Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Scary stuff

"The new Living Planet Index report from the World Wildlife Fund opens with a jaw-dropping statistic: we've killed roughly half of the world's non-human vertebrate animal population since 1970."

I keep hearing about different species that are endangered, being poached, losing their habitat, etc. and it doesn't totally register until you see something like this.  I remember 1970 very clearly and it doesn't seem so long ago.  I think about the future of the planet but have a different perspective on it than someone who has children does.  Do I think about future generations?  Not so much, I'm more grounded in the here and now (after all, it's all about ME).  Do I worry about the future of the planet?  Yes, but I'm convinced there won't be much of a future for the planet--what we're doing is negligible to stop the damage, and the U.S. only constitutes a small fraction of the world's population.

Pretty gloomy for a Wednesday.  It's rainy and foggy and very pretty in Hawkeye.  I like fog and I miss the fog we always had in southern New England.  It's rarer here and is seasonal, happens in the fall and spring when the temperatures of the ground and air differ more.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Well well well soon we'll be a majority...

"The proportion of Americans who live alone has grown steadily since the 1920s, increasing from roughly 5 percent then to 27 percent in 2013, according to the latest Current Population Survey from the Census Bureau."

This is from today's Washington Post.  How do I feel about living alone?  Anyone who knows me knows I really enjoy it.  I sometimes say "I couldn't share my house with anyone again," but I don't truly feel this way.  I have an entire upstairs that could be used by someone--there are 2 bedrooms, a living room and bathroom there.  I use one bedroom for a storage unit but the other is a fine room with a great view of the woods.  

What do I like about living alone?  What DON'T I like?  I like the peace of being the only one in the house.  I like the silence and I like to make loud noises when I play with the dogs, with no one to complain or care.  That might be different if I had neighbors.  I like being able to get up any time during the night and turn on the lights, bring the house to life if I want to.  The dogs and I often enjoy 3 a.m. living room time.  I like deciding what to do and when to do it with only myself to consult.  I miss having someone to do things with when there are things I'd like company to share with.  This happens a lot less than it used to.  I don't like the mess I make in my daily living.  Well, I guess I don't mind the mess so much but I sure hate cleaning the house.  I never realized how bad I'd become at that until I started living alone again in the North Country--there is constant clutter and dust in my living room.  My bedroom is a real mess.  There's no incentive for me to clean.  No, wait, that doesn't mean that I don't think I'm worthy of a clean house.  Not at all.  Apparently I just don't mind wallowing in my chaotic home.

I don't seem to have many reasons for not liking my solitary lifestyle.  It's very busy at times, when visitors to the neighborhood are around.  Right now it's hectic but in a matter of weeks it will quiet down incredibly.  Do I look forward to that?  In a way, but I'll miss the people whose company I'm currently enjoying.

I had company for dinner last week and the dogs behaved well but after dinner received a lot of attention from my guests.  They lapped it right up but were exhausted the next day.  I guess they'd never be able to keep up with my social calendar during these busy times.

Two view of the most-photographed mountain.  Bottom one is from Linda's dock, taken on Sunday.  I like the clouds.  Top one is taken from our boathouse, same day.  I went down there to get my bathing suit so I could SWIM at Linda's.  I wouldn't call it swimming, really--more like a quick dip.  It was a beautiful day but the water was a tad cold.
The view out my front door on Saturday.  Wow was it grand.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Random fall color.  Boy it's pretty this year.  There are rumors that peak color is this weekend.  I don't know, we still need some yellows to go with the blazing reds and oranges.  It really is a banner year for color, and the weather has been wonderful--warm days and cool nights.  Foggy mornings with sunny clear afternoons, great dock days for people who don't have to work...

It's busy in the neighborhood these days, everyone trying to get our final visits and events in.  Last week I had dinner at Linda's Friday night, fed Duncan & Sue at my house on Sat. night, and had brunch with Linda & Erd., Sue and Duncan at Duncan & Sue's Sunday morning.  Very busy and wonderful.  Last night Duncan & Sue fed us delicious Greek food, sitting on the screened in porch.  Very nice.  Tonight it's dinner with the Holts (and Duncan & Sue + Bill).  Tomorrow is another brunch, then the cider pressing at Lin & Ralph's.  I bought a bushel of "utility" apples for my contribution--we call them drops, not utility apples, but I think they're the same.  Should be fine anyway.

