Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cool, man, cool

And when it cools off here boy does it cool off.  t was 47 this morning, only got up to the 60's and it was windy and rainy with occasional sun.  Brrr.  Not complaining, I try hard not to complain about the weather.

I had a nice morning, coffee with Fred and Linda, then we went out for breakfast.  The food wasn't great but we had a good time.  It rained hard while we were out and about, rained less during the day after that.  I went to our favorite produce place, stopping in AuSable on the way.  I went to the cemetery and deadheaded the geraniums on graves.  The plants look surprisingly well considering the neglect that's been showered on them.

I actually dozed this afternoon, cuddled with a dog under a comforter on the couch.  Nice, very nice.  It was too cold and wet to do much outdoors so I settled for a non-productive day.  Oh, yes, that's a rare thing for me, right?

I was supposed to "help" train a puppy that some friends got from my breeder today but the session was cancelled because of the rain.  It was rescheduled for next week, when MY SISTER will be here.  I need help saying no to invitations: these friends invited us for dinner while Molly is here, I managed to say no to that, but instead we're having lunch with them.  So far we have commitments for Sunday lunch, Monday lunch and Tuesday dinner.  That doesn't cover everyone, not by a long shot.  I'll do my best to head off invitations but I'm notoriously bad at that.

I stayed in the boat house 2 nights, the first was Sunday, when it was hot oh so hot.  Linda and I went to the farmers market Sunday morning, which was great.  Didn't get much stuff but it was good to be there and I saw friends.

On Monday Linda and I had a grand dock day but it was very windy.  90 degrees but a cool wind so sitting in the sun was pleasant.  We swam a few times in very cold but refreshing water.  So cold that you don't ever get used to it, but it feels wonderful when the sun is hot.

Monday night we had an incredible storm with huge amounts of lightning.  The storm didn't hit us directly, it seemed to be on the other side of the mountain.  I watched and watched the lightning from the boat house porch, getting wet because the rain blew all the way across the porch.  A tree came down on OHR, by the hardtop and the Highway Dept. cleaned it up around 7 a.m. yesterday.

I've been visiting with friends and neighbors, getting into the summer swing.  Cocktails with Joe & Martha, dinners with Linda & Erdvilas, visiting with Pat & Jim.  Lots of couples in my life, not many singles.

Tomorrow may be lunch with Barb and some shopping in prep of Molly's arrival.  She flies in to Montreal Saturday afternoon so I'll see her then.  Looking forward to some quality sister time.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hot and hot

We're having summer again.  It's been getting progressively warmer every day and today we're approaching TOO hot for me.  I've had nice times sitting on my deck and sitting on Linda's dock, but now it's time to head to the lake.  This afternoon I'll sit with Linda on her dock, tonight I'll sit on the boat house porch and maybe I'll even sleep there.  June nights this year are cool, temps in the 40's when I get up so I haven't been staying by the water.  That will change for the next few days, though.

It was a rough week for my mother--her sister Louise died on Wednesday.  She was 93 and had Alzheimer's, died rather suddenly.  She had been ailing for maybe 2 weeks and just slipped away.  I've been talking to my mother every day, she's progressing from feeling very sad to thinking of memories with her sister and family.  I remember my aunt fondly, she was a warm and happy person.  Her son, my cousin John, my mother and I are working on an obituary (my mother doesn't have email so John sends me things and I read them to my mother; additionally John will call me with messages and information for my mother, he finds it harder to talk to my mother because it's a very emotional thing for both of them).  Tomorrow I'll call my mother again and we'll go over our editing of the text John sent me today.  The funeral will be in Lexington, Mass. the second weekend in July, when my sister and I will be in Rhode Island.  That will be good, we can take my mother and probably Mark will go as well.  My mother's delivering a eulogy, she was pleased, I think to have been asked.

What else is going on with me?  Busy social activities.  Dinners, lunches, yoga.  I cooked delicious lobsters, clams and mussels for friends.  Man can those people eat a lot of shellfish!  I thought there would be leftover clams but I was wrong.  Which was good I think.  I cleaned the house gradually so there was no great flurry of activity on the day of the dinner.  What a grand thing!  I'm still getting used to having so much free time, am used to cleaning for a few hours at a time to get everything ready the day of a dinner. 

This afternoon I'm going to Linda's, to sit on her dock and look across the lake with our binoculars.  There aren't too many people on the lake yet but there are a few boats and jet skis on weekends.  Ugh, we much prefer the silence of weekdays.  Hard to believe the 4th of July is 2 weeks away.

