Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Flow of Topping

So, yes, Dear Reader, this will be the final one in a series of posts containing "flow" in the title.  (I'm assuming my life will flow on [and possibly the blog posts], but I'm getting downright tired of the word.)

Do you recall how the cake  toppings were trundled out to the car amid the hustle and bustle of leaving the cabin in the Poconos, after a full day of eating, drinking, and spending time with family at the lake and the cabin?  Well, the trip home for The Yard Man, Only Son, Small Actor and myself was uneventful.  We arrived home very late at night and Only Son and Small Actor spent one more night here at the home of The Yard Man and me rather than head home at such an advanced hour.
In the morning, when retrieving his carry-alongs from my car, Only Son discovered that, alas, the Strawberry topping bottle (that one that the little chef used to make his dessert) had toppled over and spread itself insidiously over the back storage area of my car!  "Do you have baking soda?" he asked me.  "I can try to clean it up."

Now, Reader Dear, it so happens that I've got someone I depend on to work miracles on the carpets at my sometimes-not-so-scrupulously-cared-for apartments.  A little light bulb popped on in my head when I looked at that topping flow.  "I think I'm going to need a more advanced procedure," I told my son. 

Now, jump ahead by a few hours, Dear Reader.

A Miracle!
"Jerry will be back about two o'clock," the woman on the phone had told me when I called.  "You can come then, and he can take a look at it."

It was a blistering hot day.  Generally, Jerry does not have drive-in customers (I'm surmising).  

"You can go sit in the office where it's air-conditioned," he told me.  "This shouldn't take me more than about twenty minutes."

Jerry worked for a half-hour in the blistering heat, while I chatted with his friendly step-daughter in the small inside office where a window unit was churning out cold air.

Viewer Dear, just look what he did!

The Miracle Worker!

"I'm going to do some advertising!" I told Jerry*


*In addition to the miracles, he's a really nice guy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Overflow, Flowing On

I'm sharing with you, Reader Dear, the rest of the story of the day in the Poconos. 

I was excited to share the day itself (very briefly) with two dear deer (sorry, I cannot resist the phonetic double; I have no idea how dear the deer).  I do know, Dear Reader, that my sister-in-law (who was driving the van) was a dear when she stopped the van beside the road to let me film this twenty-second wildlife documentary. 

I spotted the fawn (no pun intended*) while we were on the short trip from the cabin to the lake.

As previously mentioned, rain began to fall at the very time my sister-in-law pulled the van into the parking lot at the lake.  (Likewise, previously mentioned) I huddled under an umbrella with other family members, hoping for an early end to the sky water.  Other members were already out in the lake water, and they continued to play.  It was this action that prompted the following small drama:

It was the lifeguard who trotted out to the lake to deliver a message to my Itty-Bitty Actor and his father.  Are you curious, Viewer Dear, as were all of us out-of-earshot kin, clamoring to know the problem?

(No humans who have not been potty-trained are allowed in the lake!  "We're getting too much fecal matter in the water," the lifeguard explained to family members scrunched  under her life-guarding-chair umbrella.)

Itty-Bitty Actor tried not to take it as an insult**

Happily, after several rain showers, the sun shone over the lake for the remainder of the afternoon.  Then ensued  swimming, splashing, boat riding, raft-riding, paddle-boarding, and I got to have some chat time with Jack (it had been quite a while***!)


Back at the cabin, later in the day, Small Actor and Tiny Actor were having a grand time breaking world records in Small Stream Navigation (small stream more aptly termed Large Stream, due to...[all together now]... Overflow!

By now, it was time for supper.
A veritable feast!

My Itty-Bitty Actor was very fond of the corn-on-the-cob. He ate all the corn he could hold (while someone else held the cob) .

And, the grand finale:  Dessert!
Sure enough, true to his word, my Small Actor set to work and played the part of a chef!

Banana Cake a la Strawberry Topping
Chocolate Chip Cake a la Caramel Topping


That dessert put the topping on the evening.
It was getting late.
Only Son, Yard Man and I quickly trundled lawn chairs and leftover dessert ingredients out to the car.  It was time for us to bid the others (who were spending  the night) adieu and head for home. 


