Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
I hadn't seen either one for several days, and then just a few minutes ago there was the male alone, standing tall and absolutely still, watching the house. Just standing stock-still.
I couldn't figure out why -- and then, waddling back from the spilled birdseed under my window, came his mate. They're both still with us! and he'd been watching her.
By the time I got the camera out again, she'd made it almost all the way back -- and she's such a camouflaged dullness that you'll have trouble finding her. Try for that little grey spot above the center there. He, evidently reassured that she was obeying his summons, had already returned to the puddle--if there still is a puddle. Hard to tell from here, and I can no longer walk to find out.
If this actually results in ducklings, it'll be a first, in the more than 60 years I've been watching this backyard.
Monday, May 8, 2017
But anyhow, what I started to tell you is that he is survived by "his wife Mary Ellen...his daughter Melissa...his son Brian..., daughters Naomi...and Michele..." There's a story back of that, one suspects, but again I digress.
Nine grandchildren are listed, all with interesting names ----MacKenzie, Bethanie, Morgan, Cooper,... but anyhow, what I wanted to tell you is that
in addition to a long list of close friends, he is survived by
four dogs, a cat, and a rabbit.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
I think I told you they always move on, looking for a nice swamp to nest in, because that water dries up and disappears every year within a matter of days.
This afternoon, though, I found him still here, and what's more, chasing another male away, after which he flew out to the end of the back yard and landed with a --- omg!--- a splash.
Monday, April 24, 2017
TIME TO CALL THE COMPUTER HOSPITAL -- I CAN NO LONGER TAKE IT IN BUT THEY MAKE HOUSE CALLS.
I GIVE UP. RATHER THAN SPEND ANY MORE TIME ON THIS, I'LL JUST SKIP RIGHT TO THE POINT AND TELL YOU THAT THE TOPIC TO BE PRESENTED NEXT SEPTEMBER BY BILL HUTCHINGS IN BATH, ENGLAND CONCERNS ITSELF WITH
TRUTH AND FICTION: ALTERNATIVE FACTS IN JANE AUSTEN'S NORTHANGER ABBEY
and I finished the post off with a picture of Kellyann Conway, the originator of a phrase that's evidently made its way around the world at lightning speed. Wikipedia tells me she first pronounced it fewer than four months ago. Got to figure that invitation had to be printed in England, travel across the ocean, make its way to my house -- and it must have been some time earlier that Bill wrote the description of his talk, assuming even then that Brits reading it would recognize the phrase.
- - -- -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This morning's post brought a mailing from the Jane Austen Society, the original one, in
Nice picture of the
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane's death. Years ago I stood in the low-ceilinged room where she died -- yes, in
So -- Austen scholars are concentrating, right now, on the two of her novels published that same year, 1817 -- Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
The list of speakers for this planned assemblage is impressive -- Bill Hutchings, for instance, is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, co-editor of The Cowper and Newton Journal, a National Teaching Fellow (whatever that is), and the author most recently of Living Poetry and Living Fiction.
Here is the lecture you could hear him deliver, late morning next September 25
and finally, here is the bit that brought me up short:
YOU CAN EVEN FIND IT IN WIKIPEDIA!
Saturday, April 22, 2017
After skipping several monthly tests, yesterday I finally remembered to make a routine check of the panic button I wear around my neck.
Remembering how loud the other alarm -- the door/window thingie -- is,
I scooted not too close to that little speaker box in the living-room, pressed my button, and was rewarded with an immediate “EMERGENCY EMERGENCY” from the little box.
Then I scooted up next to it, waiting for a human voice to come on and ask what was the matter. And just at the instant when that happened, I had – for the first time in more than a year –
a sudden spasm of the larynx.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
when I had the TIA.
Tomorrow I'll also have a visitor from the senior residence I applied to. Seems they require a "15-minute-cognitive test." I'll bet the first question will be "What year is it?" (I'll report to you) and I definitely know 1984 came and went. Even if I'm only operating with maybe 70%, that's still passing, right?
