Thursday, April 19, 2018

No sooner did I saturate

the ground with Ted's Y2K water and tell you about it, Reader Dear, than I got a call from one of Ted's nephews.

"You wanted to hear from me if anything happened to Uncle Ted.  I found him yesterday in the little house where he's been living.  He was unconscious.  At the hospital they told us he'd suffered a massive stroke.  They don't expect him to live."   

Oh, Reader Dear.  It was unexpected!  I had thought, you know, that I would go and visit him in his new location.  I knew he'd be pleased to see me.

"I'm so sorry," I said.  "Do keep me informed.  If he comes back to awareness, I would like to send him something."

Saying goodbye to Ted at move-out

"Oh, that's not at all likely to happen," he told me.   
"But I'll let you know," he said.

Then Ted left this world.


When the nephew's wife called to inform me of his passing, she said that Ted had specified in his funeral plans  he did not want a service of any kind.  I knew, of course, that the grave site was chosen long ago.  The stone with his name had already been marking the spot for years.  Ted's final resting place would be in a small cemetery just four or five miles from where he'd spent so much time earning his "Best Ever" tenant award.

But if there was to be no service or ceremony, then that was that, I supposed.  I was a little disappointed not to pay my last respects.


I found another man to rent Ted's former space (and I didn't try to make it happen, but he's got the same given name!)

"I can come to sign the lease on Thursday, " New Tenant said, "Would 12:15 be okay?"

"Very good," I said.  "Yes." 

That evening I got a call.  It was Ted's nephew.  "The funeral home is going to put  Uncle Ted's body in the ground tomorrow, Thursday.  Two or three of us are going to be there.  There isn't going to be a ceremony, but you are welcome to come.  The undertaker said to be there at 1:00."

" Thank you!" I responded.
"I would really like to be there."

And so it was that I purchased some potted flowers and went straight from giving away Ted's former living space, to viewing Ted's final resting place.

The cold wind and rain made the ten-minute committal to the ground a rather less than pleasant affair.  My umbrella was blown inside out, and it was difficult to have any conversation with Ted's three family members.

As we were all preparing to leave (earth was going to be moved at a later time) I went to my car and got the flowers.

I set the hyacinth and the dahlia beside Ted's stone and said quietly,  
"May you rest in peace, dear Best Ever tenant.  You've got a far better landlord now than I'll ever be--never a rate increase, and a never-ending lease!"

With a tiny lump in my throat I got in my car, turned on my windshield wipers,  and drove away.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Water water

but not a drop that I wanted to drink.

Here, Reader Dear, is a little tale I'm going to tell on Ted.  (You know, the tenant with the "best ever" award whom I just described to you).

When he left his home of twenty years (the apartment that is now empty), his nephews brought a U-haul-type trailer and loaded up all the boxes and bins and bags of his possessions that he had so neatly packed.  They emptied the basement storage unit of most everything.

However, there were cases of water stacked along the walls.

"Shall we take those with us?" one of Ted's nephews offered.  "Or..."  He hesitated.

"Oh, just leave them,"  I said.  I knew their trailer was packed full and they were worn out from all the lifting and toting of Ted's furniture.
So the water sat in the otherwise empty storage unit for months while I dragged my feet on re-renting.  It's difficult to find good renters during the Christmas season.  And then came the snows of winter.  Eventually there came the departure of the renter with "worst ever" award and all that that entailed.  Now I had two apartments to fill.  I got busy and advertised.    

It was time to deal with the water!

It was only then that I pondered why Ted would want to have a total of twenty-five gallon jugs of water plus two cases of smaller water bottles.  Why would he stockpile water?

Dear Viewer, look at the date on this gallon of water and tell me that you recall a time when everyone was going a little crazy, thinking the world as we knew it was about to end!  Computers were all going to crash!  Everything was going to go haywire!  At the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999, there would be worldwide chaos!

It was Y2K!*

Ted had stockpiled water and held it for eighteen years!

It's true, Reader Dear. All the gallons were bottled in 1998 or 1999! 

