Monday, December 05, 2016

Snowy Monday

We lost our pre-Thanksgiving snow, it was a nice respite but now we're having new snow.  So far we've got about 5" of fluffy stuff, very pretty.  Yes, I can call it pretty--that won't happen in February, when I'll say "We've seen ENOUGH of this."  It was cold last night, 15 degrees here, and I've accepted winter as the next season.  Good for me!  I'm all in favor of accepting the inevitable.

We had book group last night but oops, we forgot to talk about the book.  Well that's not quite true, we did acknowledge that there was a book, but Marylou forgot what it was about, Lin hated it and I liked it a lot but couldn't remember why.  We use the books as an excuse to get together for dinner and conversation and good friendship.  We had a great tour of M'lou's new house, which is absolutely wonderful.  I'm jealous, oh yes I am, of a single-floor living space that's not cluttered and full.

Lin & Ralph cut Christmas trees yesterday and Ralph picked out a perfect one for me.  I do table-top trees now, I got tired of rearranging furniture and having trees that were only 2/3's decorated because I couldn't reach the top.  I like my trees, and I truly enjoy seeing the ornaments I've collected, plus I really like seeing the bright lights at that end of the room.  I use small colored lights, I switched years ago from white lights to these.  My mother's tree is white lights only and is always beautiful, but I like the colors in my house.  ANYWAY, right now the tree is outside, waiting for me to take action.  I'll get the decorations out this week and put the tree up. 

I have no plans for today, what a cool thing.  I think I'll go into AuSable to mail some stuff and buy stamps.  I've started on my Christmas cards (wow!  that's early!) and am having a good time writing notes in them.  I sometimes wonder why this is so important to me, but I think it's having the opportunity to be in touch with so many friends and relatives at one time that I appreciate.  Why do I only do this at Christmas?  Well I suppose everyone would think it pretty strange if I started sending cards at other times, but wouldn't that be good?   I write to my mother fairly often, and to some other friends from time to time.  I like writing letters.

The dogs have just taken off in the deep snow because Treasure alerted Tess to LOOK OUTSIDE!!!  there's something there I'm sure!   I have no idea what she thinks she saw, I couldn't see a hare or deer or anything but birds at the feeder but I don't question her judgment about bogey-things out there.  It's bright and beautiful.

I'm watching a TV show about a woman who has endometriosis.  Wow, I do remember those days.  This woman has no insurance so can't afford the surgery that will cure it.  I took so many drugs for so many years--all kinds of hormones, not too many painkillers.  My final solution was of course hysterectomy, after 2 previous surgeries.  The freedom from pain and worry about what was happening to my body was fantastic, but the tragedy of infertility was devastating.  Wait, how did we get from Christmas cards to devastation???   I'm just happy that is part of my past, though the lack of my own children in my life is a sadness I always have with me.  What did all of this mean in my life?  I am the person I am, living the life I do because of the things that happened to me along the way.  This was a big one but as I say it's in the past and I suppose I appreciate good health and lack of chronic pain because of it.

So anyway, today is a GOOD day.  I can think about my past with regret, always some regret, but I also know that I have led a good life and have a good future to look forward to.  Even if I AM turning another year older soon.  Oh how I hate birthdays!  I'm always the one to say "it beats the alternative," but boy do I mind getting older.  Stop that, it's what happens, if you're lucky.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Long time gone

Well we had Thanksgiving, then I came home, then I just never got around to this.  Today I'm catching up on things.  I've already been to Plattsbugh, got meds, bought a few groceries, picked up some Thanksgiving prints (none worth posting here), ran a couple of errands and did NOT get a Christmas tree.  It's early to have one.  I always used to have one up by my birthday but that's not been so true in recent years.  They're for sale everywhere, so tempting.

Thanksgiving was nice.  The trip to RI was easy and uneventful.  The visit was grand.  The turkey was moist and tender.  Jenica and Gwyn came for the weekend and we had a very nice time.  Gwyn is cute, clever and wonderful and she was so lovely to me and to my mother (her great-grandmother).  She was a little less wonderful to Mark but had warmed to him by the time she left.  She's a very sweet almost-3-year-old.  And of course Jenica and I had a nice visit.  It's fun to talk library trends with her, we've always shared that.