My sister comes in a week.  I've done a little to get the boat house ready, will spend more time there this week cleaning and setting up.  Water in camp is a problem (or non-existent) and the boat house dock has not been put in.  Molly and I can't do that so we'll either use the camp dock or just get in the water from shore, over the rocks.  Not a huge deal but boy it is nice to have a dock.

My niece Jenica is going to CUBA!   She's going with a library contingent to set up a program, will be there for a week.  That is so exciting, and I'm so proud of her.  What a great thing. 

My friends are well.  I am well.  My dog is old but well.  My other dog is ripping apart the cushion on the couch whenever I leave her alone at home.  ratpig.  I have all of my wood for the winter delivered and paid for but not stacked.  That comes later.  Getting it is step 1, paying for it step 2, stacking happens when other people do it.

The coming week looks quiet (so far).  How great is that?

Monday, June 13, 2016

How long has it been?

I had made a promise to myself that I would write for this blog at least twice a week.  I also made a promise to myself that I would do 3 things every day.  So how's that working out? 

I've been busy, mostly with a social life.  I keep a wall calendar and write salient appointments, lunches, events on it.  The first half of June looks pretty full.  Lots of lunches with Julie (one a week), yoga every Tuesday night with Julie, lunch with Barb, dinner with Linda, dinner with Anne, dinner with J&M.  So mostly it seems to be about food, in my life.

I did take the dogs to the vet for their annual visits.  My nice, homespun, local vet sold his practice to a big corporate-style practice so it's not what it used to be.  The office I've been going to or 30 years is in Westport, the vet I've seen is not often there, and prices have risen dramatically.  I've been thinking of switching to another vet but it's so hard to sever ties.  Anyway, I took both dogs and they passed with flying colors.  Tess was miserable, wouldn't sit still, struggled and squirmed and finally fell off the exam table.  Treasure was a perfect patient.  I asked the vet which dog she thought I had trained, and which I got as an adult, already-trained dog.  Huh.  She doesn't know me terribly well but sure could guess that Treasure was NOT a product of the ESRogers Training Program.  It was all fine, they got their shots, had blood tests, I got meds to bring home, all for $500.  I guess I should be putting away $50 a week for next year's visit.  Both dogs weigh a mere 53 pounds, which is great.  Tess lost 5 pounds during the year so she gets even more treats and biscuits now that she's 13.

My yoga skills aren't really improving, I only go once a week.  Some of the positions are not difficult for me but some are uncomfortable and unpleasant because my huge gut gets in the way.  There are a couple of positions where we're all pretzeled and bent over and I can barely breathe.  The teacher is very nice and doesn't make me feel like an inflated beach ball, and Julie and I are always right in front of her.  Yoga is like other classes, in which people always want to be in the same spot week after week.  We're the most recent joinees so planted ourselves in the front.  Brave of us, no?

The weather has been extremely crappy.  Temps in low 40's in the morning, lots of cold wind and plenty of clouds.  Some rain, which was nice for my plants.  I did get nearly all of my container planting done, I just have a few more plants to find a place for.  I planted nasturtium and cucumber seeds, as well as moonflowers and morning glories.  They've all come up but there's one pot that I thought I planted nasties in but there's no sign of life so maybe I forgot to put any seeds in the dirt.  I'll give it a little more time but it sure looks stoopid.

I have some transplanting to do--I brought back some evening primroses from RI, must plant them, and I have to dig up the giant globe thistle plant that's crowding and blocking the snakeweed plant that I really like.  Last year I dug up the thistle and moved it but that only encouraged the remaining growth and now it's huge.

We had a really nice Belmont party but none of us picked the race winner.  The food was delicious, Linda made a great new Belmont cocktail, and it was a good evening.  I did think Exaggerator was going to win but I was wrong wrong wrong.

Book group met at Linda's and we spent (what for us was) a good amount of time discussing the unremarkable book.  We'll meet again at the end of July so we're reading 2 books this month, very unusual for us.  The books are The boys in the boat and Little women.  I've not read Little women and a looking forward to that.  I'll re-read the boys book, I wasn't as enthusiastic about it as pretty much everyone in the whole world was when I first read it.  What I'm reading now is the new Richard Russo book, Everybody's fool, which is a wonderful, wonderful book.  My only complaint is that it's long, very long, but things are moving right along.  Rich characters (most of whom we've already met) with fantastic plot twists.  Oh I love this book.