Dear Reader, I chose a relatively warm and sunny day to deal with those bottles of vintage water.  I figured that water would never really "expire" but I had no wish to drink water that was stored in plastic for nearly two decades.  And I couldn't lift those cartons.

It took me forty-five minutes working non-stop to empty and crush the bottles.  It wasn't such a bad job, really; and, as I performed the task, I thought about Ted and was grateful he never had to break open his stash of life-giving liquid!  Happy for all the rest of us water-drinkers, as well!

*The fear was that all of the computers that everyone depended on would malfunction. People also feared that our luxuries would be destroyed and that we would revert back to living like the olden days without any electricity, heat or running water. They called this the great Y2K scare. The scare consisted of the fear that the entire computer systems were going to fail on New Year's Eve 1999

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Study in Human Behavior

That, Reader Dear, is what the job of landlord affords me.  Looking at the range of tenant actions, reactions, temperaments and life skills can be as fascinating as visiting a zoo!

Not long ago I finished the job of emptying a storage unit filled with abandoned stuff.  Mountains of stuff!   Evicting the tenant was bad enough (a long-drawn-out process and rather heart-breaking, as I felt Bad Boyfriend was to blame. Bad Boyfriend [who did not live there, but spent much of each day and every night "visiting"] brought drugs and teen-aged children who were into stealing cars and such.  So [skipping over many frustrating details]  I eventually got my tenant, Bad Boyfriend and all,  to move on. I emptied her dwelling space and did extensive repairs [broken fridge handle, broken window screen, broken window blinds, broken faucet handle...ugh, I'm not listing it all]). 

A few months prior to that, I had said goodbye to another tenant.  This tenant, Reader Dear, was the kind of which most landlords can only dream!  He was the very first to sign a lease with me*  And, wonder of wonders,  he stayed for twenty years!  Ted would make his rental payments three months in advance, took meticulous care of his apartment (He'd been in the navy when he was a young man in the 1950s).  He  was quiet, and kept me informed of all the goings-on around the place!  The fact is, Reader Dear, I had not one problem with Ted until he began to age and become a bit senile.  Then he morphed into a crotchety old man who complained bitterly about the tenant upstairs!  Dear Reader, I'm not going to go into great detail, and I do not want to tarnish the memory of Ted.  Suffice it to say, Upstairs Tenant was not charmed by Ted's banging on his ceiling with a broom handle and vacuuming late into the night.  Shouting loudly.

Though Ted never married and had no children, I was greatly relieved that he had a few nephews who lived a couple hours' distance away. I called upon them for help. They responded quickly and found a spot in their area to move their uncle.  "It's a nice little place, up against a mountain," they told me.
"We think he'll like it."

Sad as it was to say goodbye to Ted, I knew the time was right.  Although he was still driving his car and living independently, the Upstairs Tenant situation was untenable, and Ted was not happy.

His funeral plans were in order.  He had told me this years ago, and explained that all arrangements had been made and prepaid .  He had given me the name and phone number of a local funeral home.  Now I would not need this information; but, even so, I was saying goodbye to Ted.

"Perhaps I can come and visit you!" I told him. "I'm going to miss you!"

Because he had lived in his apartment for twenty years, I felt I should have new carpet installed.  But it was a tough decision--Ted's carpet was not stained or dirty, only slightly worn.  I had barely any cleaning to do, and no repairs.

What say you, Reader Dear?  "Best Tenant Behavior" award and "Worst Tenant Behavior" award in the space of a few months time!  As fascinating as orangutans and rhinos, no?!


(*Only one other tenant has outlasted Ted and she and
her husband were already renters when I arrived at the
job of landlord so long ago)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Boy and a Dog

They go together like a birthday surprise and birthday glee!
My Small Actor had a birthday not long ago.
He turned into a seven-year-old. 
And you, Reader Dear, are going to turn into a Viewer Dear ( I hope) In full disclosure, I can't do a thing about your age; however, if you actually view the following photos, you're going to be a teeny tiny bit older when you are finished [It's just inevitable.  Sorry!])