I haven't really done much since I got home one Monday.  There was still about 5" of snow when I got here but now there are only the piles left behind by the plow.  Bare ground, how grand in December.  It's been rainy and is predicted to be rainy for the next few days, maybe some snow mixed in.  One of the salespeople I spoke with this morning said that her holly bush has a very short sprout this year, which means we'll have a mild winter.  Oh if that were only true.

Big crisis yesterday when I went to the Holts to do laundry--their generator was running!  OH NO!  Dial 911!   No, it turned out there was an actual power outage (tree down) past my house and the generator was behaving as it should have.  Crisis averted, after several calls to Annie in Minn. and lots of fretting on my part.  So today I'll return to their house and finish the laundry.

I had lunch with Julie Weds., made plans to meet what may be my new cat.  She's a used cat, they have 5 and need to find homes for some so I've agreed to take one.  Maybe.  Perhaps.

It's good to be home.  My drive home seemed endless even though it was sunny, there wasn't much traffic, and it was just fine.  I conclude that I'm tired of that trip, mostly just the trip home.  Going there is a pleasure and I look forward to being with Liza and Mark.  Well, I look forward to being home, too, so what's the big deal?  I can't explain it.  But I'm going back in 2 1/2 weeks so I'd better buck up and deal with it.

The dogs are fine.  Tess decided to throw up on the bed in the middle of the night but that was just something she did.  She's fine today, is sleeping soundly and snoring in our new chair.  Treasure is convinced it's time for lunch.  She's almost right.  I fed the birds, why didn't I feed the dogs?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

SNOW!!! Run, run for cover!

They predicted 8-12 inches of snow for "the mountains," and that's us.  When I got up this morning at 6:30 we already had half an inch in spite of a promise of rain.  That just put me in a foul mood but I got better as the day wore on.  Now it's dark and there are blinking red lights in my trees--Linda sent me a laser light that shows rotating blinkers, which I have pointed into the woods.  It's way cool, looks like red fireflies.  Very nifty.

We have about 7 inches of snow so far and they said it would snow all day tomorrow, too.  So far we haven't had the wind that was predicted, which is sure fine with me.  The power went out this afternoon but only for half an hour.  Am hoping that was it.

We were supposed to have book group tonight but I suggested we postpone it because when I went to P&J's at noon the roads were bad, very slick, unplowed and messy.  I don't think they've plowed yet, hours later.  I parked my car at the end of my driveway in case my plowman comes during the night.  I doubt he'll plow much before morning.  It's not good to plow before the ground freezes but sometimes it must be done.  Right?  Right.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm (60).  I pretty much finished up my outside work, then sat in the living room with the door open so the dogs could come and go (and go and come and go and come, etc. all afternoon).  I went to my potter friend's gallery to get some Christmas presents, then had a quiet afternoon at home.  Lovely, really lovely day.

It was a funny morning, many phone calls coming in and going out.  My mother called, worried about the snow storm.  Fred called, wondering about the snow storm.  Lin and Marylou and I talked in the morning and again later in the day, deciding to postpone book group for 2 weeks.  That meant I ate the gelato I bought to take there.  I mean, I HAD to it might go bad by then. 

The woods are pretty even if it is a huge inconvenience to have so much snow.  I don't think this snow will melt any time soon, either, it's supposed to be a pretty cold week.  I leave Tuesday for RI, which gives me all day tomorrow to get ready.  Get ready?  I've already got the car mostly packed.  I did laundry today.  I haven't packed my clothes yet, I do that the morning I leave.  Might want to wear some of the clothes I pack...   Well we all have our "things" about traveling.  I make lists.  Well, 1 long list for packing, other lists for tasks to be completed before leaving.  "Put away summer clothes" is on that list, but I've made no movement in that direction.  I keep tripping over a flip-flop in the bathroom.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sun? What sun?

Heavy fog this morning in spite of what was promised: sun and warmth.  It's up to 33 outside and feels damp and cold.  Come on sun, I take my cues from you.  I have outside chores to do but don't seem to be able to do anything when it looks like that out there.

