Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Primary night

I'm watching the news, all about the NH primary election.  We in the North Country like to take ownership of the NH primary because we're nearby.  We also own Bernie Sanders because he's from Vermont.  Tom Brokaw just asked "What does an uncle have to do with the campaign?" when Trump boasted that he has an uncle who's an important professor at MIT.  Give me a break.

I've had a quiet couple of days, even though of course I ran the roads.  Yesterday I went to Saranac Lake to see the ice palace.  I saw it, wasn't terribly impressed and felt bad about that.  They didn't have much time to built it this year because the ice wasn't thick enough.  It's not as tall as it usually is but is magic nevertheless.  I also bought birdseed, where I met a 4-month old puppy named Winter who was cute enough to die for.  Wow was that a sweet pup.  Shepherd mix with something, maybe Lab maybe Rottie.  Sweet, oh so sweet.  But no, I don't want a puppy.  Oh yes, I do, but no I don't.

Today I went to Plattsburgh, had lunch with Julie and another woman.  We went back to the Thai restaurant, where Julie & I used to go every week, until the Japanese restaurant opened.  They were happy to see us and said to come back soon.  The food in both restaurants is good, it's just that the Japanese restaurant is closer to CEF so takes less of Julie's lunch hour.  So tomorrow Julie & I will have lunch again, probably Japanese.  I just realized that I wrote an entire paragraph about the restaurants we have lunch at.  Forgive me.

It's snowing a bit, nothing serious but maybe a couple of inches.  We got about an inch last night, fluffy stuff.  It's 20 right now, was colder this morning and up to 30 during the day.  The subzeros are on the way, will be here by the weekend.  The high on Saturday is predicted to be 7.  Yikes.  I'm so lucky to be at home all the time to keep the stove going.  What a wonderful difference it makes in my life.  The house is always warm.  When I worked it would get down to the low 50's and once in a while the 40's in the living room because I couldn't keep the fire going.  Now it gets too hot too often, such a nice change.  I still have plenty of firewood, nicely stacked by the Holts.

I talked to my mother this morning, wanted to find out how much snow they got in southern RI.  About 5 inches, she thought.  She's getting excited about coming events in March.  My sister, her husband and daughter are going to be in RI to celebrate Liza's 90th birthday (I probably already reported this but wow is it exciting).  I hope it warms up enough for Molly & Paolo, who sure aren't used to cold weather.  I won't go to RI until the week before they arrive, am skipping travel in February.  March is a RI month: a week for Liza's birthday, then a few days for Easter at the end of the month.  April is ROCK AND ROLL. 

Last night I dreamed that I was building a telephone out of sticks and moss so I could call my brother and ask him to bring me my camera.  Well yes, I can't build a phone, and yes, my brother is dead.  I often dream about him and he's always happy.  Sometimes we know he's going to die but we laugh and are cheerful.  I like those dreams of a happy brother.

Not much going on, really.  There are no tracks going down the road past my driveway.  There were 2 bog cars today.  There was a flock of turkeys in the road, which was exciting for the dogs.  I let them loose when I got home and they took off, but not heading toward the turkeys.  Oh I would like to know where they go sometimes (the dogs, not the turkeys).  They take off every morning, running down the driveway, tails a-wagging, and I follow their tracks until they go into the woods.

No big plans for the rest of the week.  I have 2 baskets to stain but was waiting to have enough newspapers to cover the floor.  I think I have nearly enough now.  I bought 2 small books of basket patterns because I lost the notebook that had all of my patterns in it.  Boy does that suck, that was a crucial tool for me.  Now I have to measure and count every time I make a different basket.  Will I make more baskets?  Yes, I will, but what for?  I guess I'll give them away.  I enjoyed making the 2 I just made and that was sort of a surprise.  Maybe enough time has passed since my basket making burnout at the turn of the century.  That would be OK.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Gray Sunday

Up early today, can't say I've made good use of my time.  I visited with the neighbors for a couple of hours, had a nice time with P&J + Bill.  All are well, Jim is 81 today.  Whew.  We celebrated last night with dinner at Plattsburgh's seafood restaurant.  It was a nice party, 11 of us and very festive.

