Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bah? Is there a bug humming?

Still sitting here waiting for the departure of this cold.  It is a moving target.  Fever and scratchy throat and malaise have given way to chest congestion, cough, runny nose and grumpiness   Taking various PM drugs to sleep, but decided to try without last night and now realize that getting about 4 hours of sleep does not put me in the best mood.  (Don't you just hate when bloggers whine about their winter colds?)

Speaking of wine, even that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I seem to be able to eat cookies and cupcakes rather easily, though.  And Lindt chocolate truffles go down without a whimper.  I am living in stretch pants this week.

I have finished my Holiday newsletter and will print up a batch and distribute them to one and all who might scan them before tossing them in the trash.  There are only so many news notes on travels and photos of darling grandchildren and brags about adult children that my friends and relatives are able to endure before pouring more bourbon in the eggnog and watching a rerun of Miracle on 34th Street, or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or the Muppet Christmas Carol while wrapping some odd shaped item that was on sale and will find its way into the back of a relative's crowded closet.

Yes, I am grumpy.  I am heading back up to those darling grandchildren to babysit once again this weekend...unless I find my illness does not go away.  Then it will be up hubby to hold up my end.  It is only the baby that needs to be watched as all four other members of the family have different social obligations on Saturday.  They have full calendars most days.  Hope the baby can keep up!  Below is the command center that was recently installed.

I have finished much of my holiday shopping for them, but it is a bit of a challenge.  Just a photo or two of my granddaughters room is an example of holiday shopping headaches for those who are grandparents to over-privileged children.  (For the longest time I shared a bedroom with my brother AND sister until I was a teenager!)

Yes it does look like someone threw up a strawberry milkshake in here and one can get a headache if staying too long!

Oh well, I do not want you to think that these over-privileged children are spoiled.  They do their chores somewhat faithfully and seem to get along with each other phenomenally well.  I am blessed and will be in a better mood to realize that when this damn cold departs!

Monday, November 26, 2012


There is a hedonistic side of me that emerges more as I age.  I guiltily like being able to be lazy when I have justification.  For the past two days I have been sitting and watching TV.  There is little on day time television that is worth my valuable attention, so I spend time watching reruns of old favorite programs instead.  Then I go through my holiday photos that I took and sort them and later I begin the reading of the Anne of Green Gables series that I bought at the bookstore near the author's home on my summer trip to Prince Edward Island.  I have caught up on reading current blog posts but not reading the past posts.  "Why", my eager reader's might ask with the holiday season hot on our trail and a tree to be decorated and gifts to be wrapped, "am I being so lazy?"

Well, the weekend before my long Thanksgiving Day drive north, I spent babysitting my three grandchildren.  Naturally my lovely granddaughter had a nightmare and about 4:00 A.M. I heard the soft patter of feet and little child whimpers and then a tearful child was beside my bed crying from a nightmare.  I allowed the sharp kneed and elbowed girl into my bed and dried her tears and comforted her as we both attempted a speedy return to sleep which she succeeded in doing.  But unfortunately, my little grandchild was fighting a cold, sore throat, and mild fever at that time.  And she shared that with me.

My husband developed the cold symptoms first on the day after Thanksgiving and two days later I came down with the same cold symptoms.  My response is always worse than his, and even though I have been taking Zinc lozenges regularly, I still have symptoms and feel tired from lack of a good night's sleep.

But, because I am not super sick, I am kind of enjoying this gold-bricking excuse.  Tomorrow I will return to my lists, errands and duties.  But for today, I am being the grasshopper.

In the photos above we are driving in and out of a little of winter on our return from the north two days after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday Thoughts 13-#38 Thankfully

I will be sharing Thanksgiving away from home and with my son's future in-laws whom I have only met twice.  It will be a long drive and a bit of an experience, but I am sure by the end of the day I will be thankful that I didn't have to cook, didn't have to hostess, didn't have to eat with just the two of us and didn't have to bite my tongue once over something not worth such behavior.

