Friday, November 30, 2012

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DEAR READER, Reader Dear, I've been too busy to blog!   (It's a patent falsehood, but it sounds so much better than the truth.  And...I have been scampering around a bit, getting my pottery pieces [those that sat dejectedly in two grocery bags in a corner of my attic for a number of years] all ready to go into a wood-fired kiln!]

It's something I'll get to experience for the very first time--the loading and firing up of a wood-burning kiln.  And that, Reader Dear, gets me fired up!*
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*You're guaranteed to hear more later.**
**That's no falsehood.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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ALL THAT TALK ABOUT WINTER...here it was just a preview.  The real thing sneaked into the area last night, dropping its white evidence everywhere!

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

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YESTERDAY MORNING my yard man and I,  between the two of us, ate an English muffin with peanut butter, a small bowl of oatmeal concocted from a packet of the dried instant variety with hot water stirred in, two little doughnuts, one serving of creamed dried beef on a biscuit, and two tiny helpings of scrambled eggs that neither tasted nor closely resembled the eggs produced by the yard man's hens.  We then got a large goodbye from the Small Actor, consisting of many kisses all around, left our motel room and headed toward winter (all unawares that that's where we were going to end up!)

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It was downright shocking, Reader Dear, not to mention tooth-chattering and wail-producing, to arrive in the cold blustery north!
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Making the seasonal segue more bearable, on this Sunday evening the yard man built a blazing fire in our open fireplace and read aloud to me for several hours, thereby producing the most delightful day of winter I've had for quite some time!

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

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IT'S SATURDAY, Reader Dear, but it's still Friday on this blog if I say it is, so I'll say that it is.  We are still in Richmond, Virginia, my yard man and I, and we are still mainlining gratefulness-producing realities.  We went to a park with the Small Actor and his dad (his mum had to put in time at her job).  It was warm and sunny, a marvelous day for strolling around outdoors.  I drag my feet on relaying the unpleasant blip in my otherwise delightful afternoon .   But here's the thing, Dear Reader:

This park has an area where sheep and goats, a large hog, a small ass, and peacocks and numerous  other animals live.  In order to reach this area, the four of us walked (though one of us mostly rode in a stroller) across a wide expanse of lawn, down one hill and up another, and around several bends in the paved trail. It was far from the parking lot, Reader Dear-- that's what I'm saying.  But we were strolling in a leisurely manner, enticing the Small Actor--"Animals! Artie, you wanna see the animals?!"

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In time we reached the animals' living quarters, and shortly after, the Small Actor reached out to a shaggy sheep.  Now,  would-be-Viewer Dear, the view was a sight to behold!  The late afternoon sun shimmered off of that shaggy creature (the long-haired one), and lit up the blond curls on that small celebrity! The shaggy ovine nuzzled the hand of the tiny human.  And me--- I snatched up my camera!

Take a moment to calm yourself, Reader Dear, there's a big AAARRGH coming your way!  As I pressed the button that was supposedly destined to record the scene for you, the battery died in my camera.  (You see, that is just what happens to destiny sometimes--it takes a severe misstep! I'll spare you, Dear Reader, the urge to repeat my loud moan, "I've got a back-up battery, but... it's in the car!")  

Okay, I tried to be thankful for all of the photos that already filled my camera; tried to make peace with keeping the spectacular image all neatly recorded in my brain.  But, no!  I knew I could re-trace my steps if I chose; I could make that long trek to the parking lot and return with a workable camera!  I wanted that photo! After just a few moments of teetering, I figured I needed that photo!
Extracting promises that the Small Actor would be right there at the animal area when I returned, I set out for the parking lot, which suddenly looked to be about a half-continent away.

Now, Reader Dear, I'm going to leap over the part about me oh-so-briskly treading up hill and down, backtracking across vast expanses of lawn, and around multiple bends when I kept to the paved trail.  I'm also going to skip over the part about running around to numerous parking lot areas in search of the car (parked in the most far-flung section of all).  What I'm going to do is bring you with me as I arrive back at the animal area about twenty minutes later, huffing and puffing, and a with my feelings of gratefulness having taken a beating.
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 (It's intermission time, Dear Reader.  Take a deep breath, as I'm doing)
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I glanced around, looking for the Small Actor.  Then I turned my gaze to the grassy enclosure where the long-haired sheep had dwelt.  THEY WERE GONE!  Yes, Reader Dear, all of them had disappeared altogether!  I'm telling you this in a mild-mannered way because that, as they say, is how the cookie crumbles.  It's how the ball bounces.  It's also how the animal-keepers come and collect all the animals and return them to their pens at a certain time of day (just a few minutes prior to my certain return!)

