Sunday, September 30, 2012


It happened that en route home from the reunion, my chauffeur and I got to stop off in Richmond, Virginia, and see the celebrated Small Actor up close and in person!

It was a clear, sunny day,
a lovely park,
and, as to the Small Actor...

words fail me (My yard man and I are adoring fans!)
which is why, Viewer Dear, I've got so many movies for you!

(I was tickled that this guy let me get so close to him, too.  He patiently posed
for two handsome pictures, and didn't fly off the handle!*)

*No, he just flew
(you knew?!)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

OH, DEAR READER, it amazes me how time has such powerful wings!  How it flies! It swoops and soars and speeds along (so to speak, when one cares to speak that way).  Over the past weekend, I got my chauffeur to escort me to a gathering of former classmates of mine. It would have been nice to fly, but the distance did not warrant it, so instead we had that long car trip to southern Virginia on Friday evening.  We got to our hotel late at night, and the hotel clerk informed us that there were sports teams on every floor.  "Why are you telling us this?" I asked.  "Do you expect a lot of noise?"
He shrugged.  "There's no telling," he replied, a bit ominously.
"Well," I said to my yard man, when we'd walked through the quiet halls to our room and imagined  the carousing that would likely ensue in the wee hours, "We'll just hope for the best."

Two whole nights without a sign of these big rowdy players, and then Sunday morning they appeared in force in the breakfast room.  "For heaven's sake," I said to the yard man,  "they're just growing boys! Why didn't the guy tell us they would have a bedtime?!
The moral of the story, Reader Dear:  Don't lose any sleep over possibilities of losing sleep!

Meanwhile, on Saturday we went to the "little school" reunion, and I got to see a scattering of senior citizens who once sat at small desks in a classroom with me at this small parochial school where we are gathering.  It was somewhat surreal, you know, because of that strange thing that time does when it flies.   But how wonderful to eat hush puppies, and reminisce, and sing songs we used to sing!

Alas, Dear Viewer, I lost the video of us singing
"Santa Lucia".
It was always one of my favorites!  (Most of the songs we sang at this little school were already old when we sang them.  I do not wish for you to suppose, Reader Dear, that I carried my books to this school and played on this playground and sang "Santa Lucia" when it was a hit tune!)

 "Hark how the sailor's cry, joyously echoes nigh, Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!"


Friday, September 28, 2012


"I'M KIND OF NERVOUS," I told the hairdressers in the salon when I walked in."My car is at the body shop! Actually,"  I said," do you know you can get cars fixed right here in the parking lot?!"                                                                                                                                    
Now, I had given the guy permission to work on my car. As my hairdresser shampooed me, however, I couldn't help but think that perhaps the situation warranted a bit more pondering.  Couldn't things go from bad to worse?  Or, you know, from dented to even more dented?!  Things might even go from dented (Ohfabulousfiberglassfiller, I should have known there would be no car here when I came back!)!

But I'm a sucker for opportunities presented by those needing work who can talk so earnestly and enthusiastically about making repairs so quickly and inexpensively and appointment-free!  (Though, truth be told, I haven't known this about myself until very [very] recently).  I resisted the urge to yank my wet head from the sink and run out to the parking lot with a red flag.

Which was fortunate for me.

And for Billy and his wife, too, after I'd walked out of the salon with my minimally-cut hair, realized the fine job they were doing, and headed across the parking lot to the nearest bank to withdraw a wad of cash.

My yard man was surely surprised and pleased when he saw the car!  I like to think even the hairdressers, who'd flocked curiously to the window to peer out and make reports, may have benefited in some way.  And hmm, even you, Reader Dear...I'd say YOU got lucky, too, if you like your stories with dent-free endings!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


OLD OLIO.  Yes, Dear Reader, here's a whole heaping pile of hodge-podge that I'm tossing onto the train:
A few weeks ago (ahem...did I mention things might be getting stale?) I was invited to a three-course vegan meal that was being served at a retirement facility near where I live.
My yard man was out of town on this particular weekday evening,  and I went by myself through the positively beautiful late summer afternoon to see how I'd like this repast, and--wow--the combination of the sunshine; climbing into the car when I would ordinarily be climbing into an apron; the company of the three friends who'd issued the invitation; and the buffet meal of altogether delectable and downright healthful goodness! It gave me a five-star, very full feeling!