I got a Facebook note from a college friend.  I saw him a couple of years ago, met him and his son in Keene Valley when they were looking at colleges.  Ted and I were good friends in college and lived together the year after I graduated, when I was a secretary.  There were 3 of us in the house and things got complicated--not because of the 3 of us, but because other people interfered.  But that's history, and Ted is a nice man.  He wants to come visit in late October, and that doesn't freak me out.  Yet?  Or maybe I'm just more relaxed about having company.  The upstairs is presentable, the bedroom there is in good shape.  Bathroom needs to be cleaned, but that's doable.  So there you go.  Come on along, Ted.

Dogs are doing well.  They were BAD DOGS on Monday.  I put the baby gate up to keep Tess inside while Treasure was out and I was in the shower, forgetting that Tess is not intimidated by a baby gate.  She crashed through it and she & Treasure took off.  I searched and searched but couldn't find them.  I had to be at a meeting in Champlain that morning, so I left them out with the front door open.  I did that another time with Tess and it worked out fine.  As it did this time.  They sure were happy to see me, though.  Treasure ripped up some papers and chewed on the handle of a favorite basket (BAD,BAD Dog).  She spends her days in a cage because she apparently gets bored, or frustrated, or whatever, and always finds something to rip up if she's loose.  Tess seems to sleep most of the day, unless I leave the garbage unlocked.  Last week she got into that and spread it all across the kitchen floor, as if she were searching for a diamond earring or something.

It's a banner year for mice and they're all coming to my house.  Well, no, Linda has a lot of them too.  So far I've killed 19--my record is 21 and after that I got a cat.  No cat now.  I'll just keep slaughtering the little buggers.

I had a nice trip to Lake Placid last week.  There's a new director, replacing the wonderful woman who was there but died recently.  She was a hard act to follow so I did a lot of reassuring the new director--mostly it was a cheerleading visit but the trip was nice.  Sunny with color just coming along.

Hard to believe that next week will bring October.  I have a meeting with the NY State Retirement rep, let's see where that goes.

I need to mow my lawn and get rid of the dead plants in pots on my deck.  And at lest think about closing the boat house.  I've been walking the dogs when I get home, sometimes to the mailbox and sometimes to camp.  They sure do like that.


I drove to Canton earlier this week and here's what I saw along the way--

Monday, September 15, 2014

September

We're well into September now and the leaves are starting to show it.  There are some reds and yellows, and all of the green leaves look a little faded.  This morning I paused to let a deer family of 3 cross the road--Dad was a spikehorn buck, Mom a nice doe and Baby was not too small but probably this year's.  We have a ton of turkeys these days, both adult and juvenile.  I was getting the paper yesterday and there was a huge flock of fledglings with a few adults in Jim & Pat's yard.  I had the dogs with me and boy were they excited.  I had to sit in the car for a while until the turkeys moved into the woods, which took a while.

My biggest news is that I bought a new car Labor Day weekend.  Lin went with me to Burlington, where I drove a Subaru Impreza and liked it enough to buy it that day.  It's all-wheel drive, which is something I've certainly longed for, but I had to buy the Sport package to get cruise control (a cruel trick on Subaru's part).  So I have heated seats, fog lights, roof rails, heated rear view mirrors (this is a true bonus) and other things that matter less.  It's a hatchback, another things I've longed for.  Am I happy with it?  Yes.  There are some things I miss about the Honda but this is a good choice and a nice car.  Do the dogs care?  Not a bit except that when Tess sits in the front passenger seat the alarm goes off continuously and annoys both her and me.  So she doesn't get to sit there.  I've had the car 2 weeks and it's got 850 miles on it.  Most of that is driving to and from work but I have taken a couple of long leisurely drives after going to the dump.  It's just a nice car to tour in.

I've made an appointment with the NY State Retirement rep for early October.  This is a big deal and I'm pretty nervous about it.  Excited, yes, but also nervous.  Getting down to the wire now.

There are still summer people in Hawkeye but Joe & Martha leave soon (Oct. 1) and Linda won't be far behind.  Duncan and Sue are here for the month which is a real treat.  Sue hosted book group last night (which was very generous of her, I thought).  We had plenty of food and a nice selection of things.  We actually talked about the book a bit (Amy Tan's The valley of amazement).  Not much, but a bit.  Next meeting is in October and we'll celebrate Christmas then so Linda can be part of the group.