So there you have it!  I had to eat that chunk of disappointment, and it tasted not at all like a crumbled cookie.  Or Thanksgiving turkey, either,  for that matter.  After I'd gulped down most of it, I set up a faux re-enactment for you, Viewer Dear.  Rather pitiful, really, but it will have to do.


















And then I told myself how very lucky I was to get this great shot of the geese and the goslings and the grandson on this glorious afternoon!*

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*We passed by the lake on our return to the car.  My son knew a shorter route to the parking lot, but I'd dashed off too quickly to hear it!
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Friday, November 23, 2012


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YESTERDAY'S GRATEFULNESS GREW as the day progressed.  There were the edible blessings, of course, which we ate with relish in the early afternoon. 


And then we had Thanksgiving Day extras for which our good Pilgrim fathers and mothers never knew to sigh (Alas, if only we could Skypeth with our dear dear daughter, so far away in the north country! [I count it as a blessing that they did not know, Reader Dear, about this internet mode of family visitation.  So much better to be grateful on this day of days, than  pining for a future castle in the air (or the talking image of a loved one)!])


We had music and dancing!  (Hmm. The Pilgrims may have sneaked a bit of this into their Thanksgiving Day, but you can bet those Puritans must have been frowning and clucking their tongues [or worse!]!)

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I was thankful that Thanksgiving Day weather down there in Richmond,Virginia, was everything for which one might wish  (I daresay, even the Puritans would have loved it!).

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Just to sum things up, my heart was filled to the brim with thankfulness the whole entire day!
I sure hope, my Reader Dear, that yours was, too!
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Thursday, November 22, 2012






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TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE Thanksgiving Day, and since my yard man and I had decided to postpone our travels to the home of our son until the following morning, I rushed out to buy flowers.  Traffic was already waxing heavy as I headed back home.
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Due to our well-thought-out decision, and  the early squawking of the alarm clock the next morning, we were able to see the sun rise over Baltimore!



And due to the delightful scarcity of other thankful people headed down our very same Thanksgiving super-highway,


we got to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV with our very own Small Actor!



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By the time the parade ended, I had produced a lot of movies and wracked up lots of things for which to say thanks!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

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BRIEFLY SCRAMBLING BACK INTO Saturday night, when the yard man and I stopped to see my brother and his family in North Garden, Virginia.  This is the brother with the cat named Monkey and the persimmon tree.
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Have you ever eaten a freshly-plucked persimmon, Reader Dear?  The flavor is delicious.  If one has a fondness for little fleshy sacs,  one might also crave the texture.   But my first prize went to the tree itself, so artfully draped with fruit! 
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(Cutely-curled Monkey caught my fancy, too!)
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Sunday, November 18, 2012



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I PROMISED, READER DEAR, that I'd show you the final results of my hours and hours of designing, sketching, erasing, contemplating a border, re-sketching; re-erasing (uhm, that kind of thing) and submitting for sibling approval, re-drawing of flowering vines ( "They're too full, should be more open and airy"..."It's not full enough, they look too much like strings"...ah, and I've got four siblings [and hallelujah for that, as each and every one was needed to get these stones to installation! (Well, and for lots more reasons than I can enumerate here, Dear Reader !)])!

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Yesterday the weather in the cemetery was a frabjous blue-sky affair!

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 Which gladdened the hearts of  those manipulating the stones and doing all the meticulous work of installation, as well as for those observing from various perspectives!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

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NOT ONE PHOTO! I don't have a single photo, Reader Dear, of the delightful lunch I had today.  Alas for that, it was a picturesque spread!  There was the savory soup*, the salads, the tasty plate of cheese and crackers, followed by a bowl of vibrantly-cut fruit.  And chocolates.  Best of all, of course, there were the friends-- five of them!  Dear Reader, there is nothing that adds such splendor to a meal as faithful friends. 