(Gave me lots of photo ops, too, Viewer Dear!)
And then there was the top-rate feeling I got when the yard man and I had the high privilege of taking the Little Actor out for a night on the town:                                                                               

There were, of course, just gobs of moments begging for photos there at the mall, too!

 Okay, and then, here too, Reader Dear, is a tale I must tell (It's one of those firsts of which I'm so fond!)  Last week I drove out to a nearby salon where I regularly get my hair cut.  Due to the fact that the old car I ordinarily drive is at the shop for strange noises,* I'm driving a second old car; it's got multiple dents and dings.  
As I'm climbing out of the car, a man suddenly materializes and tells me animatedly.  "I can fix your car! I've been doing this kind of work my whole life.  I can fix all this!" He points to the damages. 
"Oh, it's an old car," I explain.  "It's got so many miles on it..." 
"But," he persists, "I can fix it cheap!"  And he names his price. 
Hmm (a very reasonable price for mending these dents!)  
"I'll go get my tools!  I'll just go get my wife, and my tools!" he says.  "You don't have to pay a thing 'til you see my work!" 
"But...."  I'm confused.  "What do you mean?  Do you mean you will fix it NOW?! Right HERE? I am getting a haircut," I tell him.
"No problem!" he assures me.  "I will just get my tools and I'll fix it now.  You can go get your haircut!" 
Before I know it, his wife is there, and his box of tools.  "Go get your haircut!" the man tells me.  "I will be here when you are finished."   
"Don't let them cut off too much," his wife tells me.  "It looks really good the way it is!" 

 ...(I'm off to see the hairdresser, Reader Dear...back soon)......


Wednesday, September 26, 2012


UGH.  I'VE GOT TO RE-LOAD the blog train.  It's not much fun, slinging old items onto the post, but it's got to be done.  Otherwise, well, you'd never see the end of that day...uh...that final day of "togetherness" that I spent with my sises-in-law.  You recall, Reader Dear, how we started out in a barn draped with cobwebs.  And look at us now!  We're in a shop where one whole wall is hung with scarves.  And there's lots of jewelry here, too--glitz and glamor.  It's the other end of the spectrum!

(It was by no means the last place we visited, Dear Reader, but it's where I'm going to  leave you! I'll be huffing and puffing as it is, trying to catch up with so many other blog items, rapidly growing stale!

[There'd be worse places to sit and wait, Viewer Dear; do you not agree?!])

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


AH, DEAR READER, THE BLOG TRAIN ground to a halt.  All the baggage was unloaded onto the station platform.  Everything just sat in the hot afternoon sun.  And then overnight, and into the next day.  And the next day. And the next......

I'm working on the engine, Reader Dear, as diligently as possible!  Savoring my coffee (oh, my goodness, gracious, latte-learning self, I've gone from zero to one-hundred in just a fortnight!) while I think how to get this train chugging once more.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I'M SHAKING MY HEAD, Reader Dear, and imagining you doing the same. I mean, really! You're not going to be just a tad bit exasperated to hear that another whole day was spent in the throes of "togetherness" syndrome?! Before I go into all kinds of detail, let me hasten to say--it was definitely the Last Hurrah! It was one final jaunt, with one final remaining out-of-town wedding guest; tomorrow this sis-in-law gets carted off to the airport, and thus will officially end the week- long extravaganza of camaraderie with the family of The Yard Man.*

Oh, but wait 'til you hear. Reader Dear, you'll so wish to have trooped along in and out of these places we visited, my four in-law sises and I!

Now to begin with, the weather put me on cloud nine (which is a little tricky when the wispy clouds run together like they did today in the bright September sky!)

Our first stop was one end of a spectrum, in terms of merchandise displayed.

There were five large areas heaped up with items never correctly  describe as glitzy or gaudy.  In fact, I'm sure there are some who would readily term this merchandise "piles of junk."  But that, my Dear Reader, would only be those with little imagination!
I apologize for failing to photograph the creative little gardening benches and other constructs crafted by the Amish man
who owns this place!                                                                     

                                                            Okay, so moving along to the next stop. Reader Dear, if you are feeling a little gnawing of the stomach, and wishing for something fantastic to snack upon, you'd best avert your eyes.  You're going to have a heck of a time looking at Emma's coated popcorn treats and knowing you've none to nibble.    


