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.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Mice and cars, cars and mice

I took my car in for servicing in Burlington yesterday.  The problem was the check engine light, which apparently was easily fixed and covered under warranty.  What was NOT covered were the 2 mouse nests the service people found in the filters--one in the engine and one in the cabin.  HONESTLY!!  What kind of person has this problem?  Well, the woman in the service department told me she had had the same problem, so that helped.  I did find a dead mouse in the iced tea bottle in the car just after Easter so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised.  There was no mouse poop in the nests, which they told me (the service people, not the mice) was a good thing.  Now I have to buy smelly dryer sheets to put in the glovebox and under the floor mats.  Will that scent be preferable to the dog smell that's the current eau du auto?

Besides the car dealer I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday, they were having a huge sale on their used books so of course I had to buy some.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???  I guess this is better than my earlier fixation on shoes, when I would buy new shoes all the time.  I sorted through some shoes today but could only manage to get rid of a few pairs.  I don't wear the same shoes I used to wear to work at all so really only wear a few pairs, but I LIKE the shoes I have that I don't wear.

Anyway, I also went to Trader Joe's and bought food, some of which I needed and some I just wanted.  I bought frozen corn and discovered when I got home that there's a massive recall on Joe's frozen vegetables so I guess I'll chuck the corn.  Too bad, I was really in the mood for corn.

I had great expectations for productivity today.  I was up during the night and decided, very definitely that I was going to sort through the stuff at the back of the downstairs and find other places for the stuff.  This morning I looked it all over, shrugged and walked away.  Too much, too complicated.  So far I've only spoken to the FedEx man, haven't had a conversation other than electronic with anyone.  I guess that's OK.  I do talk to the dogs but they don't answer.

It's warming up, slowly, up to 55 today but the house was chilly so I built a fire.  I saw a flicker yesterday, sign of spring.  Very yellow goldfinches at the feeder still.  I saw a GRAY squirrel at the feeder yesterday, which is unheard of.  I don't think I've ever had a gray one here, we just have red squirrels (and that's bad enough).  Although squirrels are really quite cute I can't stand to see them around.  I'm convinced they're going to go inside my walls and chew through wires, starting a fire.  Has that ever happened?  Well, no.  But it gives me something to worry about.  Because I need more of that.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Spring, NOT

We're having the slowest arrival of spring I can remember.  I know that by this time last year I had a robin's nest in my upstairs bathroom window, which was open all the time.  This year it's been too cold to have any windows open, so there's a robin that's banging on my back door window.  ALL THE TIME.  My mother has cardinals that bang on windows, but I think that's being territorial, thinking it's another male bird.  This robin doesn't seem to think that, it's a very fat robin and I think it's trying to open the window.  Well, wait, if that's true why isn't it banging on the upstairs window?  Bird behavior is always a bit of a puzzle.

I saw bats outside my bedroom window last night, which was good.  We've had a terrible problem losing bats to some fungal disease, it's killed thousands of them.  I haven't seen bats around my house for a few years so it was pretty exciting.  Maybe exciting isn't the right word, but it was a relief at least.

I had my doctor's appointment this morning--I see him every 3 months or so.  Last time my cholesterol was a mess, but this time he was quite pleased with the numbers.  That was a relief.  He thinks the changes I've made in my diet are responsible--not the faint attempt at pedaling that I've been trying to be regular about.  Today I walked to the mailbox with the dogs.  The other day I walked to camp with the dogs.  All is well at camp.  There are a few colt's foot flowers blooming now, a vague sign of spring.  There's not much else spring going on.  There are bright yellow goldfinches at the feeder, and very purple finches, and white-throat sparrows as well.  If only there were some sign of green somewhere, I'd feel more that spring will happen.  I do have daffodils blooming, the early ones.  It looks as if it's going to be a good year for them, lots of buds.

Tomorrow I have to go to Burlington to have my car serviced.  There's something hinky about the check engine light and it needs an oil change.  I'll wait there at the dealer's while they wok on it, no loaner car this time.  What will I do in Burlington besides that?  Not sure I'll do anything.  I don't need any groceries or books--those are the 2 things I usually shop for over there.  I ordered Richard Russo's new book, and Jane Hamilton's new book.  WHY???  I already have too many books to read but I can't resist buying new ones.  It's better than shoes, which I used to always buy.

Friday I'm having lunch with Barb, Sunday is book group.  There are small leaves on some of the trees in Plattsburgh, and the pussy willows are out here.  I guess spring is coming after all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Home (no place like it)

I had a good trip home, very easy.  I drove 7 hours from Ann Arbor on Monday, ended up between Buffalo and Rochester, where I stayed in a hotel.  I love staying in hotels by myself, it's so peaceful and perfect.  I slept very well and felt rested.  Yesterday I drove the rest of the way home, getting stuck behind a snowplow outside of Watertown.  We had a lot of snow--heavy wet spring snow.  My living room was 48 and the house was miserably cold and damp.  I didn't leave any heat on while I was gone--don't be silly, I thought, it's SPRING.  Not.  Anyway I got the house warm with a hot fire and heat.  It was still snowing so there wasn't any sun to help.  I slept well again last night, happy to be home.  I picked up the dogs at the kennel.  Were they thrilled to see me?  No, not at all.  They were happy but I think it's a real tribute to that kennel that they don't jump up & down and get all excited when I pick them up.  I don't worry about them when they're there, they're just fine and the kennel owners really like them.