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 *Recipe requested
(If I ever see these instructions for making
Roasted Eggplant Soup, Viewer Dear,
there are strikingly sweet odds that you will, too!)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

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OH, DEAR VIEWER, IN ADDITION to lemons, life might possibly hand you a wonderful group of cousins-in-law, and a silly little piggy game, and a load of  laughter!
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A (strictly female) collection of first cousins and cousins-in-law traveled from assorted states to spend this whole entire weekend together.  Now, hurray for me, I am (by virtue of my yard man) a member of this exclusive group!  I could only join them for the fancy dinner at a restaurant tonight, and then for late-night snacks and laughter.  But wow for the snacks!   And golly, what marvelous laughter!*   (This group of kin had spent the day running around the county to an eclectic array of shops.  The pig toy was part of one shopper's haul.
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["Where did you find this!?" other cousins wanted to know.  It's clear that numerous grandchildren are going to see a profit at Christmas time in pork belly futures]!)

*Don't think, Reader Dear, we only had that pig to laugh about.
There was  much funny family folklore, as well!
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Thursday, November 8, 2012


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SUNSHINE!! 
SHARP SHADOWS!!

It's rocking my world, Reader Dear--this sunny day!  It's the first intense sunshine we've had in my section of the hemisphere for countless days (Well, I suppose they could be tallied up, but I don't care to do it.  Let's just say the clouds and gray and gloom and doom hung around far too long)



Of course, there were other types of sunshine to be had during that long gray stretch. Just last night I enjoyed this ray of brightness when my Little Actor celebrated with a second birthday cake for his third birthday,

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 and then gave a live stage performance!




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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

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 THE REASON I SAT UP late:
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Oh,very late.
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And went to bed happy.
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Monday, November 5, 2012

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YESTERDAY AFTERNOON MY YARD MAN had himself a wonderful time hitching up horses that had never before been hitched, and driving them around the meadow.  He had a guest here, another horse enthusiast, who joined in on this thrilling endeavor (Er, working with the horses very obviously quickens the pulse of The Yard Man, Reader Dear  [I can't say, however, that I was inside working like a dervish to finish my crossword puzzle so that I could join them.  (I'm just not equine-enlivened myself, Dear Reader)])  When the guest had left, and The Yard Man had escorted his horses back to the barn, he came into the house with new photos in his camera.  "Wanna see these pictures Christian took?" he asked me.

There I was, Dear Reader, fruitlessly searching my brain for the author of  An Awfully Big Adventure.  I couldn't come up with the  "Long-running Cartoon Network series" the puzzle was begging for, either.  I was ready to take a break.  So I threw aside the Sunday paper and settled in for a narrated show. 

But now, Viewer Dear, I am not going to pass along the horse pics to you. I'll admit my tale was all just a lead-in to the movie you're about to see.  It's one I discovered in The Yard Man's camera after I had curled up on the couch and enjoyed his digital display.

This movie features Baby Woodchuck eating the first real "forage-for-yourself" meal of her (or his) life.  

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Isn't she (or he) just adorable?!
You may have wished for the equine display**, Viewer Dear, but surely you agree that rodents everywhere are in far greater need of the positive exposure  (Mickey and Minnie have been working the cuteness thing for a very long time, and I'll wager you still set out mouse-traps)!

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*"I took that last spring.  He was just sittin' there, 
didn't seem to be afraid of me," said The Yard Man. 

"Probably because she was only a baby," I said,
"didn't know enough to be afraid."

"Look how he reaches up with his little hands,
he said, "and knows how to pull the stems down."

"Yeah," I said. "She's so precocious."
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**Well, okay.  Here's one.

















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Sunday, November 4, 2012

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FALL BACK!  FALL BACK!   Ah, Dear Reader, that extra hour--how I love it.  It's just about the best hour of the whole entire year.  That's how I feel about it, because not only is it an EXTRA hour, but I get to decide exactly when and how I will use it up.  I can stretch it out.  Parcel it out in tiny pieces.  Recycle it, use it again and again!  Last night I was able to stay up late and still go to bed at what one might call a reasonable hour.  Playing with all those extra minutes allowed me to see the sun come up and not feel cheated of sleep. 

With this extra hour I can psych out my circadian rhythms. I won't change the time on the bedside clock for at least three days.  Tonight I'll attempt to retire an hour early and my body will be none the wiser!  "Okay, yeah, I'm tired," it'll say, in spite of the time on the clock.  Then tomorrow morning there will still be some of that delicious, free and easy time.  Oh, it'll be marvelous for a day or so...

....until, alas, I will have used up every last shred of that surplus time
 and will have to fall back to the usual
 twenty-four-seven.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

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OH, HOW HISTORY DOTH REPEAT itself!
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