Saturday, September 26, 2015

Busy week

The week got off to a good start, with my dental report that there's NOTHING wrong with my teeth.  I have to go back to have my permanent retainer re-glued in 2 places, but there are no other problems.  Yay for that--I get hysterical going to the dentist because of my childhood experiences of drilling without novacaine, if anyone can imagine that.  What a nasty dentist Dr. Kyle was!  He traumatized all three of us children but we moved on.  More or less.

My car, with 21,000 miles on it, was making a horrible noise, rear end sounding like grinding brakes.  I took it to the dealer in Burlington, where I bought it, and they kept it overnight.  It was indeed the rear brakes, which were replaced under warranty.  Another yay for me.  Two trips to Burlington two days in a row is tiring, that's for sure, but I did have fun shopping while I was there.  Once to Trader Joe's and once to Barnes & Noble.  Two of my favorite spots.  Did I spend a lot?  Well, yes, but I had to make it worth the trip.

I went to Plattsburgh again yesterday to run errands, a quick trip with the dogs.  Today was Lin & Raph's cider pressing.  I went with Linda, we met Marylou there and had a great time.  It was cold here this morning, 31 degrees, but it had warmed up by the time we were at the pressing and the sun was warm and bright.  Linda & I took the ton of wild apples we'd picked--Ralph swears that wild apples make the most flavorful cider so he was pleased to see them.  There was a guitar-playing singer there who had fun entertaining us all.  Ralph makes guitars and he played one of them for a song, which we all liked.  He sang a Stephen Foster song, which made me smile.  My 5th grade teacher was the music teacher and she had us sing Stephen Foster songs all the time, but only the racist ones.  According to her the best musician ever was Liberace.  Of course, she didn't live long enough to catch the musicians of later years.  But there never was another Liberace.

Tomorrow is the neighborhood breakfast at the Blue Heron.  Minards, McDougalls, Linda & Erd., me, the Holts and maybe some others will be there.  Should be nice but I bet it will be a tad cool on the screened porch at 9 a.m.  Linda is making pancakes, Sue is making a strada, I'm taking juice and cider.  It will be great--it's an annual thing.

The coming week has a few events.  Monday I'm due in Keene Valley, where the library director thinks I'm going to volunteer to work in the archives.  I don't know what I'll do about it, but I do know I won't go there every week.  I don't want another voluntary obligation.

Tuesday I'm having my stovepipe cleaned.  I haven't had a fire yet this season, am just waiting for the cleaning.  What's up for the rest of the week?  Probably lunch with Julie on Weds., a birthday dinner for Bill on Thursday at Linda's.  That's it.  Maybe yoga on Tuesday night with Sue, but maybe not.

Things are good, very good.  Retirement is a great gift.
 Just a few of the apples that were there.  A small fraction.
Our book group!  That's Marylou, Linda, Lin and me, along with Lin's grandchild Hannah.  We have seasonal members, too, but this is the core group.  A good looking bunch, I think.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Late autumn coming along

We're usually approaching peak color by now but there's just a hint of some yellows and reds in the hills and woods right now.  The weather has been fantastic, if you like dock days (I sure do).  80's and sunny and not very humid.  Ahhhhh.  Today it's 60 and sunny and probably signals the end of dock days, though the water is still very comfortable for swimming.

I've been doing well, still on permanent vacation.  No, I have to remind myself, it's not a vacation, it's real life.  I have a lot more fun entertaining and cooking dinners (well, I've only done 2) because I'm not working, so it's much, much less stress to plan, prepare, clean, and cook.  Last night I had 4 friends eat dinner at camp, on the front porch with a great view of the lake, on a warm evening.  It was really nice.  I wanted to cook my turn at Sunday dinner at camp, too, but camp was full of other people that weekend so I had it at Joe & Martha's instead.  It was eggplant parmesan, cooked two very different ways, one by me and one by Linda.  Both were great, got lots of compliments, and it was a really nice time.

