Thursday, March 26, 2015


 Cap'n Joe of the Pinta (reproduction)

The Pinta (reproduction)

 Spanish moss!  I saw Spanish moss!

 Miss Martha and her chubby friend from the North

Palm trees!  I saw palm trees!

Home again

I made it!  Had a great trip, wonderful visit and made it home on Monday night.  I got there just fine and Joe was waiting at the airport, the Jose Laundry Taxi Service just for me.   We did a lot of fun things and saw a lot of interesting and beautiful sights.  I like southern Georgia a lot.  The weather was grand, sure beats the snow we're having now.  I got home to -2 degrees and icy conditions, which then warmed up and got slushy.  Now we're having some snow and it's due to be cold.

What did we do?  What did we see?  Where did we go?  Oh so many answers!  We toured the island, we saw reproductions of the Nina and Pinta, we went to Savannah for the day, we went to Jekyl island and saw turtles and we went to wonderful beaches.  Joe & Martha are the ultimate hosts and treated me royally.  We ate out several times, excellent Southern food, and Joe cooked his excellent shrimp--not to mention breakfast every morning.  Oh how spoiled was I?

Rough trip home, exacerbated by the cough/cold I came down with.  That turned into an asthma event so yesterday I went to the doctor for steroids and cough med.  Better today but have a way to go before I stop hacking and suffering.  Yes, I suffer.  The dogs fared well at the kennel.  She really likes them and always compliments me, saying they're good and happy dogs.  Yes, I think that's pretty fair.  They're exhausted now.  They took a long stroll/run this morning but came back in an hour or so.

When I got home disaster struck and I couldn't find my remote control.  You can't change the channel with a satellite dish unless you have a remote, so I was stuck watching something someone else picked out.  That, of course, was no good.  I got a universal remote, got it almost all set so am happily settled on my couch with my snoring dogs.  Oh I'm so addicted to television!

Next week I go to RI to spend Easter with my mother and Mark, leaving Thursday and coming back Tuesday.  No plans after that except for doctor's appointment and book group.  Then we'll be cruising alone toward spring, one can hope.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Airport waiting

I'm at the Burlington airport now, waiting for time to pass until my newly-assigned plane leaves.  My flight was changed from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. so I have plenty of time to do...what?  Well, I've played with my Kindle, I've had a cup of coffee, I've checked on Barnes & Noble, which doesn't open until 9 (too late).  Now I'm at the Information Desk using the free connection.  How safe is this?  Probably not very.

I went to RI last week and had a great visit with my mother and Mark.  The weather was pretty crummy but it was nice to be there.  They have about as much snow as I do at home so that was a drag.  The dogs could walk on top of the snow, which meant they could easily have jumped out of the pen but they're too stoopid to know how to do that.

We didn't go to the beach--Mark had a nasty cold so we just stayed in and read a lot.  Very peaceful and nice.  On Liza's birthday we didn't go out to eat but instead had an "everyone's favorite food" meal.  I cooked delicious shrimp scampi, Mark cooked a steak, and I had my lobster the next night.  Lobster is definitely my favorite food.

On Sunday we went out for breakfast then tried to go shopping in the town where I used to live, but the stores there don't open until noon so that was a bust.  We drove around looking at the water instead, which Liza liked.  Up to a point.

Today I'm on my way to Georgia to see Joe and Martha for 5 days.  It will be grand to be with them, and I'm very curious about the weather and landscape there.  Couldn't be more different than what is going on here.  Still have snow, temps in single digits in the morning (well, maybe not today, I think it was 11) and "warming" to the 30's and maybe 40's while I'm gone.

The dogs are at the kennel.  This is a small place near where I live.  The owners have 22 sled dogs (Siberian huskies), really beautiful dogs.  They were getting ready to go sledding when I dropped off the dogs yesterday morning.  The dogs marched right into the building as if they wanted to be there.  Well, who knows what dogs want or think, maybe they think of kenneling as a big adventure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just a pretty view of Asgaard Farm, taken last Friday on my way to Keene Valley to have lunch with a friend.  It was a sunny day, fairly warm with the slightest hint of early, early spring.  Now we're into just early spring, with snow melting and bright sunshine.  I guess it's to be short-lived, though, with temps in the 20's tomorrow and snow predicted for the weekend.

I'm heading to Rhode Island tomorrow morning--my mother turns 89 on Friday so I'm spending a few days with her.  Travel should be effortless, clear weather and no real traffic on a Thursday.  I'm coming back on Monday.  It was funny today, I thought about scheduling the trip--I can go any day and stay as long as I want.  Of course there are complications--Weds. is my day to volunteer at the Historical Association, and I usually have lunch with Julie after that.  Next week I'm going to Georgia to see Joe & Martha, so I wanted to come back early enough to get organized for that.  Monday night is a St. Patrick's Day dinner at J&P's with Bill & Fred.  I furnished the food but knew it would be hard and complicated for me to cook it all (and besides, it's doubtful that Jim would come to my house) so I asked if Pat would do it.  It expanded into a larger crowd but should be a lot of fun.  Corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, etc.  Yum.