Thus I am thankful that:
  1. The holiday catalogs that will fill my mailbox on my return are not overdue bills.
  2. The candles I light tonight are for beauty and not because of lack of electricity.
  3. The fire in my fireplace tonight before departure is not the only warmth in my house.
  4. The clothes that I pack are well-worn but by me and not a stranger.
  5. The long drive that I take will be to see friends and not to seek shelter.
  6. The food I eat will not be the only warm food  I have had that day.
  7. The stories I hear will be followed by laughter and not tears.
  8. The photos I take will be for smiles and not for insurance assessments.
  9. The tours I take will be to see places for the rehearsal dinner and not the damaged neighborhood.
  10. The thing broken will be my diet promises to myself and not something rare that I loved.
  11. The loss will be the passage of time but not whole days in my life.
  12. The hugs I share with others will be for the future and not to forget the recent past. 
  13. The thankfulness I give will be no less sincere than that of others on this planet.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving this week or an other time in your life, I wish you peace, understanding and forgiveness as you break bread with strangers and loved ones.

(posted early due to travel)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Peacefulness is Here

I did not grow up in a family that listened to music, either at home or on the radio.  I never heard my father or mother sing that I can remember.  I could not sing with a bucket over my head and my flute playing in junior high school was a struggle for us all.  But I was able after my children were grown and moving out of their teen years to listen to music on the radio that was not just popular or contemporary stuff.  I was able to focus on what certain types of  music did for me during my pauses in busy work days.

With no more college bills and reduced food bills at that time I was able to peruse music shops and buy a number of CDs from all genres.  Classical, broadway, international, jazz, folk and even some popular artists.  I today am listening to something called African Tapestries and it is filled with percussion that mimics the sounds of a lion, drum beats from some village, a flute that calls like the tropical birds and the sound of rain now and again.  It is as if I am sitting in some rainforest bamboo hut waiting for the storm to pass.  I have not converted these CD's to digital and may never spend the money to do that.  I also purchased an expensive sound system at the same time and have wallowed in this delightful decadence for years.

Regarding my prior political post, it was not removed because I felt I cannot speak my mind on issues.  I feel strongly about my liberal social values and my more moderate to conservative fiscal values as well.  You can ask any of my relatives and they will tell you I am no wallflower when it comes to controversy.  I am willing to listen to their side, and they must listen to mine.  But this blog was not created as a forum for that, so I try to keep away from going down that road.  My conservative readers are moderates, I really think, and do not need my lecturing.  My liberal readers will only agree with me in spades.  My moderate middle-of-the road readers can find their way better through factual research than my specific arguments.  So do not feel that I removed it out of fear of making someone angry, only out of realization that the conversation tends to be more one-sided in blogdom.  I do worry about those who think that politics U.S. is too far gone for their voice anymore.  Every citizen that throws in the towel is more dangerous than they know.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Good Morning

So sorry for the prior post and I wish to formally apologize.  I just felt my head was going to explode.  These past few months have been like being on a diet of bitter coffee forever waiting for the hot chocolate to get delivered.  There is a SMALL segment of our society (much like deeply conservative segments in other countries of the world) that want their way but since they cannot form intelligent arguments or ways to compromise to convince their populace they instead resort to violence, anger, and other stupid ideas.  I will be a very good girl, now and avoid writing about them and certainly avoid reading about them. (I deleted the post...did not want to give them immortality.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

That Canned Meat

I doubt it is just me, but I have suddenly been hit with spam comments on a daily basis to both of my blogs.  I have my blog set up where I do not require those posting comments to go through that annoying word verification window that is set up to prevent spam robots from leaving comments.  I hate this gatekeeper because it also prevents real people from commenting on others' blogs. I also have no restrictions on who can comment on my registration,  etc.   I do have an approval requirement that kicks in on comments to my posts that are over 7 days old and this is where the spam comments are being posted.