Joe & Martha are still here, so are Duncan & Sue and Linda & Erdvilas.  Do I mind being the single person among couples?  Not really.  It would be fun to share time (and work) with someone but I so much enjoy being by myself that it all seems OK.  And people are always very generous about including me (my mother would say "Well of course they do, that's because you're nice and they like you," which I suppose has a grain of truth to it).  We're creeping up on October, which is Departure Time for everyone.  What this means is that we all spend a lot of time together, lots of dinners at each others' camps and homes and it's a lot of fun.  No, we don't get sick of each other or run out of things to talk about.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, ugh.  Haven't been for a while and am past due for a cleaning.  My permanent retainer (which is what you get when you have braces) is busted in 2 places and it will be expensive to get them fixed, but if I don't get them fixed the teeth will float back to their original places and why did I get braces anyway?

Since my cousin took my dock out on Labor Day, I spend my dock time with Linda on her dock.  She has Dock Supreme and we have a wonderful time together so it's a treat.  The location isn't as fantastic as our dock is, but there are hardly people left on the lake so it's quiet.  And sooo pretty

I'm still reading a lot, hoping to carry that over to winter instead of my usual TV habit.  I'm reading Jane Smiley's latest, which is a continuation of a family saga.  It's sort of hard reading, not a fast-paced story at all but she's a good writer.  I still have a long list of titles to get to but keep buying new titles both for my Kindle and in print.  Sometimes I feel like reading a "real" book in print, other times I like reading on my Kindle.  I get a ton of ebooks for $1.99 each from BookBub, which just fills up the Kindle without my ever getting to read them.

I did some actual cleaning the other day, threw out a lot of junk and rearranged things in the library at the back of the house.  I have to get the heater there fixed so needed to make room for someone to get to it.  I have a lot more of that kind of thing to do but it felt good to do even just a little bit.

I have lunch with friends often, about once a week, in Plattsburgh.  I don't mind going to Plattsburgh sometimes, but man it seems like such a long drive.  How did I do that all those years?

I've been picking wild apples in prep. for Lin's cider pressing party next week.  Linda and I had great fun driving down a back, uninhabited road, picking lots of wild apples along the roadside.  I had scoped out a bunch of trees, and can't help but keep noticing apple trees loaded with apples still.  Must learn to notice something else.

Tonight is book group, Linda's last turn hosting.  After this it will be Lin, Marylou and me for the winter.  We still call it book group, and read a book each month.  We sure don't spend much time talking about the book, but we've been getting together for 13 years and have become a good group.  Getting smaller, but still nice.

The dogs are fine though a big pudgy because I haven't been walking them much lately and they get lunch every day.  They take each other for walks pretty much every day, which is not great but they seem to stay out of trouble.  Last night I was driving home from camp after dark and there was a huge porcupine in the road.  Treasure took off when we got home and I was fearful that she had her heart set on meeting up with Porky, but that didn't happen.

Life is good, very good.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Tess and I like Dock Days

 Tess swims a bit, then suns on the big rock.  I think every camp has a "Big Rock" along the shoreline.  We have 2, one at each dock.  Our neighbors have a bigger Big Rock. 

And I smile.  It was a very, very nice dock day.  Temps in the 80's, the water was cool but not at all cold, and there was a slight breeze to keep us cool.  Ahhhhhh.  This is what I had in mind when I retired, all I wanted was to have a summer without going to work.  Lucky me!
Lots of social life these days, plenty of time spent with Linda as well.  I made pickles, using a recipe from long ago.  My friend Barb and I used to make these pickles every year by the gallon, then eat the out of the jar.  They're sort of like bread & butter pickles only much better.
This morning I'm having coffee with friends who are leaving the lake today.  I'm hoping to convince them to return for Columbus Day and stay with me.  Then I'll make another batch of pickles.  Then I'll go to the dump.  Then I'll sit on the dock, if the sun comes out.  Tonight I'm having dinner with friends who invited my dogs to joins us.  I'll only take Treasure--Tess is easily bored and stares at me when she thinks it's time to go home (and that is always sooner than I'm ready to go).