*I take it back.
The pun was intentional.

**My interpretation of what I think he tried to tell me.

***I think I heard Jack exclaim
"It's been about a lifetime since we chatted!"

Monday, August 6, 2018


Was it not I who was rhapsodizing about the rain only a week ago?!
Reader Dear, as we all know, April showers may lead to May flowers.
I'm here to add:  August showers can lead to some august overflow!

The Yard Man and I, with Only Son and my Small Actor in tow (they were riding in the car with us, no trucks or cables involved) set out on a (most-recent) Saturday morning to drive to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania (a relatively small town in the Poconos).  We were headed for a cabin in the mountains where some of The Yard Man's extended family were enjoying time together.  But before we headed up the country, The Yard Man headed the car downhill.

We gasped.


A small group of neighbors was gathered at the edge of an impromptu river running widely across the road! Where normally we see an open meadow and the road descending in a slow curve that takes us to our covered bridge, we now saw only swift-flowing water.  (Much more water than we normally see when the creek floods!) 

"You should have been here earlier!" the neighbors exclaimed.  "The people staying in that little house by the creek had to be rescued with pontoon boats!  Their car is completely under water!" 

We had to ooh and aah a while, of course.  But then we headed north.  
Listener Dear, I'll let my Small Actor give his explanation.  (He pleaded for the chance to do so, to be sole cameraman and narrator.)

"You're really going to make dessert for all of us?!" I asked him, the news being news to me.
"Yes!" he responded.  "Yes, I'm going to make dessert for twenty-five people!  But it's a surprise.  I can't tell you what it will be."
It was a pleasant hour-and-a-half trip, the weather sunny, the fields lush with corn, the small streams swollen.  About a half-hour along, The Yard Man suddenly braked the car.  "Did you see that?!" he exclaimed excitedly.  "You've got to see that!  I'm going to go back and show you!"

"What was it?!" Only Son and I asked.  Whatever it was, we must not have spotted it.  The Yard Man seemed pretty pumped.

"It was a geyser!" he said.    "A little geyser is coming right up out of the pavement! I have NEVER seen anything like it's right in the middle of the road!" 
He had turned the car around and we drove slowly past the spot where the water was gushing up into the air.  The geyser was only a few inches high, but it was impressive for its location, and the fact that none of us had ever seen this phenomenon before.  We had to gush about it for a while, as we reversed our direction once again, drove slowly over the geyser a second time, and then continued on our way.

Our next exciting event was arriving at the cabin, where we found two different species of family members relaxing (calm down, Dear Reader, I'm just talking about the hominoids and the canines, all of them part of the family).

Later there was a long-drawn-out lunch, as family members trickled in from various locations.

 After a while, some of us set out for the winery.*  It is a little distance to travel (I believe about a half-hour. There's so much talking going on; the time passes swiftly) but worth the trip.  There's the wine-tasting and the wine more-than-tasting. There's the viewing of lovely fields full of sun-drenched grapevines!

*It's grown to be legendary, this winery.  Some members of the family have been visiting more frequently than others; now, they (we) never leave the Poconos without a trip to the winery!                                         

After the winery, we spent time at the lake (there's a nearby lake).  The sun was shining brightly right up until the carload that I was a part of pulled into the parking lot at the lake.
That was the cue, I believe, for the afternoon rain to begin.*
*I sang no praises. 

There was time spent huddled together under a big umbrella (those of us opposed to standing openly in pouring rain), and discussing, intermittently,  whether to give up and go back to the cabin.  But, ultimately, the sun emerged victorious!

More to come...

Saturday, July 21, 2018


Glorious rain!  I've contemplated the fact, Dear Reader, that a rainy Saturday is not usually tops on the wish list of most people.  You know, it's summertime!  Weekends are for outdoor weddings and picnics and barbeques and pool parties and ballgames and outdoor concerts and bike rides and hiking and, well, they're just for being in the great outdoors to avoid the hum of an air conditioner or four walls closing off the natural world!