I mark these comments as spam so they never get published.  They are drug ads mostly...some clothing ads.  All of them annoying and clearly from non-English sources due to the bad grammar.

I do not want to implement that nasty word verification window that Blogger has created which is so hard to read that I sometimes try three times to get the code right when trying to place a comment on another blog.  After that, if I still have no success I just don't comment on the blog.  Most readers refuse to use the word verification at all.

At any rate, here is hoping we soon get a much reduce diet of that canned meat, SPAM!

Monday, November 12, 2012


It was the end of a long day in the garden for hubby as he put his beds to sleep for winter and a long day for me going through all of my office files and moving an ugly wooden file cabinet out of my bedroom and up the stairs into my little office on the stair landing.  We had moved all the patio furniture into the shelter of the porch and finished the process of getting it ready for winter.  We both were basking in the success of a well organized day. We had just stuffed ourselves on spaghetti Bolognese with a side of garden vegetables while we were waiting for NPR news to start on TV when hubby turned to me and leaning forward asked:

"Do you think you will treat grandchildren differently from your new daughter-in-law than you do for those from your daughter?"

I thought for a minute and realized that indeed I probably would.

I know my daughter intimately and while I allow her to raise her children as she wants, I do sometimes offer just a little advice when I think she needs guidance.  I also stretch the rules just a little when they are alone with me.  With my daughter-in-law, if they are lucky enough to have children, I will stand back more and wait for her actions to help me.  I already love her, but I only 'think' I know her.  She is very close to both her mother and her role will be much smaller.

I will live closer to them geographically, so I hope they feel free to call on us for babysitting and child-watching.  I feel strongly that is my biological role in life.  I cannot explain. but being a grandmother is a calling in my book.  I think it goes to the deep root of reproduction that is the core of most of us.

As I pondered on my husband's unusual question, I realized I had never given thought to how different these two families would be in my life.  I accept that our relationship with our children colors so many things that happen in their lives.  So tell me, if you have children of both sexes, who marry and have children of their own...does it make a difference in your relationship with the grandchildren?  I am not asking if you love more or less, that I know is stupid.  I am just asking about your philosophy in providing guidance to the children and interacting with them and their parents on a subtle and small scale.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Post Mortum

The results of this election have not really changed the egg shell mood of this country.  Deeply conservative people are angry and terrified.  ( I remember how I felt when George W. Bush was elected.  I was sure he was going to destroy this country or bring it to the edge of destruction with Chaney.  Guess what?)

I have talked to (former) friends who are so mad they are no longer going to vote.  Trying to reason with that logic is hard.  Fortunately, most of my friends are moderates...they are Republicans married to Democrats and Democrats married to Republicans and Independents not yet married, who realize that politics is an evolutionary model.  It swings to the left and then to the right and makes most of its slow progress in the middle with compromise.

While Trump was adamant that Obama was very secretive about his background, I was concerned with the fact that Romney deleted his emails and sold off servers and PCs to employees when he was governor of Massachusetts with the result that there was no information to send when freedom of information requests were filed to find out how he really governed that state.  I was concerned that he did not reveal his taxes.  If you want to be the Head of State I want to know everything about your finances and I think I have that right.  I did research Bain's success under the time of Romney and found that the huge majority of companies purchased were sold off and shut down.  Of those that Bain did help, only seven really became successful under Romney and only four continued in the black being able to carry the debt that Bain left them after he left.

But I also want to point out I am not happy about Obama's record on the environment.  Neither candidate even touched these issues due to the recession.  Clean air and clean water are too expensive these days. The Keystone pipeline will be completed under this president...but perhaps that is the least of our environmental issues. 

This President is pretty moderate by standards of years ago.

