Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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THE TRACTOR IN FRONT OF ME pulling its load had steel wheels.
I was charmed by the friendly little passenger.


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Monday, February 27, 2012

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THE WEATHER TODAY WAS very spring-like. It was as though winter had turned a corner. It must have provided some kind of inspiration to my yard man. About mid-afternoon he tramped through the kitchen and opened the match drawer. (Uh, it's a fact, Reader Dear, we do have a drawer entirely devoted to matches, appearing every bit as though we two are pyromaniacs! [In spite of the fact that every once in a great while I become so pull-out-my-hair frustrated by the excruciatingly problematic difficulties of living in an antique house, and utter such rash statements as "I'd like to burn the whole place to the ground!" you can be assured, Reader Dear, it's not something I'd ever do! And, as for the yard man, he's a lover of building bonfires, and indoor fires, too, but his fingers don't get twitchy at the thought of an indoor fire anywhere other than the spot allocated for it].)

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So, as I was saying, he opened the match drawer. Most naturally, he took out a pack of matches. And a few minutes later our long-dead Christmas tree was nothing but ashes.



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Saturday, February 25, 2012

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I FIGURED IT WAS A good afternoon to learn about figs.

And the Backyard Fruit Growers were offering a workshop on fig-growing this very afternoon, how lucky for me!

It was held at the Landis Valley Farm Museum, which is where I took myself.








This workshop on fig-growing followed one on fruit-tree-pruning, and when I arrived, I saw the participants of that workshop were still outside, huddled around two fruit trees, whipped by almost gale-force winds.

A figment of my imagination told me that, as oppossed to being out there learning about the arduous process of trimming twigs from trees, I'd be happier sitting in a warm room savoring photos and facts about figs.




















And, sure enough, I was delighted...


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by the fig-fanatic Leader, my fellow fig-fanatic-Leader followers, and the figgy photo that fell on the sleeve of
a fellow f.f.L.f.!
Not to mention the fig tree cuttings that were
passed out to all who fell for
the idea of growing their
own figs.



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(One of whom, oh, naturally, was me.)
When I say I give a fig about growing figs, it's only figurative, Reader Dear, as I actually have no figs to give.















[I only hope some day that changes!])

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Friday, February 24, 2012

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AARRRGH. First there was the severe insomnia (was it the chocolate? the tea? the wine? the mulling of details, ad infinitum?) And then...then, just as I'd finally returned to that sweet land of Slumber, after sojourning so long in the blackness of wide-eyed purgatory, my little white business phone rang. It was seven twenty-two o'clock in the morning, and I was informed (by Steve at the Lowe's store) that two refrigerators were rolling their way to two of my rentals; I was too, too sorry I'd agreed to their early delivery on this damp gray morning.

One of them was bound for Apartment number Fifty-eight, where the moved-out tenants had written me a letter upon leaving. ""We cleaned the carpets and the apartment," they'd stated, "leaving it in better shape than when we moved in, as it wasn't very clean."



(I had taken a deep, deep breath. I had exhaled slowly. I had contemplated the gunk in the left-behind fridge, the wretchedly dirty carpet. I had calmly put down the letter. I had vehemently bellowed, "NOT VERY CLEAN?!!! NOT VERY [blankety-blank*] CLEAN?!!")

And now, Reader Dear, adding insult to injury on this damp gray morning (or cat hair to rabbit fur, as it were), I discovered that my cat and rabbit-loving, moved-out tenants had left me a memento.

Steve and his fellow appliance-toter removed the old fridge from Number Fifty-eight (yes, the gunked-up fridge, the one that was sparkling clean when the moved-out tenants moved in) and there it was: a feline toy ensconced in its own fur coat.

(Its entirely too valuable to keep. I suppose I will have to return to owner.)

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*Sorry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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TODAY WE HAD the quintessential weather for a quintuple-loop walk at my park.

I've noticed there's quite a tree-planting plan going on there.



Everything from Get Ready,
















to Get Set,























to Grow Tree, grow!







All of these trees are going to change this place into a bowery promenade!











(I'll have to get back to you a little later with a show of that, Reader Dear.)

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

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IT'S A HODGE-PODGE. Because, well...what else can one do with a bunch of stray tidbits swept up together?!






There was that day of hearts and flowers.





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And then two days later, there was that birthday party for the yard man's Uncle John, (who no longer lives in Arizona, whaddayaknow)

which also involved hearts and flowers
(not to mention
balloons).





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Lest you suppose, Dear Reader, that I've only been tripping around in flower-filled-chocolate-eating-warm-wishes sunshine...there was also that day of drywaller-patching-painter-coated-plumber-caulking rain.