I went to an author luncheon last week, a local author who's a friend and former library director.  I bought the book Adirondack outlaws, to give to Joe because I thought he'd enjoy it.  While I was visiting Linda for a matter of minutes, mere minutes, Treasure ate the first 28 pages of the book.  I debated whether it was an appropriate gift, but decided to give it to Joe anyway.  Honestly, I'd had the book in the car for less than an hour before Treasure grabbed it.  What a ratpig.

I got to use my new cordless reciprocating saw yesterday, which was sooooo much fun.  I cut up a piece of plywood, putting one piece under the cushion of a Mission style chair and putting another piece under the broken couch that I've sworn to replace just as soon as, well, as soon as I can.  I threw out the dogs' favorite chair and replaced it with the Mission chair and they are not, so much not happy.  They approach the chair, look at it, look at me, then cross the room and get on the couch.  Oh the poor dears.

My sister comes in less than 2 weeks!  She's flying to Montreal on the 25th so I'll pick her up there and we'll spend 4 or 5 days here before heading to a cousin's house in the Finger Lakes, then on to RI for 10 days before returning here for a couple of days.  How will it be to be with my sister for 3 weeks?  Fine, fine and wonderful.  We each know that we need alone time, so there will be plenty of that mixed with good visiting.  I have some work to do in the boat house before she comes but it's just too cold to want to get to that.  Supposed to warm to the 80's late this week so maybe I'll really get that taken care of.  I need sunshine before I can get much outdoor work or boat house work done.  That's just how I am.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Where did it go?

I don't know where the week went.  Day by day I got things done, saw people, had fun.  The weekend was busy, the Holts were here, there was a dinner at J&M's, and I did a lot of planting.  I have almost all of my flowers planted in containers on the deck, with still some cosmos and cleome to plant in the ground and enough flowers for one more container.  I bought more dirt--I've used more dirt this year than ever before, having a great time mixing it with cow manure in the wheelbarrow and filling the pots.

Coffee in the mornings with Linda and Fred, sometimes just Linda on her lakeside porch, sometimes at Fred's on his porch.  It was very hot, unpleasant for me and hard for me to be very productive.  It's cooled off a bit now but today is a big muggy and in the 70's.  We had a big rain storm on Sunday afternoon, complete with hail.  It poured and poured--so much that my sump pump got in on the action.

Tuesday I went to Plattsburgh, ran a few errands and had lunch with Julie.  That night we went to yoga class together.  Stretched muscles I don't usually stretch so I was a bit sore yesterday but am fine today.  I've been cleaning my house in prep. of dinner for Linda and Erdvilas--the original plan was to cook them a lobster dinner tomorrow night, but I've postponed that until next week.  Meanwhile I cleaned the living room and even vacuumed the rug.  Yikes. 

Yesterday I finally went to the cemetery to plant flowers on the dead people.  I had a ton of geraniums, plus some portulaca and lobelia for my father and brother.  The plot has no shade so there's not much I can plant there, every year it's geraniums.  Maybe this year I'll actually go to the cemetery during the summer and deadhead the plants.  maybe.

Today was a banner day, my friend showed up with his dump truck and we had a grand time filling it.  Boy did we fill it.  I had taken some things out of the mud room, and we cleared all the crud off of the deck (broken table, falling-apart planting table, broken this and broken that), plus we threw out the pieces of foamboard that were scattered around the side of the house.  I had him take away the huge chair in the living room, much to the dogs' dismay.  It was their favorite spot.  Too bad, I was so tired of that chair and it was falling apart.

Tomorrow is another Plattsburgh day, lunch with Barb and a few errands.  I hope to finish planting everything in the morning.  Hope to.  May.  Perhaps.  Stranger things have happened.  We had good rain this afternoon that watered everything so that was nice.  I think tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and not obnoxiously hot.

Saturday I'll probably get together with Julie, although there's a big bikefest that will close lots of the roads between her house and mine.  We'll see what we can do.

Apparently the docks and water were put in in camp on Monday.  I haven't been down there since I opened the boat house last week.  It wasn't the usual cousins who put in the docks so it will be interesting to see how it was done.  I guess I'm responsible for opening main camp and don't plan to do that until the end of the month, when my sister will be here to help me.  Sometimes people show up in June to use camp, but it won't be ready for them so SOMEONE ELSE will have to do it.  That would be grand.