This article here (not really tongue in cheek) makes the case against a liberal president and shows you we are in moderate, if not totally conservative, hands.    Read it before the link disappears as they all do.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Make the Pledge

This is a new day folks. Please make a resolution to find and focus on Common Ground. WE agree far more than we disagree in spite of what the Citizen's United Ads have tried to convince you.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Nothing Shared

One of the most important and powerful things in my life as I age is that file of shared memories I keep nearby and open at the oddest moments to peruse.  While we remember the dark and sad times in our lives, I think that we most often allow our minds to turn to those happy and meaningful events that we shared with those we love.  These are our restoratives and reminders that our life has been good.  I realize that they do not have to be monumental periods in my life.  The memory can be studying a spider spinning a web with a two-year-old on your hip, brushing the pollen from the pants of a 5-year-old tree climber just before he boards the bus for school, the sweet/sad memory of a little girl sitting on her metal lunchbox as she waits for the school bus.  I also have a few big memories such as the memory of an evening in Hawaii standing on a hotel balcony overlooking the beach with a rising moon when my husband presented me with a new diamond to replace the one lost so many years ago and which was too expensive to replace at the time, or that time my husband, who greets life with endless enthusiasm, woke me at 2:00 A.M. during a camping trip so that I could see the tropical reef at an exceptional low tide under a full moon.

But lately, being a bit greedy, I have been having regrets for all the memories I have not been able to make. Life moves on with those I love who live outside my house.  Their days are busy and full of tales and I am not there to see or hear them.  I might get a shortened version of the more interesting or dramatic, but the little memories are only for those who were there.  I have missed the grandchildren's first days at school and all the stories they might have shared when they got home and sat for dinner.  I have missed the weekend and after-school learning or successes they experienced.  I have missed the daily jokes and get-togethers of my own brothers and sisters that live so far away.  I wish I could be there for the new challenges they have tried as they move into the later part of their lives.

I also think about the memories others missed.  My third grandchild will not know all the early fun times we had with his brother and sister over the years before he arrived and while this is natural and inevitable, it does cause me pause as I realize we all have missed so much stuff.  I then think of those whose families are broken and how difficult it must be to keep continuity to shared memories when some must be kept away in a quiet place that is visited only when everything is perfect.  It is a tricky dance and full of land mines when skipping over these memories.

I know that I am reaching that time in my life when memories are going to be the most important tools I have and need to fill the sometimes big empty pauses in each day.  Looking back can be such a bittersweet time, can it not?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Downfall of the Aftermath

As those of us who are intelligent understand, this type of weather is the new normal.  We have had 7 national weather disasters this year and had 14 last year.  Those who deny global warming and our role in it, will not be spared the forest fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or micro bursts to come any more than the rest of us.  We were spared the worst as I posted recently.  But while waiting for Sandy to arrive and a full 12 hours before we felt the strongest force of her dance, I looked out my formal room (I call it the library) window and saw this tulip poplar in the center of the photo leaning away from his compadres.  This tree is over 100 feet high and all the poplars that are the same height on this part of the yard have been compromised due to a septic drain field which was put in when we built the house.  We had lost another tree just like it and only a few feet from it last year.  I checked on it every 10 minutes and it continued to lean more.  I was fixing a snack when...

I did not see the actual fall, but was not surprised.  More firewood for next winter.  Another section of deer fence to repair!  We also lost the lovely little wild fruit tree down at the dock.  It was such a little tree, but its roots had sat in the brackish water too long.  It had provided many lovely little white blossoms each spring, but will do that no longer.

During the noon of Tuesday, long after Sandy had checked out and checked in up North creating more disaster, I went down to the dock at high tide.  The little dock platform on the right was not even visible.  Still this flooding was not as horrible as it could have been.

But I think the biggest surprise was when I opened the front door just before the tree fall and saw my old Mazda with its sad expression.  I had clearly neglected it way too much after the purchase of my new car.  While my new Camry sat safe and comfy in the garage, the Mazda was left outside in the wind and rain.  I stood in the doorway and saw the Mazda which sat like a small wet mammal wanting to come in and dry off!  It had ruined the lawn  in its crossing I noticed.

(Hubby did drive it here in the shelter of the garage.
Sandy does not have a driver's licence and you should see what she had done to other cars!)