 A Story in Pictures:

The Small Actor had met Sugar the Saturday prior to his birthday, when, with his Poppy and his parents, he had visited several Amish homes that had puppies for sale.  Receiving one as his very own, that was the big surprise!
He decided to re-name her Megan.

The Small Actor received a journal for his birthday, too.
His first entry was a story in pictures.
I think it speaks volumes!

Monday, April 9, 2018

We've been having a

fine time, me and The Yard Man, with our German friend, Milan, who is staying with us for a few weeks.

Milan spends a good bit of the day with The Yard Man, but in the evening we all three eat supper together. Then we spend a few hours conversing in English and German (doch mostly English, it's true).  We communicate in lovely multi-lingual laughter, as well.

A few evenings ago Milan stood on a footstool and delivered some lines from Much Ado About Nothing.  He performed the lead role in this Shakespearean play at his high school about a year and a half ago.    (There's a reason, Dear Reader, why "German script for Much Ado" was displayed on my phone for a little while.  Milan was refreshing his memory).

The next night we studied photos that The Yard Man had taken of Milan's home in Germany when Milan was six years old.  After that, we googled the longest word in the English language and the longest word in the German language.  Before we looked up the words
I had said to Milan, "The longest word in the English language is ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM."

"No," said Milan, "That can't be!"

 "Yes, yes! It is!" I insisted.  "It has twenty-eight letters and eleven syllables!"

Then we looked up the longest German word (brace yourself, Reader Dear).  It is:


I confess that I shrieked with laughter!
"It's no wonder," I said to Milan when I caught my breath, "that you didn't think that puny twenty-eight letter English word would be the longest one we had!"  

Well, then, we looked up "Longest Word in English" and what do you know, Dear Reader. I had to eat my words! Turns out, the lengthiest word listed is a forty-five-letter word for "A supposed lung disease. (Humph!  I decided right then and there to make up a word for "To assign a fancy made-up word for a supposed something-or-other in which the word itself is longer than the meaning."  I have yet to coin the word, but the letter count will be in the high nineties.

Of course, after our exhaustive perusal of long German and English words, Milan and I thought to research "Longest Word in the World".  Here, Dear One, is where things get more than a little weird!  If you aren't busy for the next three and a half hours, go ahead and let it roll off your tongue!

"The longest word in English has 189,819 letters and would take you three and a half hours to pronounce correctly. Seriously. It's the chemical name of Titin (or connectin), a giant protein that functions as a molecular spring which is responsible for the passive elasticity of muscle."

Reader Dear, I was no longer laughing.  Nor was Milan.  We came to an International Agreement that it was the most ridiculous thing we'd heard of in quite a while!

After our study of long words, we regaled each other with tongue twisters in our various tongues.  We did some long laughing.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Reader Dear, the Snowy Days Pile Up

and then the weeks pile up.  And I end up with a whole stash of photos and little vignettes that get stale!
And still it goes on SNOWING!

Here's the latest, all you folks in south-central PA:  Looks like we are having winter weather until the cows come home.  And the cows, well, they set out for warmer parts, and ended up in Barnsville, Alabama (or perhaps it was Georgia; they saw the word "barn" and just kept heading there).  They aren't ever coming back! So you might as well hit your alarm clock each morning prepared for snow or hail or sleet or freezing rain right through until July 31.  In August we are expecting some moderation of the cold.  Temperatures might be in the eighties.  The warm spell (We used to call it "summer") will last for a few weeks before an unexpectedly chilly autumn will arrive.

Aforementioned stale photos:
I met this impersonator at the grocery store

The Itty-Bitty Actor and Small Actor searched for their Easter Buckets* (Okay, you see, by the time the [real] Easter Bunny got to the Target store, it was an Easter wasteland!  They did have an assortment of pretty plastic  buckets for just a buck.)

*My two other short actors were playing in the sand in the south (They did not go to Barnsville, however, and did not spot the cows)


The warmth and sun of Easter Sunday was but an April Fool's Day joke!  The next day we were back to snow.