I got up at 5 this morning, was awake at 4 and couldn't get back to sleep.  The joy of retirement is that it DOESN'T MATTER what time you get up or how much sleep you get.  It can all be fixed.

I talked to my mother for a minute this morning, did the dishes, stoked the stove, brought in some firewood and read the book group book for a while.  I still 3/4's of the book to read by Sunday so why am I doing this instead of reading?  The book isn't grabbing me but I'm determined to do my best to finish it.

It's been a pretty quiet week for me, I've done quite a bit of Christmas shopping online, a bit in stores.  Went to Plattsburgh twice, had to hit the bank that's there and not in the Forks to get cash for my upcoming trip.  I'm leaving for RI on Tuesday, returning the Monday after Thanksgiving.  They're predicting 6" of snow Sunday afternoon into Monday, so swell, I'll be packing the car in snow.  Truly one of my least favorite things.  TRULY.  I never put my winter boots away, they're always close at hand so at least I don't have to dig them out.  They're under the bed.

Jenica and Gwyn will be in RI next weekend!  That's very exciting and great.  Jen and I always have great conversations about libraryland.  Yesterday I was driving home from Plattsburgh and thinking about work.  Do I miss it?  NO, not the work.  Do I miss being part of a team of workers?  Well, if I miss anything about working I think it would be that.  But I think that's my winter personna that would think that, certainly not my summer me.  I have a huge team of summer people.

Going to AuSable today but I have to wait until the liquor store opens at 10--must get wine for RI, plus told Jim I'd get him some whiskey today.  Also need to get ice cream for book group and gas for the car.  I like my trips to AuSable, it's so much nearer than Plattsburgh and I finally feel more at home in the Forks, less like a visitor.   The people in the liquor store know me (oh swell I'm the one who buys cheap whiskey all the time--must remember to tell them it's NOT FOR ME), the people in the grocery store know me.  I use the ATM so the bank people don't know me.  Oh well.

I've been helping my friend Julie a little, now and then, with moving.  They're selling their house and have 20 years' worth of stuff to pack or throw out.  Boy do I sympathize with that!  I'm planning to help them move boxes to their storage unit tomorrow.  I took some of their trash to the landfill on Weds.  That was very brave of me, I find it intimidating to go to the BIG dump, but I had a lot of bags and it was cost effective to pay the flat rate of $20 at the landfill.

Waiting for the sun.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Feeling better...but that's just me

No, I'm not feeling better about the election, but I've moved on to the "it is what it is" phase of, phase of what?  Grief?  How many phases in extreme disappointment?  Someone should write a book about that.  I doubt acceptance will ever roll around in this case, and I'm still too optimistic and think maybe we'll never have more than a president-elect Trump.  I'll say no more.

It's a stay-at-home day for me.  I'll do some laundry, bring in the ceramic flower pots, feed the birds and hopefully will cover the back door with plastic.  It would be great if I could bring myself to drag the ladder to the kitchen window and try to close it but that's asking a lot.  I'll probably spend time with Pat & Jim, or else this would be a day in which I have no human contact.  Those days are fine once in a while but we don't want to make a practice of it.  Human contact is a good thing.

Yesterday I spent the morning in Plattsburgh, finally found a 13-pound turkey (has to be a Butterball) in my 3rd store.  I bought the cutest, most wonderful drill so I can fix the hanger for the bird feeder.  My old drill died, which was really grand because then I could justify buying a much smaller one.  Last night I went to a public hearing in town about the state of the cemetery where generations of my family are buried.  The Cemetery Association is having trouble finding enough money for maintenance of the grounds and there was a question of having the Town take over the cemetery.  The Town sure does NOT want this, so some of us went to show support for keeping the cemetery private and raising fees, etc. to make sure it stays that way.  The Town was very firm about not wanting to take it over, which suits me.  I offered to work with the Association, I may have actually found my "worthwhile" activity.  At least it's not in Plattsburgh, meetings are in AuSable.