The weather has been good but we could use a little rain.  The plants on my deck have pretty much died or pooped out.  I didn't show much interest in them this year.  The dogs picked the tomatoes.  I ate a few cucumbers.  The flowers looked nice for a while but I didn't deadhead them enough.  Today is dump day--I have my garbage, boat house garbage, camp garbage and friends' garbage so it will definitely be worth the trip. 

I've had a really good summer.  My only complaint is that I thought I'd be more productive--but uh-oh, my social life got in the way.  Most retired friends agree that we're less ambitious than we hope we'd be because we don't have to do anything today, there's always TOMORROW.  I have a long list of things to get done around the house, and only 2 items have been checked off and completed.

Not much else going on.  Dogs are all right.  Tess is old.  Treasure is good.  The people I'm seeing tonight are waiting for a puppy from the same breeder I get my dogs from.  She's expensive but boy oh boy these are nice dogs.  I had a good visit with a cousin & his wife recently--they're big Lab fans and love love love to visit with my dogs.  So my dogs love them.  REALLY love them.  They go bounding into camp (the dogs, not the cousins) and run to the front porch where Rob & Betsy are.  PET ME PET ME PET ME.  It's very sweet.

I've been reading quite a bit, nothing terribly notable but some good stuff.  What a luxury and joy.  Is retirement what I'd hope it would be?  All that and more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

 Mark at the beach.  I had a really nice trip to RI, with lots of beach time and plenty of visiting.  We went to the town beach but Mark has decided that Moonstone beach is the best.  He may be right--when we went there on Monday there were 2 other people there.  The water was wonderful, it was sunny and warm.  Really wonderful.  I had nice visits with my mother (who LIKES these dogs...) and she is just fine

Joe Pye Weed at the beach.  My father had a real thing for Joe Pye Weed.  Why?  I've never figured that out, it's pretty enough and nice to see but there are more spectacular wildflowers.   Anyway, my family is closely tied to Joe Pye Weed.  Mark even has it around the pond in my mother's yard.

And this is Gwen, Jenica's daughter.  She's a cutie, all right.  Now a toddler and more interested in what's happening in her world.  She liked the water at Silver Lake, which certainly pleased her mother and reassured me.  She has Jenica's dimples and our diastima (space between our front teeth--both Jenica and I have "cured" that).  A nice little girl.  Jenica and her college roommate were here for the weekend and I got to spend some really nice time with them.

Then my cousin Rob & his wife Betsy (yes, another one) were here and I had some really nice time with them.  We went paddling around the lake on a beautiful morning when the lake was glassy and you could see the bottom.  Wow it was magic.  They love my dogs, which makes both me and the dogs happy.

The pace of summer life is sort of settling down but there are people here to see, and more coming soon.  I had lunch with 2 different friends this week, nice to see both of them.  Dogs are doing well except for poor Tess who is suffering from her ragweed allergy.  "Oh, I itch, I itch so much."  I'm going to try spraying her with cider vinegar, based on different things I read.  I tried soaking her with watered-down vinegar today but all she did was lick it off.  OK, tomorrow she gets full strength.

Tomorrow I'm having coffee with friends, then at night am picking up Rush at the airport (probably).  Linda is having a campfire with friends.  I hope to see the Neels before they leave on Saturday.  Next week I have a hair appointment (which I thought was this week, until I took a closer look at the calendar).  Duncan and Sue come (can it be September already???).  I have to pick a date for my contribution to Sunday dinner.  Sunday night I host book group at the boat house, which will be very nice.  I read a wonderful book while in RI, The 100-year-old-man who climbed through the window and disappeared.  It was grand, I loved it.  Now I'm reading an old Nancy Thayer book but boy the print is small!

Weather has been good, still warm especially for August and the lake is very warm.  We could use a little rain.  I mowed some of the lawn--finally got my mower back from being repaired for 3 weeks.  Wow the lawn was long.  I tried to hit the ragweed to help Tess but didn't get it all, I'm sure.  She'll let me know when I do.