I don't think the deer saw it as a good or amusing thing, either.

She was in a nearby field that I happened to drive past.  After I took the photo, she lay her head down on the snow.  In the event that she died, (tsk, tsk, I think it's likely) we've now got this shot to memorialize her, Reader Dear. 

 May she rest in peace.
May the snow, as well, soon give it a rest!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Maintenance--Part III

Arrrrgh, Reader Dear, I am sick and tired of expounding on all the ways in which I (and I'm assuming, you) must work at keeping order and some degree of cleanliness in my (your) everyday environment!  Truth be told, if there weren't so much maintenance involved, I'd have a lot more time to harangue about it all!  (Ironic, no?)

With that said, here's another whole category that begs for at least a small whine:
Alternate weather!  (It's my current reality,  Reader Dear, cannot be ignored!)
 No sooner does the Yard Man go out of town for several days, than the weather turns white and furious!  The weather cares not a whit that spring has so recently sprung! It completely disregards the fact that I have visited a gardening center and carried home potted sunshine to enhance my flower beds (though, thankfully, the flowers can wile their time inside and bring me degrees of happiness as we wait out the storm!)

The snowstorm laughs in my face,  taunting me with the fact that the Yard Man is not around to do the shoveling and shore up my shriveling fortitude! 

But, it's all well and good, Reader Dear.  A snow plow just roared past the house!
It's worthy of dancing a jig and throwing confetti,  the fact that my maintenance need not extend beyond the driveway!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Maintenance, Part II

HOUSING.  Aka, Shelter.
 Dear Reader, Part II in this spasm of blog posts focuses on the upkeep of the structure where one  (on a regular basis) attempts to stay warm and dry and able to sleep in relative comfort.  There is a wide spectrum on these types of dwellings, and a vast range of time involved to maintain them.  My assumption, Reader Dear, is that you're living in a house or apartment with at least three walls and a roof.  Oh, and a kitchen, living area, and bathroom.  Probably a bedroom or two.  Maybe a study or den.  How about an attic?  A basement?  A garage?  A laundry room?  Another bedroom?  An entryway?  Another bathroom?  A porch?  A patio?  Hmm, methinks you've got all kinds of systems--electrical, plumbing, venting, cords and cables and pipes of many kinds, a thermostat or two.

Now, there is the chance, of course, that you've got a landlord (please count your blessings!In fact, if you've got a good landlord, dance with glee!)  Even if you do have someone to whom you can toss your sticky problems (leaking water heater, clogged-up toilet, closet door falling off its track, mildew on the bathroom ceiling, roofing shingles and gutter spouts going awry...) I'm sure this landlord hopes and prays you've got a vacuum cleaner and that you use it!  Your landlord hopes there's a bottle of Spic-and-Span and a good degreaser under your kitchen sink (and some elbow grease to go with it).   But you're still getting off easy!

Here's my list of most-common maintenance woes (Reader Dear, they are only the ones that come rapidly to mind):

1.  Dirt on the floors!  The photo above depicts a mere TWO days' worth of real and actual dirt vacuumed from the kitchen and dining room floor of the home of Yard Man and me! (It's okay to gasp, Viewer Dear!  When I bought the new bag-less vacuum cleaner and emptied it for the first time, I nearly fainted!)
2.  Dust on the furniture!
3.  Dust-and-or-dirt on every surface within building!
4.  Grime at various spots (think: bathroom, kitchen, mud room (be you so fortunate to have one!)
5.  Upkeep of supplies and equipment for dealing with the above:  Vacuum cleaner, mops, buckets, toilet brushes, cleaning cloths, paper towels, soaps (specific to each task), sponges, plus an array of items one buys on impulse at the hardware store (because the writing on said product implies that cleaning will now be a "breeze"!)
6. Breakdown of equipment (as in: "This vacuum cleaner is no longer working right!  It randomly goes on and off, fails to pick up dirt!  What the heck do I do NOW?!" 
7.  Broken window blinds (all window treatments included).
8.  Leaking or broken water pipe and-or water faucet.
9.  Invasion of ants, bugs, beetles, rodents or any other unwelcome creatures into living space (Sorry, Dear Reader, humans not included on this list[as they must be dealt with in an altogether different and  [much] more difficult way!).
10.  Peeling paint, stains on carpets.
11.  Breakdown of appliances, already listed in previous post, with the addition of these options: Mixer, blender, coffee maker, hair dryer, computer, printer, phone, television...Reader Dear, what have I forgotten?