There's the little factor, however, that we've got to have rain at some point. One gets tired of unreeling the hose to water all the wilting flowers, and the vegetable gardens start to suffer, and the grass gets crunchy.  One realizes that when it comes right down to it, one should be dancing in the rain!!*

*Saturday or not, and sans an umbrella!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Summer Olio

The summer days have been so splendidly smooth and easily-survived here in my area lately.  Approaching my covered bridge the other day, I came across this picturesque scene:  A painter working on a picturesque scene. 

And then, there was this:  with the World Cup so recently capped, it's time for the next generation of World-cuppers to start getting their soccer caps on (Reader Dear, forgive me; sometimes I can't help myself.  [But, agree with me,  won't you?] There should be an equivalent for the "baseball cap")  Here's my Little Actor stepping up to the ball.

While not particularly a summertime activity, the Yard Man and I attended a performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at a local theater.  Reader Dear, it was five star!  Of the complete story of the Hunchback, I had recalled only that (you know who) did this (you know what) in Quasimodo's arms. Even with that advance knowledge, these actors still kept me on the edge of my seat!

Prior to that action on the stage, this action on the highway grabbed my attention, as the Yard Man and I were headed speedily into the city to see the play:
(Royal ducks.  No Crosswalk sign needed.) 

I believe the government is serving refreshments along the road where I live. 

Dear Reader, I'm letting you know: Out of tiny roots, some mighty fine  weeds can grow!

Now, lest you waste any time in pondering how I could have (or would have) overlooked such a weed in the space of time that it would take to grow to such towering heights, let me present my large and colorful defense:

(The wily weed's babyhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and well into its middle-aged life was spent safely hidden within the mass of tall and abundant blooms)

Speaking of colorful, don't you agree, Reader Dear, it's one of the largest perks of summertime--the abundance of bright decorations growing everywhere at the drop of a seed?!


Monday, July 16, 2018

Live Summer Music

Yesterday afternoon, Listener Dear,  I enjoyed lots of live music.  First of all, I got to see another live performance by my Itty-Bitty Actor, part of his repertoire of Beatles' numbers.

This was followed by a  rendition of "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you..."
presented by a pop-up singing group that happened to be gathered around the picnic table on the lawn of the Yard Man and myself (alas, no recording, as I spontaneously joined the  singing group).

"Shall I tell you my birthday wish?" she asked.

Later on, my Small Actor was strumming his guitar in the entrance to Domino's Pizza (with an audience of myself and my Tiny Actor and whomsoever happened to come through the door exiting or entering the main part of the restaurant).  I wished to film the Small Actor's mini-concert, but was strictly denied filming rights (by the artist himself).  As it happened, a young man (complete stranger) who was leaving the restaurant, requested the use of the Small Actor's guitar to do a short number of his own. This I recorded.

Ultimately, there was the Sunday Evening Concert at the Park, the most official concert of the day (largest crowd, most songs in their repertoire, most well-known singers). The band was Birds of Chicago.

My theme song, Reader Dear:   "...This is not the day I die; but if it is, that's alright"

Ending with a note of hope, 
"...the flowers of America, they will bloom again..."


Monday, July 9, 2018

Second Weekend

The tail end of the first weekend (the holiday which passed as a weekend), was finished off with a spectacular sunset!

I'm taking you back to the hill at Melvin and Esther's house, and the very pleasant evening with the hosts and their family and the group of international visitors.

The colors in the sky grew more brilliant as the sun sank.  Then, just as the sun was so far beyond the horizon that the light was nearly gone, the fireflies came out of the ground and set their little magical lights aglow.  Many of the Europeans in the group were thrilled to see them.  One woman explained to me that back home in Germany the lightening bugs had disappeared for years and years.
She was carried back to her childhood at the sight of them, and was filled with nostalgia.  Reader Dear, it was a tender moment.