I had the nicest morning today, just a pleasant time when I said I LOVE THIS LIFE.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Successful trip but I missed Adk spring

I had a good trip to Rhode Island, good visiting with my mother and with Mark, celebrating Mark's birthday, eating lobsters, buying flowers, reading and resting (resting? resting from what?).  The weather was good and they were about as far along in spring (leaf-wise) as were were here in Hawkeye when I left home.  BUT...when I got home on Monday there were green leaves all over the place here.  Rats!  We had a 5-day spring and I missed it.  Well, it's still spring here, it's just that I missed the big drama of it.  Now the woods are pretty much obscene green but the leaves aren't quite big enough to be noisy so it's still a quiet place.

People have arrived for the season--Joe & Martha came while I was away and are well settled in now.  Linda arrived Monday and I spent Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and part of today with her.  We totally enjoy being together and have fun.  Yesterday we went to Plattsburgh, got plants at Pray's--I bought 8 geraniums, ostensibly for the cemetery, but most of them went into a pot on my deck this morning.  I'll get more tomorrow when I go into town for lunch & errands.  Today Linda and I went to Asgaard to see the goats and buy some meat (not goat meat, I just bought pork).  Tonight I'm home alone (with the dogs) and have a couple of phone calls to make.  I planted many, many flowers this morning, all in containers for the deck.  So very satisfying.  I have more to plant but ran out of dirt so I'll get more of that tomorrow, too.  I have to plant seeds: cucumbers, morning glories, nasturtiums and moonflowers.  Get those seeds in the ground!

I haven't been to camp yet, every day this week I've thought I would get to the boat house to open it up, but other things came up.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to get myself down there, it's supposed to be hotter tomorrow than the 84 it was today, so maybe when I get back from town I'll do that, then sit on the porch and enjoy a lake breeze.  We need rain, it's been hot and dry for the last week, didn't rain at all while I was away.

I went to yoga class with Julie on Tuesday night.  There as a big crowd--15 women, and it was fine.  Do I really like yoga?  Maybe not so much but it's sure good for me to do SOMETHING.  I walked to the neighbors' house this morning to drop off something, retrieving Tess on the way.  The planting I did took lots of moving around and hauling dirt and pots, so that was good.  The black flies haven't been bad--if/when it rains that will change.  I know there will be flies, we couldn't have a June without them.  They were out before I went to Liza's, but where have they gone now?
My mother doing what she likes to do in Rhode Island (and one of reasons she moved there from land-locked northern Illinois): looking at the water.  This is near our seafood haven (Champlin's), watching boats leaving the docks, watching the Block Island ferry come and go, watching gulls and cormorants (ugh) and just enjoying the view.  We went to her best ocean-spotting place, near the town beach.  It was a windy day and the surf was big (by RI standards) so there were more than 25 surfers there.  Mostly the surfers seemed to be sitting on their boards, waiting for the perfect wave.  Apparently there weren't many perfect waves, they all sat there a long time.

Dinner set for the Violet Dinner.  Every year Liza and Mark celebrate the blooming of the violets by setting the table with some of the zillions of violet-themed dishes they've accumulated over the years.  They stopped trying to find purple food to serve, we just had steak for Mark's birthday.

Dogs doing what dogs do at my mother's house.  They get pretty bored there--their freedom is limited to a small pen and they get tired of sniffing the violets and lilies of the valley there.  Tess was a BAD DOG one day and wandered off into the woods, ending up in the middle of the road.  She was rescued by a nice young woman who knew enough to read both sides of Tess' ID tag, so she could call my mother's house to report the wayward pup's location.  Whew!  That was a big deal and both Liza and I were hysterical.
My mother's back yard and the back of her house.  There's a lot in bloom--2 dogwood trees, azaleas, rhododendrons, lots of ground flowers in bloom, and there were leaves on some of the trees.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hobble bush and trillium

I just noticed the blossoms on the hobble bushes this afternoon; yesterday I found purple trillium blooming.  So spring is coming--can't say it's really here yet, but we're moving in that direction.  There is some shad in bloom in my neighborhood, it seems peak everywhere else.  The tamaracks are starting to green up nicely and there are definite tiny leaves on the poplar trees.  We're working on it, we're working on it.

I had a good week, too much traveling but that is my modus.  I went to yoga class with Julie on Tuesday night and did quite well (for someone with my current athletic prowess).  I could do nearly all the positions, but did get confused at one point and couldn't remember which direction I was supposed to be facing.  It's a group of about 10 women, I only knew 3 of them and everyone of course is very nice.  No judging anyone's performance (or lack thereof).  Lots of stretching but either I did it wrong or I'm more flexible than I thought because I wasn't sore.

Wednesday I went shopping of course, then had lunch with Julie.  We're regulars at the Japanese restaurant and always order the same thing.  That makes it easy for our server, who is a lovely young Japanese woman with a very strong accent.  Sometimes we have trouble understand her long stories, but she smiles a lot and that makes us feel good.