Moving along to the outdoor spaces.
12.  Roofing tiles missing.  Rapidly followed by: Leaking roof!
13.  Clogged gutter spouts.
14.  Peeling paint (and-or mold/mildew on siding)
15.  Outdoor faucet broken.
16.  Oh, and this one: (Hmm, how did this one come to mind?!) Should one happen to have an indoor fireplace--unknown creatures finding their way into stainless steel chimney [scratching, scampering around, attempting desperately to escape!]

Should one be caring for animals,  you've got another whole realm of categories (Which I refuse to go into, on the grounds that it would raise my blood pressure!)

Should one be so fortunate to possess even a tiny yard, grassy area, flower bed, or outdoor space, that is a great category on which to elaborate, and there is the large and demanding maintenance of whatever vehicles one might possess.  However, part II will end here, because, Reader Dear,

I've got some dirty laundry to consider! I've got a tenant with a new washing machine; it's not working right, she says!  I need to call the tax accountant's office, get to work on figures!  I've got to run to the drugstore for more meds! My car is patiently awaiting an oil change (I'm assuming patience, as there's been no real crankiness yet)  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Maintenance-Part I

First off, Reader Dear, I'm trying to maintain a blog.  I need to show up with a post every once in a while, so that your interest is piqued now and then.  Otherwise, interest will die.  Yes, facts are facts, and you read it correctly--I said die! (I have experience).

In addition to maintenance of the blog,  I've been thinking a great deal lately about the maintenance of all else.  Oh, so much else!   Let's start, Reader Dear, with the physical body, which
likely tops the list on time-consuming upkeep.

This embarrassingly large collection of maintenance products spotted on a local bathroom shelf

There's NOURISHMENT--purchasing or growing food, opening the faucet (maintenance of a plumbing system!)  or buying bottled water.  Lots and lots of sub-categories exist here, obviously.

One must stock the cupboards and fridge--canning, freezing (necessary if one is growing all one's own food, numerous trips to the grocery or market if not); keep order in the cupboards and fridge and freezer (no small job depending on number and character of those sharing  cupboards and fridge and freezer); prepare the food for eating; serve the food for eating; clean-up after serving the food for eating (i.e. wash the dishes, collect the food scraps, clean the sink, store the leftovers, wipe the table, wipe the counters, clean the stove-top.....  I'm sorry, Reader Dear, I'm getting tired. I'm not hungry right now, either.

Next on the list:  SLEEP.  As in: beds, sheets, pillows, blankets (or possibly just a sleeping bag).   Whatever one's sleeping arrangements, there's some degree of maintenance involved.  And, Dear Reader, surely you realize that on occasion the tedious maintenance involves Nitey-Nite Tea and earplugs and slumber masks and white noise machines and numerous and sundry etcetera.

PHYSICAL EXERCISE.  "Twenty minutes a day, five days a week!" instructs my cardiologist with his "this-is-not-just-a-suggestion" voice.

Reader Dear, let's jog along over to a category which closely relates to care of the body--CLOTHING. If you are fortunate enough to have at least several changes of outfit, Reader Dear, then you understand that clothing entails no small bit of  time in obtaining and keeping it laundered and ready to wear.  Don't overlook the procurement and care of coats, jackets, scarves, gloves, hats, shoes, boots...Sigh.  I won't go any further into this category.  One could simply move south, I suppose.  I won't mention upkeep of appliances, if one wishes to avoid hand-laundering of all clothing.

