Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Catching Up

Apparently, I have been living under a rock.  But I am catching up now and have been watching a couple of episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for the past few days.  I had not heard of it until seeing the trailer on Margaret's blog.

I was pleased to be staying current with Last Tango in Halifax but I now am seriously considering deferring that til another time.  August is prime sink into a depression time for me and, let me tell you, British dramas don't have anything to offer in the way of lightening the mood.

This August marks the second anniversary of Mike's passing, but August has always been a trigger so it is not just that.  At least I know it will pass and that I should exercise extra vigilance around machinery and such.  I get extremely accident prone when I am depressed.

I have been reading  The Awakened Introvert: Practical Mindfulness Skills to Help You Maximize Your Strengths & Thrive in a Loud & Crazy World  by Arnie Kozak.

It isn't that this book is filled with startling new revelations for me, but it certainly is filled with needed reminders of what I need to be practicing, especially now.  I think I will need to read this every August for the rest of my life.

I have been dithering about my house situation.  I really need less house and yard to take care of, but I could not seem to make a strong move in that direction even after talking to the real estate people.  My son, the original poster child for indecision, even said I need to kick him out and move on.  That woke me up a little, but the big thing was stripping the wallpaper.  It is done now.  I will have to find a painter still, but taking things off the wall really got me thinking--does this spark joy?  Do I want to take this to a new, smaller place?

I will be taking some trips to Habitat for Humanity Restore with donations--feeling some space open up around me as I go.  I am (to some) disturbingly unsentimental about stuff.  I really do work on the practical/use it or sparks joy principles.

Well now I have two rooms in kind of a mess--the living/dining room and the office where I have stored stuff from the living room.

I am off to clear some space.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


It has been hot and humid here for the past couple days.  Perfect weather for stripping.

Stripping wall paper, I meant.

Because a steamy day just makes me want to get out a steamer and really sweat it out.

I don't always plan well.

I had a real estate agent look at the house.  He said 90's wallpaper is so unappealing to buyers.  On the other hand, he really liked the coziness of the 70's den downstairs.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weekend Coming Up

I have enjoyed the visit with my two grandchildren this week.  I think one of them is ready to go home now.

I will drop them off at their house on my way to visit a friend in New Hampshire for the weekend.

My neighbor dropped off some fresh vegetables from his garden--even better than a visit to the Farmers' Market.  What a feast of fresh vegetables we enjoyed tonight--with some Vermont cheddar for a bit of protein.

Summer goes by so fast!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day Trip

My grandchildren are visiting.  Today we made a trip to Ausable Chasm in upstate New York.  In order to do that we had to cross Lake Champlain.  Dane had not heard about the Lake Champlain monster before.  He kept a sharp eye out for Champ.
 We took the ferry from Burlington, VT to Port Kent, NY

 It didn't look too bad when we started out.
 But as you can see, it was kind of hazy.
 Above and below are scenes of the Burlington waterfront.
 Dane spotted this stowaway on the ferry.

 When we finally got across the lake--an hour long ride--the clouds were so black and threatening.  I had my sunglasses on and I had to stop to change to my regular glasses because it was too dark to see.

As we pulled into the parking lot for Ausable Chasm the sky opened up and it poured.  We sat in the car.  When the rain let up a little we made a dash for the welcome center.  It was time for lunch anyway.

The rain let up and we went ahead with our plans.  The woods along the trail were drippy from water on the trees, but by the time we got to the raft launch the sun was out.  We had a great ride.  We did get wet going though the rapids.

Because our plan was to ride the river raft, I left my camera in the the car.  You can view pictures here.

We took the shuttle bus from the raft pull out back to the welcome center and had something to drink before heading back home.  

I drove to Essex, NY, to take the ferry to Charlotte, VT.  It was a much smaller ferry but a quicker trip--and much less expensive!  However, we did have to take a slight detour to get their.  There had been some flash flooding and wind damage to trees that had the direct route closed off.