I went to Burlington on Friday with Lin.  Back to the dealer where I bought my car for some basic servicing ($114) and identification of the sensor problem with the passenger side airbag (it's a sensor problem, duh).  I'll have to go back to have a new sensor installed, of course they had to order one. 

We had a good day but waited a long time for the car.  They have a nice enough waiting area with wifi but I can only read and entertain Lin for so long.  After that we were both really, really hungry and it was 3:00.  We went to The Shanty and had some clams, very tasty.  It was late--Lin likes to get home to Ralph pretty early, as a rule--but we made time for a quick stop at Trader Joe's.  Then we came home.  Uneventful ferry rides.  The lake is open this year, no ice in the ferry lane or even nearby.

Yesterday I had a really nice time with a friend at a coffee place in Keene.  We met, talked for 2 hours, then went home.  We covered plenty of things, as one would hope in 2 hours.  I came home and did what?  Boy I've not been very productive lately.  I did go to the dump, then I drove our team to dinner in Plattsburgh.

Last week I watched some episodes of both Homeland and The Americans.  It was good to see them, Homeland is far too graphically violent for me and The Americans is entertaining but kind of monotonous.  Good acting in both, and good entertainment.  This afternoon I think I'll watch The Newsroom, with Jeff Daniels.  I saw much of the series when it was on but missed the early episodes.

I'm reading the new Chris Bohjalian book, which is good and moving right along.  It's an unpleasant story but reads well, as most of his books do.  I've put aside The Martian, our book group book, and will pick that up soon enough.  I have 2 weeks before we meet again.

My big achievement for the week was assembling the inexpensive and simple exercise bicycle I bought.  Wow is it nice!  I'm only pedaling 20 minutes a day, will increase that next week.  It's in the middle of the living room and that's fine as long as no one else comes to my house.  It's pretty portable and light so I can move it if I ever have company.  Which I will soon enough, I have a pork shoulder roast that Linda left with me to cook for Bill and Fred.  That will happen sometime soon.

The dogs are great.  They take themselves for a walk most mornings when I get back from getting the paper, don't generally stay away long and get a treat when they come home.  What that means is that Tess wants to go outside 50 times a day so she can come back and have a treat.  Sorry, missy, it doesn't work that way.  I think what I'm really teaching them is to run away so they'll get a reward.

This week looks pretty good.  The weather is supposed to be more like winter.  That's a relief to me.  I fear that, since February has been more like March so far, then March will be February and that will be a drag.  It's supposed to snow this week, then get below zero and be appropriate weather.  That will be fine.

Joe comes for The Burn soon, then it will be March and my mother will be 90.  She doesn't want to be 90 but does want to see her family, who are gathering to celebrate with her.  That will be nice.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Feeling blue?

New color, no significance, just something different to look at.  I'm not one for fancifying or making use of everything that's available, I just like to write.  Especially about myself, apparently.

I put together my new inexpensive exercise bicycle and pedaled for 10 minutes.  Boy do I feel self-righteous.  It's my goal to lower my cholesterol levels and exercise, sadly, is the key to that.  Diet, too, but that won't do it unless I add moving around.  I was hoping to get into the habit of walking to the mailbox every day but no, it's oh-so-easy to drive instead.  Bad girl.  The disadvantage of the bike, of course, is that the dogs get no exercise on it.  They exercised themselves this morning by chasing a flock of turkeys.  That went well until the turkeys discovered they had wings and could fly.  Dogs came home without even a feather.

Warm weather

It's still warm here, 33 right now.  That's down from our overnight temps, but still too warm for this time of year.  It rained and rained yesterday, melting snow and revealing the thick ice underneath.  That is SO typical of March.  Are we really just a month ahead in weather?  I wish I could stop fixating on the weather, but that's what we do (especially in the winter) here in Hawkeye.  We can't fuss about each other, there aren't enough of us, so we study the weather.