I just changed my mind: I'm going to mention Appliances (those necessities of daily, modern living).
Even if all one's got is the bare necessities--Furnace, Water Heater, Refrigerator, Stove, Washer--there's an annoying chance one will spend more time than one would prefer on maintenance of these.  Of course, for many, the list goes on and on:  Air Conditioner, Dryer, Dishwasher, Microwave, Toaster, Roaster, Crockpot...once again, I must just call a halt.  And move on to: Shelter.

(I pause to vacuum the kitchen floor, and swat a fly)

Parts II, III, and perhaps IV, to follow


Sunday, February 25, 2018

We Were Driving Right by

the hospital, so The Yard Man suggested we should stop and visit his nephew, who had been admitted a few days earlier.  We weren't sure if the nephew was still in residence, but we parked in the hospital's parking garage, went into the lobby, and discovered that he'd been discharged.

"Well," said The Yard Man, "Since we're here at the hospital, why don't we go up to Intensive Care and see where you were hanging out last year today?" 

"Hmmm," I said, then, "Sure."

I have very few memories of my near month-long visit in the ICU.  I didn't know if another short visit  would elicit a shudder or not, but I was curious to find out.

Walking past the row of gurneys parked outside the door of the Intensive Care Unit gave me a brief quaking flashback, but once inside the door we spotted a nurse whom The Yard Man recognized immediately.  When he greeted her, and she turned and saw us walking toward her, her eyes opened wide.   

"Oh!" she said, "Oh!" as recognition dawned.
"I'm so happy to see you!" We hugged and tears filled her eyes and slipped down her cheeks. 
She gazed at me fondly and hugged me again.
Reader Dear, though I didn't know her well, I felt a loving connection, aware that she had cared for me as one would care for an infant!
There was a bit of fussing over me, then, by The Yard Man and this nurse, both of whom had been privy to the intricate details of my squeak-through-death's-door stay in ICU (basically, my visit in absentia).  Nay asked about the intervening year since she had seen me; she asked about my daughters and son, with whom she'd had plenty of interaction; she asked about my life story as it continues today.  When The Yard Man and I left, she said, "I am so happy that you came in! Thank you, thank you.  I'm going to tell the rest of the staff about this!"

And then she said, with heartfelt emotion, "You made my day!"

Oh, Dear Reader Dear, I am ready to give her full credit for my very survival!  Let me just say this about this loving little nurse:   "She made my day!"*


*and possibly years of them!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Last Friday Night was a Cold One

in this area.  I don't know if it was what everyone would call a "three-dog night" or not*.

But, aha, that's what I got to call it. Lucky me!

Here's how it happened, Reader Dear.  The Yard Man and a bunch of his old buddies took their wives and went to a Three-Dog Night concert at a local theater.   There were fourteen of us (the group of friends with spouses) at the concert.  Good luck, again, as one of the friends has a brother who is manager of the theater where the concert was held; ergo, we got very good seats!

Now, the audience that filled the theater was predominantly a gray-haired lot, due to the fact that the performers themselves were already entertaining many of these same folks more than fifty years ago!
And, truly, it was amazing how advanced in years was that group on stage! how much stamina they possessed in spite of it!  how terrific they sounded! 

And the old crowd in the audience was enthusiastic, too!  Most of us were doing some degree of seat-dancing (you know, Reader Dear, body swaying, head swinging and limb-tapping to the beat!)  We shouted approval for each new-old song!

And, wow, there was even a musical number they meant to dedicate specifically to me (poor things, they just forgot [that night of the concert was the one-year anniversary of my death (just prior to the morning light)!])

After the concert, there was a get-together at the home of one of the friends and his wife.  The old buddies had planned a lavish spread of hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and drinks for the group, and they served them up admirably!  (So sorry for the lack of a photo, non-Viewer Dear.  It was impressive!)

All-in-all, this Three-Dog Night turned out to be a five-star evening!

*(Three-dog night. So cold you would need three dogs in bed with you to keep warm)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Care to Dance?!