I'm using the Kindle that Betty Rine loaned me and to my surprise I really enjoy it.  The combination of a Kindle and wireless Internet at home make it very, very easy to buy books.  I've bought a few but am trying to concentrate on PRINT books for a while since I have a huge collection of unread books in the house.  The Kindle is lovely for reading in bed and on the boat house porch.

I haven't been to the boat house for a while and need to get down there to start closing it up.  No one has been in camp for a while and I don't expect anyone to come this fall except for my cousins who will stay in their camp across the lake and take out the docks.  It's too cold for me to stay there these days, it was 34 Sat. morning and about that today.  It's sunny and nice but cool.  I do like September weather.

Not much else going on.  The mice are trying to take over my kitchen.  I've killed 17 so far and am sure there are many left.  Should I get a cat?  I ask myself that every time I set or empty the traps.  No, I don't want to have a cat.  I wouldn't mind having one, but it's another animal to care for and board when I go away.  I should just keep pet mice instead.

I was up during the night on Sat. and watched FarmAid.  Oh my but those men have aged.  John Mellencamp was OK but looks hard rode and his voice isn't what it used to be.  He's near & dear to my heart as a favorite of my father's and Jenica's.  I saw him live in Montreal once and it was a great show.  Anyway, he's still alive and kicking.  Neil Young was up next and he was good but rambled on and on about corporations and their evil ways.  His voice has held up.  Next was Willie Nelson who is OMG so very old.  He barely sings, just sort of recites the words.

Having lunch with my friend Barb today which will be a treat.  We'll go to the Greek restaurant downtown.  Yum.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Just a memory now

Back to life in Hawkeye and all settled in.  Last week was a rough one at work--I had such a truly wonderful vacation that it was hard to be back.  Ah, life is rough when you complain about what a great vacation you had.  We all really enjoyed being together.  We went to the beach nearly every day.  The ocean was cold but refreshing.  The water was mostly clear but there were a couple of days plagued by jellyfish hatches.  I don't know if it was eggs or jellyfish but there were billions of them in the water.  This happened another time but then it was much, much worse.  They're hard little things under water--Jenica said it was like swimming with ice cubes, which would be fine if you could forget that they're LIVE ORGANISMS.  We swam (briefly) in them and that was only twice.  The rest of the time we had good beach conditions.

We spent the first week with Jenica, Justin, Gwyn and Malcolm the GIANT DOG, all fitting comfortably in Liza's house.  She was nervous about everyone's comfort but it worked out well.  We had lunch at our favorite lunch place (Champlin's) and breakfast at Jim's Dock, spent a lot of time visiting and playing with the baby, and read a lot.  Very peaceful.

The second week was peaceful, too--much beaching and more reading.  We all read our books--I like lying on the futon on the front porch, where it's very comfortable and the dogs join me.  I also like sitting on the deck looking out at Liza's very green yard that's full of flowers.  It was good to read, I haven't been reading much lately so I wanted to get back in the habit.  I slept in the screened-in gazebo in the woods, a favorite place of mine.  I've wanted something like that at my house but don't suppose that will happen, and besides I have camp if I want to sleep in a screened-in place.

The dogs were good.  They didn't get much exercise, only one walk in the park.  They use the small pen attached to my mother's house and don't seem to mind much.  Maybe they know how lucky they are to get taken along...

The first weekend in August we had our annual family meeting.  It went well, without much discussion of anything.  What's new?  There's no money.  People don't do enough work at camp.  blah blah blah.  Always the same, always true.

Sunday of that weekend Molly cooked Sunday dinner for my friends.  I helped but she did most of it.  It was my turn for potluck and I asked her to do it for me.  It was delicious, of course.  After that we collapsed and packed for the trip to RI, leaving Monday after I went to the dentist to have my permanent retainer repaired AGAIN.  Easy trip.

When I got back last Saturday I settled in and unpacked, then visited with neighbors.  Everyone did just fine without me (no surprise) but all were happy to see me.  Sunday was Pat's potluck of meatloaf, which was delicious and filling.  Sunday night Linda hosted book group.  There were only 3 of us there but we had an excellent time sitting at her camp fire.