I haven't been doing much (seems I always start that way).  Friday I had lunch with  friend, one of 3 lunch dates last week.  It was a very quiet weekend--pretty much all I did was go to the dump on Sat. and go to J&P's on Sunday.  No, I didn't accomplish much around the house, either.  Monday I went to Plattsburgh hoping to take care of everything I needed to before my trip, but of course I needed to do more today.  It's very strange to be making this trip without having it be a vacation from something--I'm used to being excited about having days off when I go to RI, but now it's just a change of scene and a chance to visit with Liza and Mark.

Our weather is just grand, moving right along toward spring.  Old Hawkeye Rd is muddy and getting muddier as the ground thaws.  I don't always drive to the house, the driveway is full of heavily rutted snow.  I did come tonight, though, so I can pack the car tomorrow morning.  I've been well organized on that front, packing things bit by bit so there's not that much left to pack.  It's supposed to be in the 20's tomorrow, so at least I won't feel cheated out of a spring day.

What will my time in RI be like?  Lots of visiting, relaxing, doing any errands that might be helpful to my mother.  There's a wonderful restaurant at an inn near her that's one of my all-time favorites  It's expensive but really nice, so I'm hoping maybe we'll go there to celebrate Liza's birthday.  I take the dogs and they get pretty bored.  Mark likes to go to the beach with them so we'll doubtless do that. Lobsters?  Maybe.  Flounder?  Most likely.  All in all a nice quiet time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Early morning musings

Sometimes, if you go to bed early enough you get enough sleep so that when you get up at 2:00 a.m. you feel refreshed and energetic.  That happens to me sometimes, though not as often as it used to.  If you don't have to go to work it doesn't matter much what hours you keep (though my doctor told me to sleep at night because he has too many patients who stay up all night and sleep during the day--I try to do what my doctor suggests).  I've been getting up at 6 or 6:30 every morning and enjoying the time.  The dogs are interested in eating and going outside, then they collapse and snore.  I love the way they're in a big hurry to get up so they can go back to sleep.  Right now they're both snoring here in the living room with me.  Very peaceful sound.

I haven't been doing much (it seems that's pretty much all I say these days).  I volunteer at the Historical Society for a couple of hours on Wednesday mornings, and that's going pretty well except I made a bunch of mistakes last week and am hoping no one will have noticed that by this week.

Today I'm going to Plattsburgh.  I have a hair appointment, then lunch with Barb, then a bunch of errands.  I need some groceries--I seem to need groceries every week but am spending less than I used to.  I guess it's a frame of mind when you live far from decent stores that, when you're in the vicinity of decent stores you buy things.  Stocking up.  I also need birdseed and a few other non-grocery things.  I've cut way back on the number of trips.  I'm down to 2 days a week in Plattsburgh, mostly for banking, groceries, lunch with friends.

I'm having serious septic problems, a first for this house.  Something is frozen, either the pipe to the tank or the leach field, so I have very limited facilities.  My shower doesn't drain into the tank so that's fine.  I have easy access to the Holts' house so it's pretty much just and inconvenience.  I don't know exactly where my septic tank is, and it would require a backhoe to get to it right now so I'm just living with it.  Does this make any sense?  Not really, but I think I'm just happy to have running water so I can deal with anything else.

I'm off to RI next week for my mother's 89th birthday and flushable toilet.  This week I'm not doing much, lunch in Pbg with friends twice, hair appointment, and my weekly volunteering at the Historical Association.  I do enjoy my work there but last week I made a bunch of mistakes and didn't have time to correct them all.  Rats.  I'm not sure what I'll be doing this week--I finished scanning the photos in one cabinet and maybe there are more.  They seem to be happy with my work but that's just because they haven't discovered my mistakes.

I've been spending time with the Brousseaus because their son Jon was diagnosed with leukemia last week.  Very scary and sad.  He was in the hospital in Burlington last week but is home now with oral chemo.  The doctors were encouraged by early results of the chemo so we're all hopeful.

I play with my Kindle Fire a lot.  Cheap e-books are a treat so I'm building quite a library.  I read The girl on the train, which has been touted as the new Gone girl.  It's well written and a good read.  Not so much like Gone girl but similar.  I can't say I've come across any great literature lately but I'm reading every night.