Duncan and David reported that there was open water along the shore--not open water on top of ice, but free and open water.  That is very strange.  Someone told me that the ice on a nearby lake was 13" thick, so he thought our ice was probably 10" or so.   Wrong, I guess.

They're leaving today, the end of Winterfest or  Extremefest, their annual winter visit.  I had such a great time with them this year.  I spent a lot of time with them, many meals and lots of laughter.  They are very dear.  Would they like being called "dear?"

Yesterday I was in Plattsburgh for lunch with a friend.  She's having a troubling time so I hoped I could lend her some strength through my support.  There's not a lot you can do sometimes to help people, but she likes having me to talk to and knowing that I really do listen to her and offer soothing comments.  Anyway, it was a quick trip to town in the rain.  Lunch was good.  Today I'll go to AuSable to pick up a package at the post office.  The mail carrier usually delivers packages to my door but I'm sure she didn't want to deal with the icy slope that is my driveway, so today I travel to the Forks.  That's fine with me, as everyone knows I love to run the roads.

Tomorrow I'm taking the car to Burlington for work at the dealer there.  That's where I bought it, and I have confidence in the work they do so off I go.  Lin may go with me, I'm not sure what we'll do while we're there but I bet it will involve a meal.  I started listening to a book, something I haven't done since I retired.  I chose The little Paris bookstore, or some variation of that.  It's OK, too soon to tell, really.  I've been listening to Darius Rucker CD's, I watched a concert of his on VH1 and liked his music.  He switched to country music a long time ago and some of his songs are a bit too country, and they mostly all deal with lost love.  I like them anyway.

I'm watching young girls pick up toys on the Today Show.  I'm not sure what they're supposed to learn by picking up as many toys as they can in 30 seconds, and I'm really not sure why I'm watching this.  I watch too much TV, pretending to keep up with American culture and news.  Really I'm wasting an inordinate amount of time.   I started watching Homeland the other night but wow is it brutal and violent, so I doubt I'll keep up with that.  Prior to that I was watching The Americans, mostly because of Keri Russell.  It, too, is good, but maybe a bit monotonous.  What to watch, what to watch.  How about turning it off?  OH NO.  That won't happen.

 We're having a big celebration in March for my mother's 90th birthday.  My sister, her husband and daughter are coming to America and that's really exciting.  Jenica and her family will be there, and a cousin from California is pretending he'll be there too (I seriously doubt he'll make it).  My mother is freaking out and had refused to plan for it but is now much more excited and planning where we'll all sleep.  Maybe she has figured out that it's next month.  I have the same problem of realizing that March is a month away.  Yikes, can this really have been winter?

The dogs are fine.  Tess is old, 12, and is not the same dog she used to be.  The thing about old dogs is that they are so different from the younger dogs we used to have.  Their behavior changes, their personality is different, and of course their bodies are problematic.  Tess is not exactly grumpy, but she really does want things her way.  She moans and groans a lot and snores very loudly.  She's insistent when she decides she wants something or wants something to happen.  I find it very sweet but it sometimes is truly annoying.  She sleeps a lot and can't run very fast but gives it her best effort when she & Treasure take off down the driveway.

I'm happy.  I like my life.  I'll be more productive one of these days.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


I just had a moment of total confusion about what day it is.  Is it Monday or Tuesday?  There's no way of knowing unless I reconstruct yesterday.  I don't really enjoy this aspect of retirement, especially since I'm used to leading a very strictly scheduled life.

OK, I've got it.  Yesterday I went to the Blue Heron for breakfast with Duncan and David.  While we were chatting the power went out so cooking French toast was not possible.  We sat in front of the fireplace for a long time, visiting and solving the world's problems.  The power finally came back on and breakfast went ahead.  David made delicious French toast and we had a grand time.  More conversation after breakfast, and after many hours of being there I came home.  What a good time I had.