Summer can't be ending.  It's just too soon.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Pretty sights

Some scenes from the last time I stayed in the boat house (last week)
 My view from the boat house porch.  Can't be beat.
 Full moon rising on the far shore
Sunrise from the boat house dock

Cute people

Just had a great visit with the Neels, the whole family, which was really nice.  So good to see them all!  Played with their grandson and was very impressed with how cute & special he is.  It reminded me that the young children I meet these days--my great-neice, grandchildren of friends, children of friends--are very, very nice kids.  Gives you a good feeling about the future.  Were we so clever and cute? 

Spent time this week cleaning the house (or at least parts of it).  Had the Nadals come for dinner last night and that was fun.  I'm much more interested in having people come to my house since retiring, it just seems so much more doable.  We watched the Republicans for as long as we could stand it.  They left, I watched Jon Stewart and that was excellent.

Went to Plattsburgh earlier in the week, spent a lot of money on supplies and food.  I'm hosting the shoreowners' group at camp tomorrow afternoon so had to get some stuff for that, plus it turns out I haven't bought toilet paper or paper towels in a long time.

I've sort of moved home now that night's are cooler.  I don't like staying in the boat house when it's cold, it's not much fun to wake up in a cold place so I tend to stay at home when temps drop.

I went to the Keene farmers' market with Linda and that was a real treat.  So much great produce!  So many people and dogs!  It got crowded while we were there, it's an incredibly popular place.  This afternoon I'll go with Linda to pick up meat from her meat CSA.  I've ordered some stuff, moving slowly and gently into localvorism. 

Tess' ragweed allergy has arrived a bit early this year and she's already scratching so I went to Westport to pick up meds for her.  She can't take her usual prednisone because of her anti-inflammatory, so I had to spend $291 on special anti-itch pills.  Wow.  Every month seems to bring unexpected expenses.

What's up for the coming days?  Dump run tomorrow, of course.  Next week I head to RI, leaving on Thursday and returning the following Tuesday.  Beach time, I hope.  When I get home a childhood friend from Rockford is coming to visit for a couple of days.  I have things to do to get ready for that but the house is in fairly good shape.  I need to cut the grass but my mower is in the shop and has been for 2 weeks.  I have my cordless weedeater and must, must get out there and at least cut a path through the tall grass.

It's a beautiful day, but a bit cool with some clouds and sun.  True August day.  How did this happen?  How did August get here?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Good intentions

Well, I have the best intentions about this blog.  I want to post more often but it just doesn't seem to be happening.  Yes, I'm busy, and I'm not spending much time at home, but it doesn't take long to write something (if anyone's out there reading this).

I've had a busy week, a hot and muggy week.  Sunday was all about food--an extravaganza of food for Bill's contribution to Sunday dinners.  A catered affair with many things.  That lasted for most of the afternoon, and at 6 we had book group with a bit more food (delicious) and a nice time.  We talked about the book (!) and visited.  Did we like The orchardist?  Yes, for the most part.  I thought it was very well written but we all had issues with some of the plot twists.

I spent a hot Tuesday morning in Plattsburgh--doctor's appointment and haircut.  Going to town in this weather makes me feel sooooo fortunate to have my home where it is. Oh yes.  I've spent most of my time on the boat house porch this week, with an occasional spell of dock time and swimming.  There's a cousin in camp with her friends, all of whom are very nice.  I keep to myself mostly and it all seems to work well. 

Wednesday I had a hot dock day, then went to Linda's for a farewell visit with MaryKay and Sheila.  We ended up at the Beach House for burger dinners and a good time.

Yesterday was another dock day--there's really not much else you feel like doing in this weather.  I went to the dump with Annie, then had a good visit with her.  I'll see her for dinner tonight.  Last night was dinner with my cousin and her friends on the porch at main camp, where there was an occasional breeze.

What's up for today?  Not much.  I think I'll have to go to a store for bread, maybe I'll go to the post office in AuSable to say hello to my friends there.  I haven't seen them since Duncan put up my mailbox and I resumed home delivery.

The dogs seem fine with sleeping in the boat house, splitting days between my house and camp.  They got new collars this week, probably the most exciting thing to happen to them for a while.  Aside from some porcupine quills in Treasure's chin.