Aging in Place.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
I worried last week when the Passover Mallards failed to show up. But I guess they just got confused by those liturgical calendars -- some years Easter and Passover fall at the same time; this year they didn't.
At any rate, here's what's outside my desk window right now. This year they're evidently Easter Mallards.
As always, they'll plod hopefully around the soggy back yard for a few days, grazing under the birdfeeders on bits knocked down by the songbirds.
Then they'll face facts, accept that this place is drying up, and depart to find some nice gooey marsh for nesting.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
And thank heaven, I also received some decent old-fashioned run-of-the-mill Peeps -- they were even the yellow ones. I stabbed their cellophane and practiced restraint till they seasoned properly, and I can't show you a picture because they're all gone.
But the exciting news at Wegmans is that the Cadbury creme eggs are finally back -- been waiting months for them. Sugar sugar sugar in its most delightful configuration.
So Dannie, here's this year's very first effort. I know -- the red is a bit torn down there next to the chick, but I couldn't help that -- the creme had oozed a bit and it was stuck to the chocolate there.
I promise I'll practice diligently -- will try to do better right through to Easter.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
So I called the phone number, finally got to say "representative", which brought up a live person -- her name was Tiffany so we know she was young --
"Well, I always pay my bill promptly, but it looks like I forgot in January. There's a late fee and interest here. Do I really have to pay them?"
"No ma'am you certainly don't. I'll take those off right now."
I think (never sure about anything these days) that They are legally (?) required by law to give you one free slip-up a year or something like that.
I post this information as a public service.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
I guess if you live long enough (and I have) what goes around comes around.
At any rate, here's what the magazine from Cornell Ornithology looked like in the mailbox yesterday --
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
First, you drive up and order a "small cheeseburger". Right there is your dairy and your protein.
Then you ask for a "senior coke". (I know, I know, but I need the caffeine these days and I don't drink coffee.)
Besides, I want to alert those of a respectable age -- did you know you can get a full-size drink for 79 cents?... or even 69 cents? (read on) You just have to ask.
Then, because the chopped onions on that cheeseburger don't really provide enough fruit-and-vegetable component -- and because I've eliminated the pickle and the ketchup, which you may remember Reagan (was it?) classified as a school lunch vegetable...
...it's prudent to end the meal with a hot apple pie.
Yes, this nicely balanced meal can be had for just three dollars,
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!!
If you go to store #32511 instead of store # 4789, you save a penny on the cheeseburger, the coke is ten cents less, the pie is a real bargain and the tax becomes only twenty cents.
A third MacDonald's had even different pricing, but I can't seem to find the check. At any rate -- here's your well-balanced meal for
LESS THAN THREE DOLLARS.
We're Lovin It!
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
Way past noon. I'm still in furry slippers and cozy bathrobe, with every intention of staying that way till bedtime.
The house is pretty well back to normal after the Holidays and the family Visitors, with just a couple of leftover mysteries:
Whose is the red apron? I suspect Maria.
Julie just finished a course that involved Greek drama, so I suspect her, but yet -- look at the price in the northeast corner of that cover:
-- that's got to be a generation or two earlier. Maybe Julie got it while they were visiting Anna, who has a nice collection of drama stuff from her Equity days.
But anyhow -- the big mystery is
What Ever Happened to the Bathmat That Got Soaked When the Fancy Shower Leaked?
I have looked high and low.
Come to think of it, that's a figure of speech.
I can no longer look either High or Low.
Any information will be appreciated.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
...plus le meme chose.
In the day-by-day emails of the greatest diary ever written, we're up to December 1663 now, and Sam Pepys writes that in the Coffeehouse the discussion was about
"the great evil of discouraging our natural manufacture of England ... by suffering the Swede to bring in three times more than ever they did and our owne Ironworks be lost..."
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
July 8, 1993
|Anna r. on TV 1990s|
I look for the name of the theatre in the flyer she sent us. It isn't there, but she's at the New Hope Performing Arts Festival.
I get out the atlas. New Hope is near Philadelphia.