The weekend was pretty quiet except for dinners with the Blue Herons.  John was here until Sat. afternoon, so I had dinner with the 3 of them Friday night, and Saturday night I had dinner with Bill and the Herons.  Lots of laughter and conversation, a lovely evening.  Tonight I'm having dinner down there.  Duncan and David are undecided about their departure date, it will be either tomorrow or Thursday.  The weather tomorrow is supposed to be basically dismal but warm.  Rain, maybe snow but probably rain because it's supposed to be in the 40's.  Today is gray and cool, temp is 33 but it feels colder because of the dampness.

I went to AuSable this morning, mailed some things and got a few groceries.  I'm taking dessert to dinner so I'll make brownies and I bought ice cream.  The trip to town was quick and uneventful.  I skipped the bank.  I had a check from Jim that I'd left in the car: Treasure ate it so I'll have to report that to Jim, how embarrassing.

I'm watching Groundhog Day.  It's not as good if you turn it on halfway through, but I adore Bill Murray.  I've done 3 things today but will go to the Holts this afternoon to make sure their generator shut off when the power came back on.  And I'll water Annie's  African violet.  I had a long talk with her on the phone this morning, we've been out of touch for a while.  She and Rush are just fine and she's adjusting to life in DC.

Dogs are fine, they take themselves for a walk pretty much every morning when I get back from getting the paper.  I guess it's OK for now--there's no one in the neighborhood and no traffic.  I'm lazy and like to have them exercise themselves. 

Not much else going on.  I still feel very insecure about winter.  Is this all there is to it?  I just have the feeling that winter is coming and will be hard and long once it arrives.  I should be thinking that every warmer day is one less frigid day, but I guess my glass is half empty about the weather.  Oh dear, must work on that.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday snow

It's snowing today, on and off according to the experts.  A minute ago it was a heavy and dense snow, now it's just a flutter.  The trees are outlined in white and are very pretty.  It's warm, 31, and I have a good fire going so all is well on the homefront.  The dogs have already walked themselves this morning and are now exhausted and waiting for our trip to Plattsburgh.

I have a few errands to run, and lunch with Barb.  We'll meet at the Greek restaurant, our usual spot.  With Julie, on Wednesdays I eat Japanese food at OUR usual spot.  Nice to have these 2 restaurants in close proximity to where my friends work.

My friends "The Boys" are here for a few days.  These are the men who own one of the camps below my house.  They come every winter to be in Hawkeye for Extremefest.  They ski, hike, climb mountains and feed me dinners.  I'll see them tonight, talked to them on the phone last night.  They've all arrived, from California, Boston and Minneapolis.  I love visiting with them, they always make me laugh.  They've been friends since childhood and remind me of my brother and his childhood friends, when they used to get together and giggle a lot.  Our house was a gathering place for Henry and his friends through high school and college so I vicariously enjoyed their brotherhood.  I had my own group of friends, and we giggled a lot too but there's something very dear about men and their very close friends.  Women, yes, we always have close friends.  Men, maybe not so much all the time.  Maybe I'm wrong, who knows.

I've been mildly productive this week.  I did tidy up the living room, though maybe to the untrained eye this would not show.  I finished cleaning the laundry room, the final cleansing involving removal of cobwebs and HUGE amounts of dog hair in clumps invisible to the naked eye on the black vinyl floor.  The vinyl tiles are peeling off because of the several floods I've had when the pipes there freeze.  I've solved the freezing problem (I hope) by wrapping the pipes and moving the washing machine so warm air can actually get to the pipes.  I feel as if I've outsmarted cold air.

I'm working on losing weight, in my own way.  I keep a food journal and count calories.  Sometimes this is really discouraging and some days I do quite well.  My plan was to lose a pound a week.  I've lost 2 pounds since my last visit to the doctor, but that was probably because the nurse had me take my shoes off this time.  harumpf.  I did order a foldable exercise bicycle, which was on sale and supposedly easy to assemble.  I would prefer a treadmill but don't have a good place to put it, it's too expensive, and how would I get it in the house?  I did really well when I was doing Weight Watchers and walking on the treadmill every day--I lost 28 pounds.  I found the 28 pounds, plus a few more, so I'm not doing well.  Wish me luck.