I'm so very happy these days, truly enjoying retirement.  I've wanted to spend a summer home/at camp/with friends for so many years and I'm wallowing in this.  It is so wonderful.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer: full speed ahead

Went paddling with my friends Julie and Karen last week.  It was the first time I'd been in my kayak this year, and the first time ever I'd taken it away from Silver Lake.  We went to a shallow, calm dammed up part of the AuSable River and had an incredibly peaceful and leisurely time.  It was lovely, and I realized that part of what was so nice about it was being somewhere that wasn't Silver Lake.  Oh what a traitor, but the variety was special and good.  I may go paddling with Linda's company from Ohio, down a section of the Saranac River.  Better hurry up and do it, they're not here forever.

Last week was busy--summer busy.  Lots of dinners with friends, all very nice visits.  How did I spend my days?  It was hot and humid and I didn't do much.  I stayed at the boat house a few times, have slept there for the last 3 nights because night temps were too high at home.  I was there this afternoon when a big thunderstorm came through, which is a grand thing to watch from the boat house porch.

I've been reading a lot--there's not much else to do in the boat house if you don't want to swim or paddle.  I read The orphan master's son, which won a Pulitzer Prize.  Yes, it was good, but did it stay with me the way some really great books do?  I don't think so but time will tell.  It's a novel about life in North Korea, so you can tell it's a real pick-me-up.  Well it was good.

Yesterday my cousin John (my only cousin on my mother's side), his wife and a former Hawkeye Trail camper came for the afternoon.  The camper (Josh) was interested in seeing how the camp looks these days so we walked around the buildings and he really, really enjoyed it.  Listening to his stories was funny because I could follow along, having been listening to camp stories for the last 20 or so years.  After the tour we had lunch on the boat house porch, they swam, then they climbed Silver Lake Mtn.--the boys did--while Annie (wife) and I visited and had a nice time.  It was good and I'm glad they came.  Funny I wasn't nervous or hyper about their coming, I just felt fine about having company.  Is this retirement?  Maturity?  Old age?

I got to spend a lot of time with Duncan and Sue while they were here, which was a real treat.  They'll be back at the end of August and will stay at least through September.  Yay!

I've been in touch with a second cousin, one of my favorite people.  We were close friends as kids and now he's in California trying to figure out what he wants to do and where he wants to do it.  He's a peach but has heart problems so has, I think, a very different feeling about life than I do.  We enjoy our emails, comparing lives and interpreting the past together.  I watched the lunar landing with him all those years ago.

I now have 8 healthy, active guppies.  They're very pretty, all males.  The man I got them from, who posted on FreeCycle, was very intense about these fish and the water they would be moving to.  I didn't scream at him "THEY'RE JUST GUPPIES!" and was very respectful of his wishes.  Until I got in the car to come home.  Anyway they seem pretty hardy and are fun to watch.

The dogs are fine.  Tess rarely limps but she sure does like to walk slowly, very slowly when we come home from walking to the mailbox.  Yes, thanks to Duncan I now have a mailbox by the road and get my mail delivered daily.  This was a big deal for me.  I appreciate his help sooooo much, hating as I do to ask for or receive help.  Some things I sure can't do on my own, though, and this was something I wanted desperately to have done.

This week is a quiet week.  Spent a short time with Linda at her campfire last evening, then home for dinner.  Tonight I'll stop by Pat & Jim's for a short visit then will eat at home.  Tomorrow I'm having dinner with friends who are up for 2 weeks, along with Pat.  Thursday Jim & Judy return so maybe I'll see them then, or else for sure later on.  Sunday is busy with Bill's version of our Sunday dinners, followed by book group in the evening.  Well I guess that doesn't sound too quiet, but it does leave me with a lot of time to do things like mow the lawn and get my house in order.  I have 2 closets upstairs and haven't looked in them for years so I'm hoping to empty at least one of them.  I know the dress I wore at my wedding is in one of the--a size 2 from Talbot's, and that can be tossed.

It's summer and it's great.  I love this life.  This thing called retirement is exceptional.