Which was also the day I was forced to put hand to the plow (so to speak), and clean two apartments for re-rental.


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Not to mention that day that my infant cell phone, which I've coddled and cajoled into cooperation, had to be extensively examined by executioners of cell phone repair!

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Bringing me, ultimately, to today, this day of Little Actor-feet-in-train-cars delight!




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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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AH, ALAS, I've been doing the Multi-tasking Mambo, sighing over the short supply of seconds, moping over the minutes I must make use of just to get through the minutia of mundane existence! I promise, Dear Reader of mine, a proper posting (likely with nothing profound, but hopefully pleasing) just as soon as I've gotten around to pouring myself a tall glass of Take it Easy!

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Friday, February 10, 2012

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AH, THE MARRIAGE ENDURES!*

Likewise, the knob!
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*(and still my tenants)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

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ANNA MADE HER ENTRANCE into the great flow of humanity exactly one hundred and twenty-seven years ago today. Let me tell you, Dear Reader, had she not shown up when she did, you wouldn't be reading this blog posting today! My mother, the youngest of ten children of Anna, called her mother "Muvvie," but I always just called her Grandma.

As luck would have it, only yesterday I came across a bit of archival data, written by my mother's sister, my Aunt Osie (yep, her real name!):

Mama's (Anna's) own mother died when she was only four years old. There were those who offered to take 'Little Annie' into their home, but her mother had requested that she and her sister and brothers be kept together, so she became her father's shadow, trailing him as he worked around the home. Later when he remarried, she was big sister to a growing family of younger children.

When she was fifteen, Anna's father moved his family from Ohio to southern Virginia. Here Anna met and learned to know Henry, (and how lucky for me that he joined the human race as well!), a young man who, just a few years earlier, had moved to the same area from the state of Maryland. I'll bet you can wager a pretty good guess what happened next, Dear Reader!

Well, of course! On a balmy afternoon in January of 1906, Anna and Henry were married.

Once again I quote:

Side by side they worked, strong young Henry and his petite little bride, clearing land, planting crops and building a home. On her 22nd birthday they welcomed into their new home their firstborn--a son, Arthur. The family grew and the house grew with it until a 14-room house held ten lively children--five boys and five girls. Those were busy years filled to the brim with work, play, joys, and sorrows.
The years moved on. I remember Papa used to smile and say about our little mama, "Precious things come in small packages." She moved quickly, running upstairs and down, indoors and out, and as she hurried about, she sang. She sang from sunrise to sunset and on into the night until, satisfied that her house was in order and all the children in, she caught a few hours sleep. She never claimed to be a fancy cook (Oh, great whirring blenders, Dear Reader--this was a hundred years ago! No dishwasher, coffee maker, mixer, crock pot...) but the birthday cakes she baked each year for each child, the array of homemade Christmas candies, her lacy-edged pancakes which none of us have been able to duplicate, rate truly as works of art.
All of the children had established homes of their own and Mama and Papa had celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in the Big House before retiring to a new brick house nearby. When asked how she felt about leaving the old house with all its memories she replied, "Half the battle is in making up one's mind."

Epilogue: While all three of my other grandparents passed away in 1968, Little Annie lived to the age of ninety-three and died in 1978.
Three of the children who grew up in that Big House are still here to remember Muvvie,(including Osie and her twin brother Oliver).
And I'm thinking of Grandma today, with fond memories.

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All things progressing as they did, I learned to know Grandma when she lived in the little brick house. (It happened to be right across the road from the brick house in which I lived).
She kept a nice big, toy-filled basket in her living room. It was slightly misshapen. And you know, Reader Dear, that's what I love about it--this distinctly slouching basket* that I fill with toys for my little actors.






*the very one
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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EARLY AFTERNOON TODAY it started snowing. I'd been waiting for it, seeing as how the weather wizards had forecast just such action, and the sky'd looked more than ready all morning to bestow snow.

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As soon as I saw the white flakes flying, I rushed outside. The frosty downfall was making the most lovely whispering sound, Listener Dear! I wished I could capture it for you, but other noises prevailed.

A few hours later, then, everything looked like a calendar page torn from the winter section.

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Now that I'm showing you these photos, Reader Dear, I'm thinking of the pictures from the previous snowfall, languishing there on my cutting-room floor. Wouldn't you know, I'm going to have to show you those, too...




Because, just see how charming the red of the recycle bin on a foggy and snowy day! When I caught sight of it, it pleased me like flowers in spring (well, very nearly). I had to turn the car around and go back for the photo.








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And how could I throw away this moving scene?!
(Taken on the drive-by)
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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GALLIMAUFRY! BECAUSE I FORGOT TO TELL you, Dear Reader, about the concert on Saturday night. And, then...some other things.