Not much going on this weekend except for The Boys.  I'll go to the big dump today on my way to Plattsburgh to drop off clothing and towels to be recycled.  I'll go to MY dump tomorrow to recycle and get rid of trash.  Why don't I do all of it today?  Such a good question.  I suppose it's just because I like to have something to do every day, and Saturday my "thing to do" is usually going to the dump to see Dump Bob and get biscuits for the dogs.  I have some glass gallon jars to recycle.  I used to dye my baskets with special powdered dye that I mixed up in these jars, but now I don't dye them, I stain them instead so I don't need the 8 jars I have.  I'll keep some because why wouldn't I?  They must be useful for something.  A terrarium.  Mixing up a big batch of something.  Who knows.

I was in Plattsburgh on Wednesday for lunch with Julie.  While we were eating lunch she watched a policeman put a ticket on my windshield.  Really?  A parking ticket in Plattsburgh?  By a policeman, not a meter maid?  I was parked more than 12 inches from the curb, which cost me $15 for the ticket.  Honestly, I thought it was really funny (when I wasn't irritated).  I've been teased a lot for it and everyone agrees I should practice my parallel parking of the Subaru.

Dogs are sleeping, I'm dressed and ready for town, will leave soon.  It IS a winter wonderland out there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rain in January

We've already had our January thaw so what's with today's rain?  All that will happen is that it will all freeze overnight and it will be hell freezing over.  I don't get frustrated (much) by weather, though, because there's nothing we can do about it.  Now that I don't have to drive to Plattsburgh every morning it seems like a less significant part of life.  It's really a BIG part of life here in Hawkeye, our activities are often determined by weather, but it has less of an impact on my daily doings than it used to. 

I'm trying to stay home more, resist the urge to run the roads.  Saturday was a bad day, I went to the dump, came home, went to Wilmington to drop off stuff at the thrift store, then came home.  Why not combine the 2?  What was I thinking?  Sunday I went only to P&J's, but yesterday I went to Plattsburgh for a doctor's appointment.  Not a good time, my cholesterol is too high in spite of the statin I take.  He's giving me 3 months to work on this before taking another approach.  EXERCISE would make a difference, but who wants that?  Anyway, I think my eating habits during the weeks leading up to last week's blood work were quite cholesterol-inducing so maybe I can be more careful.  Yes, that's what I'll do.  When it comes to this, genetics are not my friend.  When it comes to my teeth, genetics are my best friend.  One parent had lousy teeth, one has great teeth, so at least I can be thankful for that heritage.  And that is a big deal to me.

I'm slacking off on my 3-things-a-day plan and need to get back into that.  I cleaned out a bureau in the master bedroom and today I'll put the sheets I only use in summer in that bureau (what's the difference between a dresser and a bureau?).  That will made a big difference in the laundry "room," which is just the hallway between the bathroom and bedroom downstairs.  It looks like hell right now and I'm always trying to figure out how to improve on that.  I love the way my mind works: slowly.  It came to me this morning that I have a place to put the linens that fill the shelf there, a place out of sight.  duh.

I'll make 3 trips to Plattsburgh this week, which is too many.  One to the doctor, one for lunch with Julie and one for lunch with Barb.  The lunches are necessary, I feel.  The doctor was just thrown in to make me feel bad about myself.  I don't mind going to Plattsburgh but I realize it's not the most constructive use of my time.  And I spend less money when I stay home.

Lin and I went to the movies on Thursday, we saw Joy then went out for dinner.  A nice time, and a good film.  Not a great film, but very good.  Nicely done by Jennifer Lawrence, that's for sure.

The dogs are just fine.  Tess seems to be on a roll about going out and coming in and going out and coming in.  I live to serve.  Both dogs like to stand on the deck and bark endlessly.  Oh how lucky I am to have no neighbors, this is great entertainment for the dogs.

I really need to make an effort to walk more.  My walk to camp last week was fantastic and beautiful, my walk to the mailbox was a bit cold, and that's all I've done.  Today I'll walk to the mailbox, oh yes I will.