Dogs are fine, I am fine, life is good.  It's now 5 degrees outside, but that's PLUS five.  It was -7 on Sunday morning but has warmed up since then and there's no sub-zero in the forecast..  Zero, yes, but not sub-zero.  It was almost 20 on Sunday and in the 20's yesterday so there's hope.  The snowbanks along the road are starting to get granular, which is a sign of late, late winter.  Frost heaves are not as bad this year, which seems strange considering the harshness of the season.

I have plenty of birds at my feeder, but not a wide variety, just chickadees, woodpeckers, nuthatches and blue jays.  The chickadees are very dear and greet me when I fill the feeder.  They've started singing their spring song, one of the earliest signs of a change of season.  It's coming, it's coming.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oh no not again

It's -8 right now and due to be -200 or so by morning.  Well, it IS winter in Hawkeye, isn't it?

I've been fairly busy recently.  Last week I volunteered at the Clinton Co. Historical Assoc., just for 2 hours on Weds.  The project I'm working on is scanning old photographs and writing descriptions of them in a spreadsheet.  It was more complicated than I'd hoped (I think what I really wanted to volunteer doing was stuffing envelopes, or something mindless like that) but I got into it, of course, and enjoyed myself.  I'm going back this Weds.

After being at the Hist. Assoc. I was to meet my friend for lunch at the Thai restaurant.  So there I went and sat and waited and waited.  She, it turned out had gone to the Thai restaurant that's UPTOWN, while I of course was at the one DOWNTOWN.  She waited, I waited, she worried, I worried, then all was well.  We're having lunch again this Weds. TOGETHER.

Friday I had lunch with Barb, which was really nice.  I like hearing about her family, especially since I knew her before her son was born, and his girlfriend is now pregnant.  WHAT????  My little Andrew, going to be a father?  Oh my.

On Saturday we had the Big  Burn of this year's brush pile behind Ken's house.  Everyone takes their brush, branches, etc. to the pile all summer, and in Feb. Joe comes from Georgia and the pile is lit.  It took a while to get it really going but once it started, it was as impressive as always.  A smaller pile this year than some years, but a nice day and good company.  I went with the Holts but we didn't stay until the bitter end, we left before the hot dogs were cooked.  The snow is deep but it's still powdery so at least I could walk up the hill to the fire.  I had my doubts...

Saturday night I had dinner with the Holts, always a treat.  Rush has started his new job in DC and they're working on the logistics of that.  Right now Annie is still in NJ but she'll be in DC with Rush soon.  It will be great having them there to visit, but it puts them farther away from Hawkeye.

My frozen pipes were finally fixed on Thursday.  The pipe behind the washing machine split on Sunday/Monday and I finally got someone to fix it for me on Thursday.  I had the Holts' house for water and shower and wash so it wasn't as disastrous as it might have been.  I got good advice on how to keep it from happening again, so now I have the doors of the bathroom vanity open and the heat on in the bathroom.  I'll check on it before going to bed, and if I wake during the night I'll make sure it's OK.  Whew!

Joe measured the thickness of the ice while he was here, and this year it's 28" thick.  A perfectly respectable number!  We have had consistent subzero temps so it's not surprising that the ice would be a bit thicker than some years.  It's hard to comprehend what it will take to melt all that ice.  I haven't been out on the lake yet--my unsuccessful trip 2 years ago has made me a bit nervous.  I did go out on it last year and managed not to fall through.

The dogs are doing well in this weather.  They don't mind going out until it gets to -20 or so, then they have trouble keeping all 4 feet on the ground at once.  Sometimes Tess stands in the driveway and barks at me, but I just tell her to hustle on inside.  I'm not totally tired of the weather yet, probably because I'm home every day to keep the house warm.  It was so awful when I was working and came home to a cold house, leaving a cold house in the morning to go to work.  Now I keep a good fire going all day and it's lovely.

I'm not as productive as I hope to be but I think I'm just getting used to this new life.  I do some cleaning, I cook a bit, I read, I watch too much TV and I get to be with my dogs.  It's all grand, just grand.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Danger Will Robinson

It was -8 this morning and everyone is hysterical about the dropping temps tomorrow and tomorrow night.  Lots of publicity for wind chills of -40 to -50.  Well, I don't have much faith in wind chill--all I know is that if it's windy and below zero it feels very cold.  At least we're not supposed to get the blizzard that's expected south and east of here.  It snowed all day but we only ended up with a few inches.

I had an exceptionally lazy day.  Up around 5, warmed up the house, talked to my mother then went to the dump.  Took a long way home just because I like to do that.  Then I settled in for the day and really did practically nothing but watch TV and pet the dogs.  The dogs took off the other day and were gone for 2 1/2 hours.  I was worried but had tracked them down Old Hawkeye Rd past the Holts so at least wasn't worried about cars.  They came home, finally, but poor Tess was really lame for the rest of the day and into the next day.  She's good now but certainly does move more slowly than she used to.  I think about life without her, which will be hard for Treasure and me but I guess his is how I work my way into dog euthanasia.