When the question came to me, it was actually worded thus, "Do you want to go along to a dance party?"  It was First Daughter asking.  Turns out she was taking her younger son, my Tiny Actor, to a fundraiser that was being held by the preschool he attends.  She had also invited his cousin, my Small Actor, to go along to the Saturday afternoon dance. And my Little Actor was coming, too, to support his younger brother.

"Artie (cousin, and Small Actor) will be a pro at this!" is what my daughter predicted to me.  "It's the only way to get Ira (Tiny Actor) out onto the dance floor!"

Well, we got to the party and there was a loud and lively beat going on, and an actual DJ on the stage! In spite of this, though, the three actors made a beeline for the refreshments and vowed in no uncertain terms they were not going to dance!   

"Nope!"  they all declared, their plates piled with cookies, animal crackers and goldfish.


More and more tots arrived (This dance was specifically planned for the youngsters, though there were plenty of adults who couldn't stand still to the music ! [I confess, Reader Dear, I was one of them,  though I did my best not to make a fool [dancing fool, that would be] of myself!*)

*That twisting-and-shouting number, well, who else, Listener Dear,  would really know anything about that dance?!

 By the time the dance was in full swing, and the Small Actor had eaten his fill of sweets, he had a look of readiness in his eye.  It didn't take a whole lot of urging and suddenly he was on  his foot and moving!   So then the Tiny Actor, just as his mother had predicted, eagerly followed the Small Actor onto the dance floor!  They lingered at the edge for a while; but, before long they were full-fledged little dancing devils in the middle of that crowd!

(So much so, Viewer Dear,  that their grandmother had a hard time turning off her camera!)

**The oldest of my diminutive actors (Little Actor) is not into dancing (or massive crowds of preschoolers).  But he did most patiently endure the dance (kudos to him!) and he got his fill of cookies.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Have You Ever, Reader Dear,

had Buckeyes for breakfast?!

I have a dear cousin who is not a Buckeye (those humans who hail from the state of Ohio [where grow all those Buckeye trees]),  but he knows how to concoct a stunningly tasty, edible Buckeye (those chocolate-and-peanut butter confections that make you want to stand up and shout, "Hail to the person who concocted these!"

At the breakfast table was also a bowl of mixed nuts (roasted by the wife-of-cousin, my very hospitable hostess this morning!)  I was the only guest at this breakfast table, and, in addition to the  Buckeyes and nuts, I was presented with gifts!  Perhaps the most special was the mother.  Yes, yes, you heard me right, Reader Dear: My cousin gifted me with a mother!*
*(The mother had a name, but I
don't know how to spell it. Scoby?)

*Our human mothers were sisters;  but, once again, I'm not talking of humans here.

Before you get too confused, Reader Dear,  let me say: in addition to the foods at the table there was the drink.  Kombucha!   Lest I set off on a tangent about how delicious this beverage, and how nutritious and good for the body, and how entertaining my cousin's description of making it, plus his other interesting endeavors...I'm going to quickly give you a  rundown  of the steps for creating this beverage (as told to me):

1. Brew a gallon of black or green tea (herbal tea won't do!).
2.  Add a cup and a half of sugar*
3.  Add the mother**
4.  Add extras such as ginger or orange, etc.
5.  Let sit.
*Don't be concerned.  The mother will eat the sugar! ( So said my cousin)
**See what a gift?! Without the mother,*** this tea will never be Kombucha!

1.   a stringy, mucilaginous substance consisting of various bacteria, especially Mycoderma aceti, that forms on the surface of a fermenting liquid and causes fermentation when added to other liquids, as in changing wine or cider to vinegar.

I must tell you, Viewer Dear, that the appearance of the mother is rather enough to make a person cast their eyes elsewhere and feel a bit queasy!  The photo below does the mother great favors (shows her in the very best light)! 

But, looks aside, she is essential to the life of Kombucha.  And, too, only a mother can produce a mother. (So said my cousin).  Thus, those receiving a mother as a gift, well,  they should be looking upon her as a thing of beauty! (So say I).
Oh, the lovely mother!