Buster sits on the atlas.
|Buster visiting bathtub|
I remove Buster from the phone book. Philadelphia's area code is 215.
Theatres usually have the phone numbers of florists handy, so I call Philadelphia information at 1-215-555-1212 and ask for the phone number of the New Hope Performing Arts Festival.It's 215-862-5880.
I call 215-862-5880. I get a tape reminding me that the play opens tonight.
I call Information again. They can't look up a number without the name of the florist. I explain my quest. They find the New Hope Flower Shop, 215-862-3169.
I call 215-862-3169. I get a crackling noise.
I think perhaps it's because Buster walked on the phone.
I call it again. I get a crackling noise.
I call it a third time. I get a dial tone.
I call the operator and explain my problem. She calls the number. She gets a busy signal and a crackling noise. She tries again, and says it's out of order.
I call Philadelphia information. They can't read the yellow pages but they'll transfer me to the service people who can.
The service people find a number in the yellow pages for Tiffany's Florist, 215-862-1200.
I call 215-862-1200. "The number you have called, 862-1200, has been disconnected. Repeat: the number you called..."
I consider Flowers by Wire. But if I can't get through, how could they? And how would I know in time if they failed?
I call Philadelphia information and ask to be transferred to a service person. No, not about a faulty line. No, not about new service. I want the people who can read the yellow pages. Reprovingly: "That is just a courtesy we provide...I'll switch you over." I get a dial tone.
I call Philadelphia information again asking for the yellow pages service. "Certainly, I'll connect you."
I get a dial tone.
I call again, pleading not to be cut off. "Yes, I'll stay with you until you're transferred, but I'll put you on hold, don't get worried."
I get a silent line.
I get the yellow pages people!!
I ask "Have you got time to hear my problem?" "Yes, if it's not too long." I summarize the morning so far. I ask if there's a newspaper in New Hope. "I can read the yellow pages for you, but there is a service center in New Hope. Would you like that?"
That would be great, perfect.
Buster sits on the page I'm taking notes on.
I call the New Hope center at 215-862-5880. It's busy. I put my automatic re-dialer on and it calls every 30 seconds for ten minutes. Still busy.
I try the automatic re-dial for another ten minutes. I decide everything in New Hope has been washed out by a heat wave.
So much time has elapsed that perhaps the box office is open, so I call the theatre again. A tape reminds me that the play opens
I call Philadelphia information. I'm put right through to the yellow pages. This time I get all the rest of the New Hope florists: the Pod Shop and Boxwood Gardens.
Boxwood Gardens sounds like a garden store, so I call the Pod Shop at 215-862-2037. A young woman answers immediately. Roses are $60 a dozen. We settle on assorted summer flowers. I mention my morning's adventures. She laughs and says "We're all the same florist anyhow."
Break a leg, Anna!
|Watching Cat TV with Norm|
Saturday, December 10, 2016
It seems such a counter-intuitive thing -- all that height, that weight, that muscle, balanced on two small feet. Yet babies pull themselves up almost automatically -- and what a triumphant look the first time they achieve it!
You can see by the spots on the knees and the toes of those white shoes that up until then he'd been crawling -- this was in my in-law's living-room in Montreal. Fine moment.
So anyhow -- my other son showed me how to access those DOS journals I kept on floppy disks after 1983 ('moved the typewriter off the desk today') and I am delighted to find this entry in July of 1990:
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
This picture was taken before all the homemade pies arrived.
We had plenty of drama all week:
The garage door opener wouldn't shut.
The microwave fan wouldn't go off.
The disposal wouldn't dispose -- Avi said we wouldn't need a plumber, that when the eye surgeon arrived for Thanksgiving dinner he'd take the pipe apart and fix it -- and that's exactly what happened.
This general dissolution was evidently contagious -- our overflow who stayed at a nearby b&b came back to borrow a plunger at one point.