I have the tail end of my cold now, a nagging cough and congestion.  I went to Saranac Lake and bought good cough med. and more Sudafed so I keep everything under control.  It's just lingering now.  I finished the book I was reading last night.  The author's name is Celeste Ng.  How do you pronounce that?  Ng.  It was a good book but pretty depressing.  Nicely written.  Now I'll start the new Anne Tyler book IN PRINT.  I've been using the 2 Kindles I have--one is an old one, borrowed from a friend, and the other is my new Fire.  It will be strange to handle a book again.  I bought a copy of the book thinking I would read it then send it to my mother, but she needed something to read so I ordered several books for her, including Anne Tyler.  She (like me) has a house full of books but likes to read NEW books.  I'm keeping a list of books to read, or at least read reviews of.  Collection development was one of the favorite tasks of my job so I still have a keen eye on book publishing,  I don't know how long I'll keep this up, but it's fun now.

No big plans or tomorrow or Monday.  I'll see P&J tomorrow and probably not leave the house much on cold, cold Monday.  I feel so very fortunate to be at home during this weather, keeping the house warm and the stove stoked.  I have 2 commitments next week, 1 is volunteering at the county Historical Association and the other is lunch with Barb.  YAY.

I called some friends the other day and found out that one of them was just diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.  That was pretty depressing news and I haven't really taken it all in yet.  Our friend Barb N. is doing better, I hear, which is fantastic news.  I know we need to expect problems and illnesses as we age, but it sure is a drag.

Dogs are just fine and such good companions.  I had a long talk with Annie yesterday.  She & Rush are in Calif. while he accepts his new position at the AAAS, having spent 2 weeks in Yosemite before going to San Jose.  Their lives will change dramatically as they will gradually move to D.C.

Happy Valentine's Day.  Mark sent me a new toy and some candy and my mother sent me a card addressed to ASF Frozen Northland, Snow Country USA.  That address was on the inside, of course--although I sometimes get mail with strange addresses, I don't think that one would have made it to me.  Maybe, though.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Narcissus and geraniums in February are about as close to something spring-like as I can get.

I have a cold and sound like death warmed over.  I finally got some good drugs and can smell again and can almost hear at normal levels.  It's not a bad cold, not one of those that makes you feel really, really awful.  It's more of an inconvenience and how can I complain when I have a wood stove, 2 dogs and all the time in the world to convalesce with?  Ah, life is good.

We celebrated Jim's 80th birthday in good style at Mainely Lobster with a great showing of family members.  The food was great, everyone cheerful, and the roads were slick but passable.

Today we saw the sun for the first time in a while.  It felt warm and very strange.  I went to Plattsburgh to have lunch with my friend Julie and did a little grocery shopping for P&J while I was in town.  Julie was having horrible headaches, had a CAT scan done and it came back abnormal so she saw a neurologist this week.  I was pretty hysterical, having just lost 2 friends to brain cancer in the last few months.  Anyway, she's fine and has no tumor nor is there anything really wrong with her.  That was a huge relief.  She's still at CEF so I counsel her on how to be still at CEF.  The woman they hired after I left is now installed at my old desk and Julie finds this very depressing.  I don't blame her, we were very dependent on each other for humor, sanity, and sage advice.  Well life goes on.

I had a doctor's appointment in Plattsburgh on Monday, did some grocery shopping then.  Yesterday I went to AuSable to mail some things.  Yes, I'm still running the roads.  I have no plans for the rest of the week, or the weekend--so many days with so little to do!  Next week is the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, an annual favorite of mine.  I record the whole thing and wallow in different dog breeds.  I love it.  It must be incredibly boring to the normal human but I love watching dogs being paraded around by odd looking people.

It was -3 this morning, now is 17 and not bad.  Apparently it's supposed to be -15 (or more) soon.  I've used up my Ken wood and am now burning the wood I bought last summer.  It's not as good, of course, but is good wood nevertheless.  It's not in the wood shed so I have to dig it out from under huge piles of snow.  Ah, it's good for me!  I haven't walked the dogs in weeks, haven't done much of anything myself since Duncan & David left last week.  Joe comes soon, which will be a grand and welcome distraction.

The dogs are great.  I shut Treasure's head in the rear window of the car today, which startled and scared both of us.  She's so skittish anyway, it was very dramatic.  They run off once in a while while I'm getting wood but they don't go far or stay away long.  Someone was in the bog the other day so maybe they broke trail and I could walk the dogs in there.  If it ever warmed up I would maybe do that.  Or not.