But, the earth continued to move around the sun.  And I was carried along.  And here we are, Dear Reader, you and me,  at my post about the second weekend.
It consisted of a lot more (distant) fireworks, popping and booming and barely visible all around the horizon  (from my spot on this hill where I live).
All through the fifth of July and the sixth of July and the seventh of July and even the eighth of July there were after-dark fireworks.

(Viewer Dear, they were tiny and insignificant; if I were you, I wouldn't bother viewing these clips)

 As in the case of the first weekend, the best part of the second weekend was the final hurrah.  It was the regular Sunday evening summer concert at the park.  The weather was, once again,  perfect!  And the band was a good one, Lords of 52nd Street.

I sang, "Oh, sing us a song" while the band sang "Sing us a Song"
And they did.

It was a happy ending to the doubly-ended week, Listener Dear!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Two-Weekend Week

Reader Dear, when a holiday falls smack dab in the middle of a week, it's like breaking a chocolate bar in two and sharing it with a friend (You've suddenly got double the chocolate)!

First, there was the beginning of the week:
In which my Little Actor and my Tiny Actor present me with a course of study entitled Lego-Constructed Star Wars for the Uninformed. 

 (When the teachers tired of teaching, we took a break and simply played games.)

Moving on to the first  (fake) Weekend, aka The Fourth of July!

There was the family fest, compliments of the Yard Man's extended family (hosted by his Youngest Sis and Bro-in-law).  Fabulous!

This was followed by the Fourth of July late evening: fireworks popping all around the neighborhood.

At the start of the (pretend) second week, we had real and actual fireworks in the evening (the big kind, high overhead and impressive) at a local park.  Due to the fact that there was real and actual rain falling,  I confess, Dear Reader, that I dragged my flag (so to speak) about going to see the fireworks.  The Yard Man had made plans to meet "the German group"* and watch the fireworks with them.   At the last minute, I opted to join the expedition.  When we got near the park, The Yard Man pulled the car over beside a busy road where we hoped to have a quasi-acceptable view, and the van-load of Germans pulled their van in behind us.  Immediately, most of the foreign contingency exited the van and took off into the dark rainy night to find a better viewing spot.  The Yard Man decided to follow suit.  That left myself and the German driver of the van to have our own  small (and rain-free) International Viewing of American Fireworks Display!  (We each had a dry and comfortable window seat in the van).

Disregarding  the lights and noise provided by the passing traffic, the two of us rated the lights and noise in the sky overhead to be top-rate!

Advancing into the second half of the week, I had a marvelous afternoon with an old and dear friend.  We simply sat and talked for three hours.  (Well, we ate a little chocolate and drank some cold drinks) Alas, no photos.  But, take my word for it, Reader Dear, it was one of the high lights (pun intended) of my week!

On the verge of the second weekend, The Yard Man and I had a Friday evening  dinner invitation which we shared with the German group.  These German folks (and several from Switzerland) had come to this country to attend Horse Progress Days (this year it was held in Michigan).  Now they were en route to New York and their flight home.  Melvin and Esther, an Amish couple, had invited them (and us) to their home for a meal (pretty much an annual event).  The weather was a perfect ten.  The food was very high on the scale, as well.  And since I'm going to be using more superlatives to describe the evening, I might as well tell you that the barn (we had a tour) was the cleanest and most organized house for animals that I have ever seen (I marveled to myself and quietly told those horses and ponies how lucky they were!)

We ate outdoors:  Ham, green beans and potatoes, a corn-and-zucchini casserole, cole slaw, freshly-baked bread with butter and homemade strawberry jam.  Dessert consisted of  three kinds of pie, a raspberry sauce, and peach cake with ice cream.  

Viewer Dear, in the background of the above photo you can see a hill.  After eating our fill, the guests (with our hosts)  walked up there to a very large meadow.

Our time on the meadow, Viewer Dear, is where gushing is imperative! I've got so many photos of the sunset that it's going to be tough to show you a mere handful.  And, whistling on the grass, the lightening bugs, the camaraderie with new international friends, the sheer beauty of the evening...ahhh...