Yesterday was sunny and nice but it was hazy--from the fire in Alberta, apparently.  Not cloudy, just some haze.  I sat on the deck and read for a while, had to use bug dope to keep the black flies at bay.  They're not peak yet (by a long shot) but were annoying enough, and I wanted to read in the sun enough so that I DEET-treated myself.

I got my lawn mower out of the shed, dusted it off and took it to the shop in Jay where I have it serviced.  He said I got it there early, which was a relief because I thought it was late in the season, and there were many, many machines waiting for their attention.  I did not stop at the plant nursery near the shop, showing great restraint I thought.

Not the same restraint this afternoon.  I spent the morning cleaning, doing laundry, changed the bed, brushed the dogs, doing the sorts of things that a responsible homeowner would do.  I took a big bag of garbage to the dump in the afternoon, had to go to the main dump because it's Friday.  On the way home from there I stopped at my usual plant place, my first visit there this year.  Restraint?  Not.  I bought 2 flats of flower plants plus some single plants.  I didn't get the geraniums for the cemetery--I'll either get those in Rhode Island next week or will get them when I get back.  It's still a little early to be planting flowers--we may have some snow Monday morning.  I'll keep my plants inside (especially since I don't have the dirt to plant them in the pots yet) while I'm gone.

Monday night I'm having dinner in Plattsburgh with Pat & Jim--I gave Jim a gift certificate for a lazy man's lobster (pre-cracked) for his birthday so we're planning to celebrate at the seafood restaurant.

I'm going to Rhode Island next week, will leave Wednesday and return Monday.  It's Mark's birthday on Thursday so we'll have a special dinner that night, and he wants to go out to our favorite restaurant on Friday night so that will be nice.  We'll doubtless go plant shopping, what would a spring trip to RI be without that?

Monday, May 09, 2016

Grosbeaks and snow

This is the spring that isn't, following what some have called the winter that wasn't.  It was cold this morning, 28, with a dusting of snow.  NOT NECESSARY.  The snow is gone now, it's 49, and there was some sun throughout the day.

The snow just showed off the gorgeousness of the four male rose-breasted grosbeaks that were at my feeder yesterday and today.  Wow they are pretty.  I've only seen one female so far, and I saw her first.  I had to look her up in a bird book because I sure didn't recognize her.  The goldfinches I have--at least 4 are gorgeous, too, such a bright yellow.  My feeder is a busy place.  I'll have to get more seed tomorrow.  We used to have dozens (and more) of evening grosbeaks, which we called yellow pigs because they would eat and eat and eat.  The rose-breasted grosbeaks are pretty piggish but there aren't as many of them so I think I can keep up with the seed.

I had a good weekend, went to the dump on Saturday of course.  In the afternoon I met a friend in Keene and we took our dogs for a nice long walk.  Her dog is a Westie who thought the whole thing was a lot of fun--he trotted along happily, wagging his tail and bouncing.  I only took Treasure, and she acted as if I were torturing her by forcing her to go on this walk.  She hung back, dragging along and barely wagging her tail.  What a turkey.  She would perk up when I talked to her but mostly she just walked and sulked.

Today was a Plattsburgh day, time for a hair cut plus a little shopping.  It was partly sunny but mostly cloudy, and there's still a cold wind out there.  I also went to Saranac Lake, a wasted trip to pay my bill at the eye doctor's.  They said my insurance should have covered the visit, and that I should call the insurance people to find out why it was denied.  So I drove the nearly 30 miles home and dutifully called.  Yes, it was an error, the claim shouldn't have been denied.  Was I happy that I just saved $200?  No, I was irritated that I'd wasted the trip.  OK, now hours later I have put it in perspective and am relieved that I don't have to pay the bill.  But still...all the way to Saranac Lake.

Tomorrow I hope to get some outdoor work done at home.  The black flies were out over the weekend, but if it's still cold and windy tomorrow the flies shouldn't be bad.  I got some rugosa roses from someone who ordered 60 of them and then didn't want them all.  I'll plant those, putting aside a couple for Linda.

We had book group last night, though we didn't talk much about the book--even less than we usually do.  The book was Here be monsters, which is a mystery that takes place in the Adirondacks.  It wasn't very good but it was fun to read about places so nearby.  We scheduled our next gathering (I hesitate to call it a meeting) for June and elected Linda to host it.  She'll be here in 2 weeks!  Let the games begin.