As a surprise, my yard man bought tickets to a concert held at a local church. It was a lovely evening, with three main groups performing: First there was Frances, a multi-talented young woman, playing multiple instruments, one of them being the hang (Have you heard of such a thing, Dear Listener? It's a Swiss instrument with [what I'm calling] a mellow resonance [That's my way of saying it has good, Good, GOOD...GOOD VIB-RA-TIONS..(oops, I got carried away.)])

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Also performing was a group of Vietnamese persons, singing in Vietnamese. Those vigorous Vietnamese voices invested the evening with a vibrant international spirit which was very pleasing.
















And then there was this chorus of males. (While our viewing spot was advantageous throughout most of the evening, we got to see up-close backsides during this choir's performance. [Didn't matter; the voices were rich and melodious; and besides, I rather enjoy unique points of view.])






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Dear Reader, I tried to be surreptitious with my photo-taking, but not this guy! He was running around with a very large camera. When he aimed it at me, I simply raised my camera and aimed it at him!
(He quickly altered his
photo-taking plan.)

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Earlier in the day on Saturday, there were ten other legs "walking the walk" with me.







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He's the yard man's dog. He's Beau.
Did I never introduce you, Reader Dear?!
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It's so stale! So outdated! But I had to find something to add. No self-respecting gallimaufry-maker would not have at least three items!
So here he is, the Santa who greeted the yard man and me when we went to the movies on Christmas eve. I asked him, uh-huh, why he wasn't out and about, busily climbing down chimneys!






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Monday, February 6, 2012

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OF ALL THE THINGS I've pondered ere this, Dear Reader, I've never thought to wonder what food I would eat should I never get hungry. And now, thanks to that digestive brouhaha of a few days ago, there's no need to noodle around in my head over this. I haven't been craving food...not even (gasp) chocolate, for five days and counting! I barely nibbled through the weekend shindigs, the Super Bowl party. The nineteen kinds of chili.* The hoagies made by my yard man. I haven't touched the chocolate energy bars hidden away in their secret place. Let me tell you, the pounds have been slipping away like shy persons at a get-acquainted party! I have not been hungry. I have barely eaten.

While this is a fantastic way to lose weight, it does have a down side. It's somewhat detrimental to staying alive.



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So here's what I've discovered--Oatmeal is my go-to food!
With little incentive to eat, it must be the easy kind, of course: Rip open the packet. Empty into bowl. Stir in hot water. Eat.

I've discovered it's good for staying alive.


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*No, no. There was only one kind of chili at the Super Bowl party.
But there were nineteen kinds at the noon-time meal at church, a great Chili Contest! I wasn't there, but the yard man reported to me that the winner, voted best chili-maker by all who sampled, confessed in a sheepish way: She'd cooked up some chili the day before; her teen-aged kids discovered it; lo, it disappeared. So she rushed to make more on Sunday morning. She'd simply dumped cans of Hormel chili into the crock and added jalapeno peppers!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

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YESTERDAY--four bottles of ginger ale.

(But nothing beyond the pale!)
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Today--one banana, a bowlful of rice.

(However, no ice!)
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

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OH, GOOD HEAVENS, THE MISERY of it all! I woke up at four o'clock this morning with stomach flu! (It's been sweeping the country like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up everyone's plans and ambitions; if you haven't already recently suffered this malady yourself, Reader Dear, I'd suggest you immediately stock your cupboards with ginger ale!) My only symptom is unrelenting nausea, though by using the word only, you may wrongly infer it's a minor inconvenience. Not so!

I cannot eat! The thought of food makes me wish to....(never mind). Late this afternoon I was able to shuffle slowly to the car and drive to the nearest health food store, looking for "natural" ginger ale. Driving past an eating establishment advertising Chili and Cheese dogs, I well-nigh...(never mind)...

All through this record-breakingly warm and beautifully sunny day, I've been huddled inside by the space heater, fighting the urge to...(never mind).

I am withered for lack of water (can't even stand the thought of drinking that h20, for fear I will....(never mind).

Now you might suppose, Reader Dear, that there'd at least be some lovely lolling involved, but such isn't the case! Frankly, it's not easy to relax or read or blog or watch TV or even chat on the phone when one feels at all time as though one could....(never mind).

This afternoon I made a business call and talked to a man who'd suffered the stomach flu just a few weeks ago. "How long did it last?" I asked, and waited with bated breath. "Oh, I only felt bad one day," he replied. (If I'd had any energy at all, I'd have danced a jig!) But then...

"My daughter had it, too," he added. "In her case, it hung on for about three weeks."
Oh, good grief, Dear Reader, I feel like I'm going to....(never mind)


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