I've got to leave you hanging around the hillside, Dear Viewer.  So sorry to leave you abruptly, but this two-weekend week has another weekend to go, and the blog post is growing long.

(Just give a whistle and I'll be back)

*Click on the link.  You'll soon see, Viewer Dear, this hosting of international guests takes place quite regularly.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Beatles Cover Version

Listener Dear, I'm presenting you with the opening numbers to my Itty-Bitty Actor's new show.  The show has been such a hit with all attendees thus far that there's been talk of a booking at Madison Square Garden.

To encourage sales of the pricey tickets to this contemplated show, there's been talk of free waffles and ice cream for all concert-goers!
(Reader Dear, when ordering tickets, you need only mention the word "Quips" to receive a nineteen-and-a-half* percent discount off the price!)
*age-based discount

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Time Keeps Moving Along at a

pretty steady pace  ("time" developing into a major quip theme, if you'll notice, Reader Dear).

And rain keeps falling from the sky at irregular intervals.

During one of those intervals lately there was a graduation party for a grandniece of the Yard Man.  It was Sunday afternoon, at a local park, idyllic, except for the rainstorm.  Though, Reader Dear, if the glass is half full (of rainwater), then the rain provided an interesting layer of splashing and fun for the kids.  Two of my small actors were in attendance and their enthusiasm was not the slightest bit dampened (no pun intended) by the rain!

(Especially attractive to the younger set:  frosting on the lid of the cupcake holder.  They swarmed like bees to the nectar!)

The following Sunday a fundraising event was held at another local park.  The Yard Man and I and a handful of our descendants waited eagerly, and quite a while, for the food stands to open.  As it developed,  there could have been an announcement made: "We will begin serving food at the first drop of rain!"

 Due to the difficulties of dealing with the falling rain--the many choices of foods at multiple stands,  lack of a dry picnic table, and the simple fact that I did not have a third hand with which to handle a phone in addition to an umbrella,  I got separated from other family members. 

(What I'm trying to say, Reader Dear, is that I ate alone in the car with a dripping umbrella at my feet and rain beating a rhythm on the roof.  The food was exceptionally delicious, but no one to hear my exclamations of delight  [You, Dear Listener, are welcome to use your imagination]).


Saturday, June 16, 2018

What Did I Just Tell You,

Reader Dear?  Hmmm?  (A little clue: Things aren't new).

fence-painter extraordinaire
Yes, I tend to procrastinate.  There, you have it!  Ergo, any photo-story that follows is getting more stale by the moment (as all of history tends to do), and the moments have been accruing for about a fortnight (Dear Reader, there are terms in the English language that have aged, as well.  Fortnight.  The word has mellowed; don't you, Reader Dear, find the word more lyrical and lovely than a blunt "two weeks"?):

Milan, the young German guest of The Yard Man and me, had spent two months in this country, yet would be going home soon and would be a whole year older!  (Isn't it amazing how birthdays can work that kind of magic?)  We called together our birthday entertainment crew, and threw a birthday-farewell party for him!

(My Itty-Bitty Actor is taking on speaking roles now, which certainly enhanced the  greetings, to my way of thinking!)

Auf Wiedersehen, Mailand. Gl├╝ckliches siebzehntes Jahr!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Just like I'm so prone to do,