Sunday I helped Julie pack up glasses and dishes so they can move out of their house and have their closing soon.  Maybe soon is an exaggeration, but I empathize with anyone faced with moving.  It doesn't seem to matter what the circumstances of the move may be, it's just a depressing thing to handle all of your belongings, one by one.  I'm going back tomorrow to help with whatever else they need help with.  I remember moving the last of our stuff from our Green St. house outside of AuSable, when we moved here.  We had brought pretty much everything we wanted to keep to this house in May and just walked away from the rest of it.  We sold the Green St. house and the buyer was in a big hurry to move in so we had to rush over to empty the house.  It was February and there was waist-deep snow that had to be shoveled before we could even get to the house.  Where we discovered that the furnace hadn't started and the pipes had frozen.  We set up a salamander in the basement and came back home.  The next day the walls were dripping with water, it warmed up all right.  We did a fair job of emptying the house, leaving a few pieces of furniture, including the freezer which had who-knows-what in it.  One thing that was in it was a blue heron that my ex had hit with his truck one winter day.  He thought maybe he could use the feathers for flies, but I don't think he ever tried.  Anyway, that was the end of that chapter (in more ways than one).  Now a recurring dream I have involves moving in but not moving out first.  Last night it was the house I lived in for 9 years in Rhode Island--I often dream about that duplex.  I don't know why, there was nothing dramatic about living there or leaving there.  That was where I really discovered that moving, no matter what the reason is depressing.

We moved a lot when I was a child, maybe that's why I find it so depressing.  Anyway I don't plan to move any time soon and rejoice in that.  My goals instead are to make this house a nicer place to live, by weeding through my belongings and throwing out a lot of junk.  I have a dire need to purge, purge, purge.  Oh what a collection of things I have.  But they are MY things.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Not an easy thing

I haven't written in a while--well, since the infamous election.  I cheerfully, optimistically (and foolishly) voted on Tuesday so convinced that the best woman would win.  I'd had phone calls and conversations with people, promising that Clinton would win.  I don't break my promises (as a rule) but this time I did.  I'm still having trouble coming to terms with the election results, I CANNOT believe this has happened.  I don't consider myself to be a great patriot, but I do love my country, if I think about it.  This is a wonderful place to live (after all, it has given me Hawkeye, right?) and we are fortunate to be here. But WHAT HAPPENED???   Who didn't vote (besides Susan Sarandon)?  Did people not think that staying home would have dire consequences?  So what if you didn't like either candidate, don't ignore your opportunity to choose!  I was visiting with Annie and said, surprising myself that I take my civic responsibility very seriously.  I always get nervous when they hand me a ballot.  I'm afraid I'll screw it up and my vote won't count.  Well this time my voted counted...but not enough.  They should have let women have weighted votes, yeah, that's what should have happened.

ANYWAY I'm surviving the bombardment of news about this.  I can't bring myself to connect the winner of the election with the Presidency, but that will change I suppose.  Maybe.

I had a great time with Annie, we had lots of good visits.  She is soooo good to me!  I had dinner with the Ruders and Annie on Monday, that was a very nice and cheerful time.  Tuesday A. stopped for coffee on her way out of town.  I voted early (but only once).  I stayed up late that night, unable to sleep as I watched terrible things happen (i.e., Electoral votes being counted).  Weds. I made a couple of phone calls and felt lousy both physically and in my pointed little head.  I recovered, of course.  I had a nice visit with a friend from the library world on Tuesday in Plattsburgh, again both of us foolishly giddy and optimistic.  But we enjoyed being together and it was a friendship that's been neglected so this was a good thing.

Yesterday was an amazingly quiet day.  I was waiting for delivery of a chair I bought so didn't want to go anywhere.  Not even to do laundry at the Holts.  The only person I spoke to in person was the very nice and helpful delivery guy.  Too young to be called a man, too old to be a kid.  Anyway, he brought the chair up with a hand truck because he couldn't get his tractor trailer up my driveway.  Then he helped get it out of the box, and carried it into the house.  Good man!  I thought the dogs would be thrilled to have a new place to settle into but they won't go near the chair.  Well, I helped Tess get into the chair last night but she pronounced it uncomfortable and with an unappealing odor and jumped down.  OK, swell, I'll be the only one who uses the chair (except when company comes).