The house was just fine, no issues or problems.  Today it got very warm because the sun is out, bright warm spring sun.  I have some daffodils in bloom and found a couple of crocuses as well.  We had about 3 inches of snow and some of it has melted today.  Hopefully tomorrow there will be bare ground.  I got awfully used to seeing green grass on my trip.

Today I went to Plattsburgh for groceries and lunch with Julie.  That was all fine but when I started the car after shopping the check engine light came on.  HONESTLY: the warranty was up 168 miles ago.  I don't know what's up.  The soonest the dealer can see me is next Weds. so I'll limp along until then, being hysterical.  The service guy said it was OK to drive it so drive  it I will.  I have to go to Plattsburgh again on Friday--blood work and meet with the director of the Historical Assoc. to go over the newsletter. 

I did a lot of reading on my trip, read 3 good books.  I don't seem to read much when I'm at home, too much distraction from the dogs and television (mostly television).  That's something I'd like to change.  Maybe I'll set it up so I can read while I pedal my exercise bike.

The dogs are fine.  They're still exhausted from the kennel, plus the trip today so they're snoring.  I was fearful that I was snoring last week because of my congestion and lung issues.  Well.  I did snore.  I woke myself up with my snoring and snorting but that seems to have ended.  I hope.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Botanical garden

 We went to the U Mich. botanical garden yesterday, on a sunny cool day.  These are orchids, unlike ones I've seen before.  They struck my fancy.
 This is something strange with red flowers
 The blue things hanging from this sausage tree are NOT part of the tree, they are ceramic things hung there for a reason I didn't understand
 They of course had koi.  Mark has a true aversion to koi, though he likes his goldfish.  I learned that koi and goldfish are not even close to being the same thing.  This will be a relief to Mark.  He has goldfish in his pond.
 Outside were a lot of daffodils and grape hyacinths.  It was pretty, yes, and very spring like but the trees still have no leaves

What it looked like inside.  Pretty, very pretty.

This has really be a nice trip and Linda and I have had good visiting and fun together.  Last night we went out for dinner at her favorite restaurant, where the cocktails are huge and delicious.  We ate a lot.  This afternoon we went to her favorite deli, where they don't have cocktails but the sandwiches are huge and we ate a lot.  A LOT.  Now we're resting.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Live from Michigan

I'm in Ann Arbor now, having completed my pilgrimage to Cleveland.  I stopped for 2 nights in Canandaigua en route, then found Cleveland with Judy's help.  Dropped her off and found Mary Frances (my longtime friend from RI) in the lobby of the Cleveland hotel.  We checked in, found safe havens for our cars, and went out to dinner to an OK restaurant described as "the only one within walking distance" of the hotel.  It was loud and pretty mediocre but did just fine for us.

We got up early enough on Tuesday, had breakfast at the hotel and were at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for opening at 10 a.m.  YAY!!! I made it!  I have wanted to be there for many years so this was just so cool and amazing.  MF and I were well matched in our viewing so spent the day together wandering.  There are cool exhibits and even cooler films, videos and kiosks.  It's a great place.  We sang along with Graham Nash, we listened to an alphabet of one-hit wonders, we watched an Elvis film, an American Bandstand film, films of all the inductees, and watched part of the 25th anniversary concert.  The only disappointing part of the entire day was the museum's gift shop.  It's woefully inadequate and full of key chains and refrigerator magnets.  Where are the cool t-shirts?  Oh, there were travel mugs, sure.

We had dinner at a very nice restaurant (Midwestern walleye, yum) and checked out of the hotel on Weds. morning.  I drove on to Ann Arbor, just a few hours away, and am now settled in at Linda's for a nice visit.  We just spent a long time putting together the shoreowners' association's newsletter, 82 copies of which are nestled in their stamped and sealed envelopes, ready to go to the post office.  Whew!  It was great to get that done.  We've had a very nice visit, relatively quiet with lots of sightseeing in Ann Arbor.  Quite a place, this AA.

I start home on Monday, staying for a night between Buffalo and Rochester, about 7 hours from here and halfway home.  I'll be home Tuesday in time to retrieve the retrievers by 6 p.m.  I'm looking forward to seeing them.  I don't miss them too much, I'm distracted by enough things, but I do think of them.  I check my phone often for messages but so far the kennel has had nothing to report (which is GOOD news).