Reader Dear, I'm wandering back through history.  (Do not fear, it's a relatively short distance in reverse).  It happens, there were a couple of shows that the Yard Man and I went to see in the past few  months; I failed to say bloggety-blog about them! Without photos, I'd still be on mute even now. But I've got the pics!   In spite of the Yard Man's hisses to "Put that thing away!" I managed to (ever so discreetly) focus my camera on the stage. 
Here is a tiny scintilla of Million Dollar Quartet:
 Elvis Presley … Johnny Cash … Jerry Lee Lewis … Carl Perkins.  The play was based on a true story.  These four musicians were "brought together by an extraordinary twist of fate on a December evening in 1956"  The show was a four-star, five-star event!  If you can figure out what I'm saying there, Dear Reader, I'll give you my blue suede shoes!
Next, I've got a clip or two from a show to which the Yard Man had gotten free tickets.  The venue was a local spot that caters to tourists (who eat supper at the joint first, then eat up the show that follows, featuring actors portraying Amish) This show told the story of an Amish boy who dreamed of becoming a ball player (No spoiler alerts).  Here, Reader Dear, is one thing I'm going to divulge: Since we arrived quite early, the Yard Man and I were privileged to sit in front row seats.  (The seats were individual chairs arranged in rows).  I was so close to the stage that I could have reached right out and pulled on a pant leg or two with ease!   
My confession: while it's true that the play kept me interested, it did not prevent my imagination from frolicking around a bit.  Suppose I were to, um, sort of, um,  tie shoelaces together while actors were standing right there in front of me? (And, um, that sort of thing, Viewer Dear)
These final short bursts of video are not from a formal or actual performance that we attended.  They were just part of a pleasant morning the Yard Man and I spent in the city, pretending to be tourists  (We weren't looking for information or  Amish depictions when we visited the  downtown information center.  It was there we stumbled upon this little bit of "historic" action).  
Lastly,  we enjoyed drinks and a musical jam session atop a tall building in the city.

One little postscript:

Not a show, Reader Dear, except for the fact that this  recording features a few of my small actors, and you may be inclined to watch, hoping for some kind of story line or plot.*

*Well, okay.  After a family meal out, the Yard Man and I, with most of our descendants,  found ourselves wandering through a labyrinth of hallways somewhere in the bowels of the local mall.  But what was this?!  Were all the exit doors locked?! Some of the oldest and youngest among us became alarmed.**

**It was weeks and weeks ago, Dear One.
Rest easy.  We are no longer wandering there! 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sunday morning

of our celebratory weekend in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Yard Man and I decided that we would  attend services at the Moravian church.

First, we stopped by the hotel lobby for breakfast.   That, Reader Dear, is when I had to do a double-take.  Could that really be four men dressed in matching outfits over there at the corner table?!   Turns out that it was, indeed.  It follows, naturally, Dear Reader, that I needed to ask these four men if there was any chance they would be singing a song for me?  (Yes, yes, of course I explained the performance I'd gotten the previous morning). 

 "Sorry," one of these men responded, "you wouldn't want to hear us sing!" They all laughed.
"But," he added helpfully, "we could fly you anywhere you want to go!"

I pondered this.  It may not be undying love, I thought, but it still sounds like a pretty good deal!
I wasn't quite prepared to hop on a plane at the moment, however, (and, you know, there was the Yard Man to consider; I wasn't going anywhere without him!)  We ate breakfast and kept to our original plans.  We headed for the beautiful Moravian church.

What a stroke of luck, Listener Dear!  As if these fine folk are not already very musically inclined, on this particular day we were fortunate to get in on their "Music Sunday" service.

All the music was lovely.
 And the choir was simply heavenly!

Following the service, the Moravians served their traditional Sugar Cakes*
(pretty heavenly, too!).
*(Straight from Wikipedia, Dear Reader) "The Moravian immigrants who founded Salem, North Carolina, in 1766 brought this recipe with them from Central Europe, their ancestral home.  Originally, sugar cake was prepared once a year for the Moravian Church Lovefeast on Easter morning, but its popularity soon led to its appearance at other holidays and festive occasions."

After an outdoor (sidewalk tables) lunch at a restaurant with some very tasty food, the Syrian owner and some of the waitstaff posed for a picture and offered congratulations to us (you know, for the forty-five years together).  We offered the owner congrats on the very fine food and the fact that he's served two U.S. presidents.  (If you squint and look closely at the photos on the wall in this photo, Viewer Dear, you may spot these two**)
**What better enticement to eat here than seeing these photos?!  These two ex-presidents are the only two in U.S. history for whom I campaigned door-to-door!

The Yard Man and I made one more visit to the Moravian bookstore, and then we had to bid a fond farewell to Bethlehem and the winning weekend!