On Thursday night we had a wine tasting, conducted by Erdvilas and hosted by Joe with food by Bill's favorite chef.  Very fancy, very nice.

What's up at my house?  Not much.  Lots and lots of mice.  It's tempting to get another cat, but I don't think I'll do that.  I don't need another animal, and I sure don't need to worry about what will eat my cat.  I just set traps every night.  I've killed 8 since my return.  The year I got my cat I killed 21 before surrendering to the idea of having a cat.  Bet I have that many now, too, there just seems to be an endless parade of them.


Treasure picking up some food prep tips from Mark.  I couldn't get a good picture of her because her tail was blurry in every shot.  She wags her tail a lot.
Tess guarding Puppy and Teddy.  She's very gentle with them and carries them around proudly.  She has to keep them away from Treasure, who will pull the stuffing right out of them.
Watching over Puppy and Teddy is exhausting.
Our favorite spot for breakfast (on the right).  Good food and ambiance is excellent.
Ladies at the beach.  Liza went on our last day--there was a cool breeze (too cool) so we didn't stay long.
Justin testing the water with his daughter.  She thought the water was just fine.
Oh she's a cutie, all right.  She looks like a doll in this picture, but she's real.
I'm not in this one--couldn't get my camera to work because I was too stoopid to figure it out.  Anyway, this is the group from Week 1.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Off and running

My sister Molly took this picture as we were driving to RI.  The dogs are always interested in what's happening in the front seat.  They were very well behaved on the whole trip and visit with my mother and family.  I'll post pictures soon.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Heading out soon

It's my last day at work for 2 weeks--I'm off to Rhode Island next week with my sister for a nice long visit.  She's been here all week and we've had a very, very nice time together.  I hear plenty of people say "Oh I wish I could spend time like that with MY sister," and I want to tell them it's a question of arranging it, and it can happen.  Of course, my sister does the arranging part, flying to America and taking the train up here, but we both want it to happen.

I've been staying at the boat house all week with Molly (and the dogs), and it's been grand.  I worked this week but did take Weds. off and we had a good day.  We went to the dump then on to Pbg to get supplies for Sunday dinner.  We're cooking for 12 and it will be at J&M's house because our camp will be full.  Molly is wonderful at planning and executing things like this--thank goodness she's here or I would be struggling.  We've split the cooking this week, eating at the boat house on the porch.  Molly has done a ton of work, cleaning and arranging and painting there.  It looks really nice and is organized at last.

We have our annual family meeting tomorrow and it looks as if there will be a good crowd.  Some years we have a lot of people, other years not so many.  It's nice that Molly will be here for it.  Jenica et al. will come.  Many cousins will be there as well.

Work is fine.  I finished weeding the adult fiction, having handled each of our 8,000 books.  The stacks look good and I'm proud of the achievement.  Now I have to finish the non-fiction.  Yikes.  This will be my legacy--neat stacks.

Treasure is fine and pretty much back to normal.  She still coughs a bit now & then but certainly has enough energy.  Tess is doing well, too.  Molly & I were trying to scan something at my house the other day and having no luck getting it to work.  We kept hearing a sound that was promising, sounding like something being scanned.  Oh how hopeful we were, until Molly realized that it was Tess snoring and not the scanner.  How many advanced degrees does it take to make a mistake like that?  Very funny.

Bill hosted Sunday dinner last week, providing a huge Thanksgiving meal.  There were a lot of people there, at least 13 or 15, and there was plenty of food.  Molly & I left a little early because we were having problems with the pump at camp and people were due to arrive soon.  Finally got the water situation worked out and all seems to be just fine now.

I finished the book group book (Orphan train) and enjoyed it.  It's very good, but probably not excellent.  Better than Bees, that's for sure.  It's so interesting to ponder the things our country thought of doing in it's history--shipping orphans out to the Midwest on trains and doling them out like prizes to people who didn't have to prove they'd provide good homes.  Now I'm reading another Jonathan Tropper book.  He's always entertaining but this book is a bit gloomier than some of the others.

My Midwestern friends are gathering this weekend and I'm not there.  They returned to Lake Geneva and have a good crowd.  They've been posting pictures on Facebook so I get to enjoy the reunion from afar.

I'm looking forward to my RI trip, much of my family will be there at the same time (minus Molly's children and husband).  My mother is pretty tense about it, I think, but it will all work out.