Yessiree, these bags of popcorn with monikers such as "Chocolate Almond Joy" and "Dark Chocolate Popcorn--a dark drizzle of yummy" are just too yummy to describe.  You'll have  to conjure something up in your imagination, Reader Dear!  Or better yet go visit Emma for yourself, and taste the many samples!
She's a great shopkeeper--tearing open a bag to let us sample, then reducing the price of the bag when one of us was ready to buy it.   
"Hmm, how does that work?" I asked.  "I'd be happy to eat, right here and now, this popcorn I'm about to buy..."

As we left Emma's shop, I wasn't quite so hungry for lunch.

And of course we weren't done buying food from young Amish women.

But eventually we got to Green Dragon, the really big Farmer's Market that is open for business each Friday, and where one can find about anything one can dream up in the way of food.  Suddenly I was hungrier than I had a right to be!

I was going to take more photos, Viewer Dear, but I got carried away with the Quinoa-Black Bean Salad I found, and about which I had to do a little raving; and there was raving about the oyster sandwiches and the filled-pretzel sandwiches and I don't know what all else those fellow female family members were consuming, and... well, before I knew it we were on our way to our next stop!

It appears, Reader Dear, that we'll be on our
way until some time in the future when I get around to taking us further.
Ahem.  What I mean to say is:  
Hasta manana!

(or in other [perhaps more familiar] words:
To be continued)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


...AND HERE WAS THE PLAN* for today:
Some of the men (those who are retired or can take off another day of work) will go play golf (with the out-of-town men who remain in the area) in the morning. They will come and collect the baby (who will be keeping company with the women) when they are finished with their golf game (around noon).
The women (those who do not have to go to work, or can push off pressing duties for another day), will go with the out-of-town women for another round of exploration:
In this case, in the lovely, historical, and chocolate-scented town of Lititz. Wow! As often as I peruse these sidewalks and shops (and, hmm, I have many opportunities, considering its close proximity to where I live), I never tire of walking this delightful little town.

After some discussion, Maria and Cora and I meet Beth and Wilma in the parking lot right across the street from the Wilbur Chocolate factory store. It's the first place we visit, this shop-slash-museum where one can help oneself to a Wilbur bud (or two or three) without so much as buying a single box or bag of chocolates (though how likely is one to walk away empty-handed, when one has pored over the array of chocolates, eaten the samples, and watched the confections being crafted [not to mention breathing deeply of the tantalizing aroma?!]) Little Cora volunteered her services at the store while the other out-of-towners stocked up on edible gifts to carry home.

Before carrying the chocolates to the west coast, however, they had to carry them to the park--the one with the ducks and the fountains and the shade. It was rather warm today--we realized that chocolate would melt if left in the car!

By the time we left the park, it was time for "a little something" at a coffee shop (toting along the shopping bags of chocolate). Following that, we made one or two other small forays into stores before coming upon--(ah, ha! our exploration hit pay dirt!)--a relatively new place of business offering us lots of free samples of flavor-infused oils and vinegars. Oh, mama mia! Another perfect item for gift-giving! We left that store, Reader Dear, with the stroller-less tot; the paraphernalia for her comfort; the bags and boxes of chocolates; and now the bags and boxes of bottles of oil and vinegar (what a marvelous load for the pack mules, if we'd just thought to bring some along!)

It was time for lunch.
We took patio seating at the Tomato Pie cafe, placed all the bags and boxes strategically in the shade. (The men did not come for the baby, but opted instead for hot dogs at the golf course [tsk, tsk, and later fell ill]!)

At the risk of too many excessive exclamations, I'm just going to say, Reader Dear, that although the weather was warm for chocolates, it was most superb for eating outdoors! And the food [tomato pie, et al] was plate-licking good! When we had (not really licked our plates, and rued the fact) finished our lunches and gathered up our only-slightly-melted chocolates, we retraced our footsteps back to the parking lot directly across from the chocolate factory.

"Why in the world," said we all, "didn't we think to go to the chocolate store LAST?!"
(*Evidently not enough fine-tuning!)


