DAY WE CELEBRATE a particular guy who saw a large land mass that was populated by people whom I'm sure felt some ownership of their spot on the earth; this guy just up and claimed it! Thus I, in turn, felt perfectly okay to snatch the holiday for myself! Step aside, Columbus; it's Day Four!

The fourth day of my birthday year celebration was book-ended by messages I'd missed earlier. In the morning there was this email note from my little sister (yes, Dear Reader, the self-same one who suggested my year-long birthday bash).

"....Well, since it's your birthday year, I think you should just get dressed whenever you want to. Or not at all! In fact, you probably should just wear your birthday suit all year in celebration."

Dear Reader, I'll leave that proposal for someone who's just gotten themselves a brand-new birthday suit! I put on clothes and went out into the frabjous sunny day!

It was so warm and enticing outdoors that I could ignore the fact that employees of post offices and banks and many other folks celebrating this holiday were not going to work. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work with a vengeance! Which simply means that I grunted and groaned and tore into weeds and roots and overgrown tomato plants and shrubs and all manner of ignominious  nature growing in my flower beds. Ah, it was a double pleasure to come upon one plant with freshly-springing blossoms, looking cheerful and celebratory rather than old and over-burdened with baggage!

At the conclusion of my time outdoors, I had established large monuments to my holiday endeavors--great mounds of sticks and limbs and greenery and brownery. Aha! My yard man has some of his work already cut out for him!

Late in the evening I found a phone message that had languished since my actual birthday. It was the perfect ending to Day Four-- a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday, sung by a quartet of loved ones, complete with cha-cha-cha's and whoop-de-do's.

TODAY. This very day. This Tuesday, the eleventh day of the month in this eleventh year of the century, I'm wishing a happy birthday to my big sis, who was once eleven when I was four!

Monday, October 10, 2011


DAY THREE (of the Birthday Year): in which Happy Birthday was (once again) sung; yet another birthday card was received; birthday candles were extinguished; and birthday cupcakes were (once again) eaten. (Oh, they were excellent fare, those cupcakes!)

"I used that light cream cheese," said my daughter. "And I made them very healthy. Just for you!"

Other good fortunes of the day included a Mexican lunch out with friends, and a supper cooked up by my yard man and eaten al fresco. There is also the wee fact that I couldn't have wished for more adorable help in blowing out my birthday candles!

I have no idea, Dear Reader, if the five-star weather I chortled over yesterday was yet another gift in my honor, but, my goodness...this Birthday Year appears to be shaping up well!


Sunday, October 9, 2011


IT'S SIMPLY SUBLIME how birthday greetings continue to slip into my days. Yesterday--one day beyond the actual now-I'm-a-whole-year-older date--a sister of mine called with belated birthday wishes, and apologized for the lateness. "It's okay," I explained. "You're not really late. I've decided to celebrate my whole Birthday Week."

"Ha," she laughed. "Why stop there? Why not celebrate your Birthday Year?"

Well, Dear Reader, I was attracted to the novel idea. It was still only Day Two of my Birthday Week, not too late to extend my options. So, after mulling it briefly, I went ahead and opted for an entire festive year! Since my yard man and I were invited to a picnic in the park with six of our friends that very evening, I hurried right out and got a chocolate truffle cheesecake to share in celebration.

The park where we picnicked offers a spectacular panoramic view. Everyone contributed to the pleasing array of food that graced the table (unexpectedly blessed by a Praying Mantis, which I took as an auspicious sign [occurring, as it did, on my Birthday Year!])

What with the fabulous weather, the three kinds of chocolate, the pumpkin pie and the camaraderie of friends, I reveled in my birthday wealth!

As the sun sank below the horizon, ending our picnic (the gates to the park are locked at sunset; not a one of my friends was clambering to spend the night there), it cast a rosy birthday glow over Day Two.

Day Three, of course, is today. I'm afraid you will need to wait for today's news, Reader Dear, until tomorrow (ahem, Day Four).


Saturday, October 8, 2011


YESTERDAY CAME GIFT-WRAPPED IN SOLID BLUE, a typical tenth-month shade. It unfurled for me as only the seventh day of the tenth month is apt to do:

At Ten O'clock a.m., I called my (very slightly younger) brother, and sang him a Beatles song.*

Eleven O'clock a.m: I sat in the sun and played a little guessing game with the nice stack of mail I received. All those cards were upside-down. I opened them one-by-delightful-one and surmised the sender from studying the front of each card. Dear Reader, I know my friends well!

Twelve O'clock noon: A deliveryperson arrived bearing flowers. I didn't know him well (to be truthful, not at all), but announced, "You've walked straight into my blog!"

One Thirty O'clock p.m.: A much smaller deliveryperson arrived bearing flowers. Now him I know well, and he's walked in my blog, Dear Reader, since the day he could toddle!

Three-thirty O'clock p.m.: Speaking of walking, I took a nice stroll with loved ones on this fabulous blue-sky day, the unfurling of which was warming the cockles of my (semi-bovine) heart!

Five Thirty O'clock p.m.: Later I walked in the city, when I went to First Friday with my yard man and two good friends.

Six O'clock p.m.: I had the good fortune to eat Italian soup at a sidewalk table.

Six Thirty O'clock p.m.: And then cupcakes at the school of art and design.

Seven O'clock p.m.: I ate two, I confess.

Eight O'clock p.m.: I dropped raffle tickets in pink bags, making a donation and hoping for an extension of my exceedingly good fortune.

Eight Thirty O'clock p.m.: I chatted on the sidewalk with friends and acquaintances, waited for a call from the new wine bar.

Nine O'clock p.m.: Saying "We've finally got a table for you!"

Nine Thirty O'clock: I can't say it wasn't a noisy place, but the wine had hints of blackberry and plum, and the blue-sky day ended well.

Ten O'clock p.m.: There were even balloons on the sidewalk.

*"You say it's your birthday
Well it's my birthday too, yeah. We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday. Happy Birthday to you!"