Now I'm up at 4:30, have been up for an hour.  What's up with that?  I'm watching middle-of-the night news, which is one of my favorite things to watch.  It's not sensational or vying for ratings, it's just reporting news to a dubious audience of insomniacs and people who work nights.  Very straightforward.

Today I'll finish the laundry, go to AuSable to get bananas for Jim, maybe get some chores done around the house.  I have to use a ladder and hammer the kitchen window shut, it's busted and won't close all the way.  Been that way for years and maybe THIS will be the year I'll do something about that.  or not, but really--leaving a window cracked when it's -10???

Leonard Cohen died (I thought he was already dead).  His music reminds me of the horribly depressing coffeehouse my sister and I used to go to when we were horribly depressed teenagers in Rockford.  OMG it was an awful place full of sad people singing and listening to sad music.  Heather on the Moor, it was called.  What a thing.

Saturday I'll meet Julie for coffee and we'll plan our day: she wants me to take one of her cats so I'll do that.  She has things she wants to store at my house (they've sold their house) so I'll do that.  I can do these things to help my very good friend who is having a very hard time.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Last of the last

The last of the color is the tamaracks (larches).  They're beautiful, probably because the only other colors come from the firs.  They are gorgeous, too, in the spring when they have a florescent green (we always call it "tamarack green"--not very creative, but easily identifiable).

 No matter what's going on on the boardwalk, there's always something more interesting along the edge of the bog.  Sometimes it's fox poop, sometimes it's bunny buttons, sometimes it's just an unidentifiable scent.  Whatever it is, it smells great.

This is a close up of the tamarack leaves.  Oh they are a thing of wonder and beauty.  My favorite tree.

I went for a bog walk, two actually, to see the tamaracks.  The second time Annie was with me, as was her Gordon setter Milo.  Milo runs around like a maniac, literally running circles around us.  He starts ahead of us and 2 minutes later comes running full bore from behind us.  What a goofus.

I've been having a nice time with Annie, she's here for several days without Rush, who is in Asia on business.  Last night we had dinner at the Mirror Lake Inn, which was grand (as always).  We pretend we're fancy rich people (well the rich part is pretending for me at least) and totally enjoy ourselves.

Other things I've been doing: toting firewood into the house.  I'm hoping that I can alter my behavior this winter and keep a steady supply inside the house, big piles next to the stove.  Will I be so eager to do that when it's windy and -10?  or even just 0?  How much strength of character do I really have, will be determined.

I bought a utility knife and insulation for my laundry room pipes.  That's where the pipes always freeze, inside the wall between the bathroom and the laundry room, so I'm planning to cut a bigger hole there so I can reach inside the wall and put insulation around the pipes.  Annie is always a great help to me and she keeps offering to help me with this but I'm very bad at accepting help so I keep saying no, thanks.  Yesterday, though, we took the pile of metal trash that was next to my deck stairs to the dump in her car.  It all fit, with bungie cords.  Wow what a difference it makes, not having that crap to look at every time I go anywhere or look out the window.  Nice, very nice.

Tuesday I had a hair appointment, then had lunch with Barb.  We had our usual good time.  I stayed home the rest of the week, with a trip or two to AuSable (groceries, bank, gas) and on Friday I went back to Plattsburgh to have my winter tires installed and the oil changed.  That was expensive!  My car uses synthetic oil (WHY???), which makes an oil change an expensive task, and of course it's expensive (by my standards) to have the tires mounted.  Anyway I'm all set for winter, but my car needs a new air filter, they report.  It's due for a Burlington servicing but that will have to wait.

Tomorrow (Monday) I'm going to Plattsburgh to make phone calls for my preferred Congressional candidate.  I'm having dinner at Annie's with the Ruders.  Tuesday I'm voting, of course, on my way to have lunch with a friend.  What will I do the rest of the week?  Maybe I'll just cut a hole in the wall in the laundry room and insulate the pipes.  Yeah, right.  No, really.