We had an 89-year spread of ages -- great-granddaughter Athena spent most of her time in a big carton, obligingly left in the living-room by the applance guy. Grandsons Nathan and Aaron each chose sets of Jane Austen from The Collection. The London contingent furnished two young boys who kept the mini pinball machine in pretty constant use. I have fine pictures of all these goings-on, forwarded from various attendees, but they just won't transfer to this screen. That's why this post is so late -- I've been trying, giving up in frustration and then trying again the next day.
So I'll just tell you a bit about what I've been doing since:
I forgot to mention -- the washing machine stopped washing also -- and this during a week involving one way and another nine house guests including a toddler. I ordered a new washer, asking for the simplest replacement, but this new control panel seems to offer 42 choices ... I was reduced to reading the manual.
All's well that ends well. For your viewing pleasure, here's a Before and After of every bath towel I own. That bottle in Before is an unopened Beaujolais left from The Feast. I'm not a drinker, and all I know about wine is that Beaujolais doesn't keep -- it's supposed to be drunk promptly.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
49.1 The Landlord gives consent to the Tenant to keep the Landlord’s two chickens and coup in the garden. In consideration of this the Tenant must ensure that these chickens do not cause any difficulty or damage or nuisance either to the Premises and or the fixtures or fittings or to any neighbour. If that should occur the Landlord and/or the Landlords Agent reserves the right to terminate this consent and to require that these pets leave the Premises immediately.
49.2 The Tenant agrees to remove all mess from the garden or other outside areas of the Premises both during the Tenancy, particularly prior to any visit from the gardener, and prior
to the end or earlier termination of the Tenancy.
49.3 For the avoidance of doubt the chickens and their eggs will belong to the Tenant and the Tenant will be responsible for any costs associated with the keeping of the chickens.
49.4 The Tenant agrees to return the land at the end of the Tenancy in the same condition as stated in the inventory and schedule of condition at the commencement of the Tenancy unless the Landlord gives written confirmation he would like to retain any additions or
changes that the Tenant has made, with no compensation payable to the Tenant at the end or earlier termination of the tenancy.
49.5 The Landlord shall have no responsibility or liability for any claims whatsoever (including 3rd party claims) arising from the condition of the fields or fences due to any chickens being
kept by the tenant.
49.6 It is further agreed that in the event any of the chickens shall die then the landlord will not be responsible for replacing or compensating the tenant for such loss.
I'm not sure what 49.4 has to do with chickens, but it's pretty much what I used to teach in those real estate courses. Just the same, if I had been on the Premises I would have given Ben the usual advice: have your own solicitor look the lease over before you sign.
I don't know what the other 48 provisions of that lease were, but in the Chickens section I still don't see any answer to the original question: Is Ben responsible if one of the hens dies?
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
My opening gambit out the car window was "I cast my first vote for Harry S Truman"* and everyone wanted to talk. When I told one man I had nearly voted, in 1948, for the third party candidate whose name I'd forgotten but he had been Secretary of Agriculture, the response was "Henry Wallace, I'm just reading a book about him." That kind of afternoon, that kind of crowd.
The older Victorian section of the cemetery is all glacial mounds and dips, big old trees, wonderful fall colors. Wish I'd taken the camera. And --
an amazing spontaneous gathering, thousands of people in a two-hour waiting line carrying flowers, flags, little girls and "I VOTED" stickers to the modest gravestone of Susan B. Anthony, the suffragette leader who went on trial in 1872 because she had registered and voted.
I believe the web site Anna sent is a morning feed,
but when I left the cemetery gates at 6pm, more cars were pulling in. The city? the cemetery? someone? was firing up floodlights at the grave site, and folks were getting flashlights out of their cars.
After all the stress of the past few months, I'd pretty much forgotten there could still exist so many patient smiling happy people.
It was wonderful.
.*No period after the S, it was "S for nothing."
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
So here's the box that appears in the southeast corner of my screen. If I sign off and re-boot, it's still there. There's no X to delete it.
It's against my principles to click on any invitation -- but then again, it doesn't have any misspelling or grammatical errors ... maybe it's for real?
Your attention to this matter will be much appreciated.