(As to the Buckeyes, those two that I ate at that breakfast table this morning didn't need a mother.   Adam and Eve, I'll call them; they needed only a super-capable creator, and these two had a great  one!)
Thank you, Cuz!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Pitching You a Question, Reader Dear

Reader Dear, oh, Dear Reader, what does one do with all the pretty Christmas cards that have been sitting on display for all  these long winter weeks, until  now it is nearly the day for more cards (the kind that are filled with X's and O's and other sweet sentiments [These cards won't be nearly as plentiful, of course.  But they will make those joyful, bell-ringing, tinsel-and-holly ones look as outdated as pumpkins and dried cornstalks!])

Do I just pitch them?!

And while I'm at it with this pitching question:  What does one do with albums filled with a half-century's worth of real, actual, pick-up-and-squint-at-them photographs (plus all the scattered non-album kind) that have been repining in an overstuffed cupboard for years and years?!
Looking at the birdie
Most of these photos are not studio pictures (Dress up, drive to the studio, sit with head cocked at whatever angle the photographer orders, look at the little bird above the photographer's head, and smile as though you mean it).  That kind of photo was and is a precious and rare type and must be saved for all of posterity, of course. But what about all the snapshots.  What about the nearly faded-to-obscurity ones, where the photo was snapped by an amateur,  timed for a few seconds, ejected from the camera  and peeled from its backing to oohs and aahs of amazement?  What about those?!

Do I just pitch them, too?!

And here's yet another question to ponder, Reader Dear:   What does one do with all those items so old and rare and infused with decades and decades (if not centuries) worth of nostalgia that it's very tough to rid oneself of them?!  (I'll make a list, but it's going to be long, and it's going to get tricky [I still want an answer])

1.  Lovely old tin box containing thick curly locks of human hair tied in faded pink ribbons, hair that was cut from my mother's head when she was a six-year-old with Undulant Fever (Incidentally, this was the very year that penicillin was discovered, though not in widespread use; she had to survive the illness without it).

2.  Ancient German books, passed down for four or more generations by the fine folk who lent their    DNA to The Yard Man, many of these tomes inscribed inside the cover with the owner's name (or names from each generation).

3.  Tiny tea sets given to me as a child, one set from each of my grandmothers.

4.  A charming couple of acorn-head dolls, handcrafted by the paternal grandmother of the Yard Man.

5.  A hundred-year-old falling-apart leather book-bag with my paternal grandfather's initials stamped in gold.

6.  Contents of book-bag:  Certificates and school report cards of my father (whose top subject was math, I note). A faded, barely legible, penciled essay on the importance of obeying one's parents.

7.  Ah, and so much more!*  Once again I pitch you the question:

Anybody for pitching?!

*Viewer Dear, must you see it all?!  The antique dishes?  The dolls?  The paintings? The woven baskets? The braided rugs? The wooden loom?  The antique lunch box?  All of the knick-knacks?!!  Aargh.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Are You Still There,

(Two trees awaiting a match [one of them discarded here as a favor])
Dear Reader Dear?  Am I still a blogger (with a capital B)?

I've been hauling Christmas out the door, parts of it to the burn pile in the meadow, and parts of it back up to the attic. 

I've been turning the pages of the calendar and thinking about the pace of time! Watching the days go by, one after another.

I've been thinking "Life is SO weird!"
and "Hmm, wish I had a video of those horses (the Yard Man's, of course) trotting so splendidly in the morning sun; I'd blog it!"

I've been busy caring for loved ones.  Busy caring for tenants, as well (they're not exactly "loved ones," but needy human beings, nonetheless.)

I've been entertaining guests (though, ahem,  "entertaining" may be a bit of a stretch.  Let's just say, I've been providing a spot to lay their heads, the dear friends!  The dear brother!)

I've been ruing the fact that I didn't share the Christmas videos.  Rueing the fact that I've started countless* blog posts and let them die of expiration.

*Not really countless.  There were six.**

**Dear Reader Dear, I've decided there will not be seven.