I'm reading The Martian for book group, and am enjoying it.  Too much science in it, really, for me, but it's a well-written account.  Of course I get to picture Matt Damon when I read it and that only improves my reaction to the book.

I chatted on Facebook with a high-school friend.  We're friends on Goodreads and recommend books to each other successfully.  It was nice to communicate with her, like an abbreviated phone call.  I saw this woman at our 40th high school reunion but didn't really visit with her then.  I wish I had, but probably not enough to go to another reunion.  ugh.

The Chair

 The Chair: it's the best, most desired, favorite and ONLY place a dog can really be comfortable at 58OHR.

Sometimes you have to share, but sometimes you have it all to yourself: VICTORY.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Special time

One of my favorite things ever is being outside on a still, sunny, clear winter day when the temperature is around 20.  Lucky me!  Yesterday and today are days like that.  Not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind.  It's just beautiful.  Yesterday I walked to camp, without the dogs, without a sound, without any tracks on the road or on the lake.  How lucky am I?  I didn't take the dogs because I don't know how thick the ice is, and neither do they.  I had a dog long ago who wouldn't walk on thin ice, but these 2 are so foolish and naive that they wouldn't think about thickness of ice, they would just think of a huge open space where you could run and run and run.  So they stayed home.

I've had a good week, pretty busy for an old retired woman.  I went to Plattsburgh on Tuesday, did y blood work, had a haircut, got some groceries.  I noticed when I left home that my mailbox had been blasted again by a plow.  The arm was snapped, same as the last time.  I stopped at the Highway Dept. in Plattsburgh (it's the County that plows the hardtop, where my mailbox lives) and reported it.  By that night the post was repaired, mailbox back up and there's now a big neon flag on top of the box.  YAY!  Nicely done, County workers.

I went to Pat & Jim's on Tuesday, had a good visit with them.

Wednesday I was back in Plattsburgh having lunch with Julie.  We always have a good time together, an we always eat the same Japanese food at the same Japanese restaurant.  We've switched from the Thai restaurant uptown to the Japanese restaurant downtown.  We're pretty boring when it comes to lunches.

Yesterday Lin called in the morning.  She's taking 2 days off from work this week to get some stuff done around the house.  She wanted to see Joy, and have dinner in Plattsburgh, so I picked her up and away we went.  The movie was good (but long) and Jennifer Lawrence was really great.  We had an OK dinner, cheap because it was early at Texas Roadhouse.  OK, we went there, we don't need to go back. It's loud there, and very dark.  Too much noise and bustle for me.

Today I have a list of tasks: sort picture frames to find ones that Lin might want, cut the dogs' nails, call Subaru to make an appointment for early Feb., move the dog cage that I haven't used in more than a year, and deliver egg cartons to Marylou in Wilmington.  Moving the dog cage is the biggest challenge.  It involves finding homes for the things I've been storing on top of it.  Then, of course, what do I do with the space it will leave?  Oh, not to worry I'm sure I can find SOMETHING to put there.

I got an email from Joe announcing the date of The Burn in February.  That's one of the main events of the winter, for sure, and it's nice to have that to look forward to.  Seeing Joe, not necessarily The Burn, although that's always fun, too.

I'll go for another walk today, it's just too pretty not to.  Right now the dogs are sound asleep in the sun in the living room.  They're exhausted why?  They've been outside at least 5 times, they rode with me to get the newspaper, they've had their peanut butter and meds, have had treats, have eaten their breakfasts, had some "bed time" when we roll around on the couch and play mean viscious fighting dogs.

Life is good, very good.

Gorgeous winter day

 The road to camp, pristine and without a single footprint.  Wow, a rare sight
 There were animal tracks on the road by my house.  This was the best, rarest: a pine marten.  The space between pawprints is too long for a weasel, not far enough for a fisher, so pine marten it is.

 My tracks, going home, with a happy squirrel along side.

 Little snow hats on my monarda stalks.  Look so cute.