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

...THE FLURRY CONTINUES. You know, Reader Dear, the goings-on following the wedding! Sure, a few more family members have climbed into cars or hopped onto planes and headed off toward their respective homes, but there are still a few of them here in the area impersonating tourists: Running around the county going to Amish shops and bakeries, eating out, gathering for meals; oh, yes, the "togetherness" syndrome is still in effect!

Tonight the yard man built a bonfire in our meadow while I put the devil in some eggs and concocted some baked beans. It was family members who came to fill the chairs, roast the hot dogs, drink the beer, and then decide to roast the doughnuts, too. (I think it's going to be all the rage, Dear Reader, as soon as word spreads! A glazed doughnut on the end of a stick, heated over an open flame [I'm still feeling giddy!])

At the end of the evening there was the standard group question, "Okay, so what's the plan for tomorrow?"


Monday, September 10, 2012


YESTERDAY ONE MORE YOUNG MAN and one more young woman walked down the path to "I do." It was the nephew of my yard man who was pledging to forever cherish his bride (and she likewise him). It was a very large event in the life of my yard man's extended family (his siblings and their spouses, their children [including those who have already walked down this well-worn path], their grandchildren). Several of the family members traveled from as far away as the west coast [of the USA, yes]).

No one wants to be left out of "togetherness" time. And "togetherness" time, well, we had:
Friday evening picnic-style meal
Saturday evening gathering of cousins
Sunday morning brunch
Sunday reception (the main thing)
Sunday late-night gathering
Monday morning brunch
Monday evening meal...

(to be continued, Dear Reader, when
all of this "togetherness" time has
finally trickled back to the
nitty-gritty-of-real-life again
[the bride and groom have left on
their wedding trip to's
anybody's guess when their lives
will have reached this status!])

Thursday, September 6, 2012


AHA! TODAY IS THE BIRTHDAY of that horse-loving man who mows the lawn here where I live! I can't tell you, Dear Reader, how tickled I was to find a nice bottle of wine from South Africa with a DRAFT HORSE upon its label! What are the odds?!

"In the farthest flung corners of the Cape lie gnarly, old, national treasures--ancient vines once farmed with Percheron draft horses, both now a rare breed."

This yard man of mine, he's a rare breed as well!
(Here's to a happy birthday!)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

WHILE I WAS stepping it off at my park the other day, I heard sirens sounding. Then two rescue cars sped by. Because the sirens soon stopped, I figured whatever the problem, it was close at hand. And sure enough, on my way home about ten minutes later, I came upon the scene of an accident. Naturally I pulled out my camera. (Oh, yes, naturally!)
A police officer was directing traffic, holding up vehicles on the small side
road on which I was waiting, and letting traffic on the main route flow through. A photographer with a news truck and a tripod had situated himself a short distance up the road and was photographing the misfortune. As I was idling there, I thought to get a record of the action for myself.

But, ah me---I missed the action I really wished to show you, Viewer Dear! Just as I was busy producing my little movie, the cop motioned my way (well, he motioned to the car waiting ahead of me, who pulled out onto the main road.)

Since I was preoccupied, I didn't move forward, and missed my chance to go. Ah, well, I thought, there's no one behind me--no harm done.

But, dear me! Marching over to my car, the policeman had a decidedly unhappy look. Yes, I believe I can honestly say he was P.O.'d (a term that does not translate to "perpetually optimistic")

"You weren't watching me! You were taking pictures!" he scolded. "That's dangerous! You're going to have to wait ten minutes now! I'm not going to direct you to go for TEN minutes! You'll just have to wait!"
Now I can't tell you, Dear Reader, how badly I wished to say in a sweet voice, "Well, since I'm waiting here, and you have a moment or two, could you kindly repeat those words for the camera?" (Oh, the lengths I am willing to go to for you, Viewer Dear!)

However, undoubtedly to my good fortune, and also to my surprise, the cop finished issuing his first-grade-style admonition, strode to his police car, got in it, and drove away!

I waited the minute or two while the Amish men carted the broken buggy across the road in front of my car, and down alongside the (unused) ambulance that was waiting there. Then I waited another minute for a break in the traffic; after which I went on my way. Thoroughly chastised!
(Oh, yes, thoroughly!)