 The weather was nice as we left Essex, NY.  Dane watched for Champ once again, but there was no sighting today.
 Apparently, there was quite a storm at home while we were gone.  Here's how we found the deck upon our arrival.
Kind of pretty sunset tonight:

Thursday, July 16, 2015


We had a hot and very humid day on Tuesday that continued into a rather uncomfortable night.  I have a small air conditioner that sits in the window but it seems like too much of a hassle to install it and use it for the two nights, on average, that it would be useful during a Vermont summer.

We were supposed to have a thunderstorm that would bring in a cold front.  No storm, but the humidity was gone on Wednesday.  Last night the temperature here dropped to 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 Celsius).  I would call that a cold front.

I think I should have slept much better last night than the night before.  I don't know really because I was asleep both nights.  However, yesterday morning and this morning both I got out of bed and it looked like this:

a circle of pillows.

I don't know why, but this makes me giggle.  I know I have had a restless night when all the pillows are thrown on the floor.  Only one was missing from the bed this morning, all five were in a circle yesterday.  I have not figured out what this circle of pillows is telling me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Harper Lee's New Book

I have not read Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.  For that matter, it has been quite a while since I read To Kill a Mockingbird.

I did find this article about the dilemma for educators interesting in the "seriously?" vein.

But other ardent fans of “Mockingbird” said they are heartbroken that they might no longer be able to present Atticus to their students as a pure icon of justice.
That includes Allison Jackson, an English teacher in Baltimore County in Maryland who named her Welsh corgi after him. She hopes her ninth-graders would read “Mockingbird” before hearing much about the new book. “I want my students to experience Atticus Finch, civil rights hero, the same way that people have for the past 55 years,” she said.

Sara Confino, who teaches ninth-grade English in Maryland’s Montgomery County, said she is struggling with how to address the troubling aspects of the new book in a school where most students are black or Hispanic. 
“How do I tell my students that yes, Atticus Finch is a wonderful character, he will represent you in court…but he doesn’t think 88% of you should be in school here?” she asked. “That’s a really hard sell.”

Seriously...pure icon of justice and a civil rights leader?  Hard sell to Black or Hispanic youth that there is a difference between legal justice and social justice--never mind in the 1920s or 30s, but today.  A hard sell?

I am practically speechless.

Glimmers of hope come for me in these quotes:

“Mockingbird” is one of the most commonly assigned works in U.S. schools, typically in eighth or ninth grade. While the novel depicts its narrator, Scout, as a girl who looks up to her lawyer father as he defends a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman, “Go Set a Watchman” shows Scout as an adult disillusioned with his segregationist views. 

“One of the reasons school is boring is because we avoid conflicts,” said Ms. Jago, associate director of the California Reading and Literature Project at University of California, Los Angeles. “These are not easy conversations to have with students, but avoiding the conversation isn’t going to get us closer to the nation that we want to be.” 

But, okay, here is probably the real reason for the article about the new book:

Its U.S. publisher, HarperCollins, is owned by News Corp, as is The Wall Street Journal.
Certainly makes me want to reread the one and then read the other!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer gifts...

My plan to support local farmers this summer is going quite well.  I have the garden satisfaction I need from flowers and herbs and far less of the aggravation of fighting insects and veggie loving critters.

This was my haul from Thursday afternoon.  How gorgeous is that eggplant? And the homemade mustard is delicious.

The field wildflowers are out and I picked these on a walk the other day.

I attended a birthday party this weekend--a member of our card making group, birthday #95.  Lately I just party, party, party!

This party was at the birthday girl's lakeside camp.  It was a hot day but there was such a pleasant breeze off the lake.  The great grandkids took advantage of the cool water.

Big crowd, including her 99 year old friend from Florida and 90 year old brother in law.  (Helped me recover from being the oldest one at the last party! Impossible amounts of delicious food.  Musical entertainment by a local barbershop quartet.  Friends.  A good time.