Apr. 25th, 2016 09:26 pm
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Jack-in-the-pulpit in the Van Dyke Preserve, one of a bunch of small nature preserves in the area.

four more )


Apr. 23rd, 2016 10:12 pm
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I spent a lovely ten minutes watching this muskrat swim and nibble tonight.

Read more )


Apr. 18th, 2016 10:22 pm
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shagbark hickory

A lovely curl of shagbark hickory bark

Five more )


Mar. 28th, 2016 09:37 pm
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Barn on wheels! Tomorrow this HUGE historic barn will be rolled about 1/4 mile, across a state highway, to a new home.

four more-- last one is a bee (you've been warned) )
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Tonight a dinner guest and I spent a pleasant hour browsing through the recipe boxes which belonged to my two grandmothers-- two women of very different social circles [though both white and of European origin], but both from Southwest Ohio, and probably accumulating recipes from about 1925 to 1960. We were startled to find that both boxes contained quite a few recipes for mangoes! So likely my parents both grew up eating mangoes, and yet I'm pretty sure I tasted my first when I was in my 30s.

A quick search of the internet reveals an effort to grow them, beginning in the late 1800s, in both Florida and California, but nothing about a decline in the mid 20th century, which my anecdotal evidence might indicate.

Anyone have any other anecdotes, stories, information to satisfy my curiousity?


Mar. 20th, 2016 09:50 pm
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An old garage in Millerton, NY. Somehow the shapes and colors please me.


First day of spring... that's ice, not water.


Mar. 18th, 2016 10:30 pm
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The first tiny flowers in our yard. We are looking forward to finding out what else there is!

three more )


Mar. 15th, 2016 09:15 pm
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I recently made a quick trip to Vermont, and was delighted to see some Bohemian Waxwings.

Read more )
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Both of the large malls here have Dead Sea Minerals kiosks. The salesmen are nearly all young men, dark haired (I've seen one woman and one blond man), and all speak with an accent (so I assume it's faked). Their sales technique goes like this: as a woman or group of women approach, the young man steps towards them, partly in front of them, and offers a sample of hand cream. If ones says no, they say (in that 'sexy' accent), "May I ask you a question?" If you don't continue away strongly, they'll ask some flattering question about some item of your clothing ("Where did you get those cute boots?"). They are so pushy that I generally work hard to avoid them-- swerve as far away from the kiosk as possible, avoid eye contact, say 'no' and keep walking.

Today I finally had had enough. I walked past the booth as I would any other, and when the salesman approached, I smiled and said "Really, aren't you embarrassed....." I intended to finish with "to be earning money by harassing women?" But he immediately broke eye contact, stepped out of my way, and muttered "Have a nice day, ma'am." I have found my new approach.
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The worst moments are when I come home... Felix used to come to meet me.

For the first couple of days, Oscar would walk around the house calling, and then curl up in his usual place on my husband's chair. Yesterday and today, he still searches, but then comes to my lap instead. He also is discovering the pleasures of being an only cat, after always being a subordinate in a multi-cat household. He gets all the food and treats, all the available laps; he can even play without another cat interfering, though he is so stiff with arthritis that it's very restrained play. He is even 'talking' to me more, as he discovers that he can 'ask' for food or fresh water and I'll respond; he has always just followed along when Felix asked, before. Oscar is much more my daughter's cat, but I do love him and he's a comfort right now.

RIP Felix

Feb. 8th, 2016 11:43 am
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Treatments beginning in November were a blessing; for his last three months Felix was able to eat nearly anything he wanted with no ill effects. But his latest shot last week had almost no effect, and by Saturday I knew he was done.

I have had many cats, but he's only the third who was especially mine, and I don't think I've ever been so bonded with a cat; this is pretty awful. We will have just Oscar for a few months, until Laura and Nala move back in (we will likely be keeping Nala while Laura is in college). If Oscar is miserable we'll consider another cat, but I think he'll enjoy getting all the attention and treats for a while.


Jan. 26th, 2016 08:26 pm
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I was walking today when I realized there was something pretty large sitting on a bluebird house- a northern harrier!

Three more )
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I have a very gently used copy of Traditions that I don't intend to keep. Would any of my friends like it for the cost of shipping?


Jan. 11th, 2016 05:43 pm
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A year ago I wasn't sewing at all-- feeling very constrained by the tiny corner available for sewing in our little apartment. Sewing is good for me emotionally so I finally decided to start a small project, sewing on my desk and ironing on a kitchen counter. I made nine blocks and even got them put together with sashing, and then we began the frenzy of moving. Once we were settled I pulled the project out in my new sewing room. I've been wanting to do something with an elaborate border, and found a nifty strip-pieced diamond border that I posted months ago... and then I stalled again, because clearly it needed to be mitered with points touching, and I had never done a mitered border!

So I decided that in January I would/will sew at least a little bit until it's done. I've stuck to that except for the two days I was gone, even if I only sewed one seam. A couple of times that has meant sewing a seam, realizing it was askew, picking it out and stopping for the day! Today things finally clicked, and I did the last three mitered corners. I am really proud of that border! I'll keep up the daily sewing, but it's all downhill from here-- stacking, pinning, quilting and then binding, all easy. (And then it will be donated, or sold so I can donate the money.)

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Saturday night my cell phone rang, and the screen said it was Mary, one of my best friends in Vermont. When I answered, though, it was her lovely college-age daughter Sarah. Sarah told me that her grandmother was dying; Mary had asked her to call me and ask me to play for the funeral. I said yes, of course.

Sunday morning Sarah texted me that her grandmother had in fact died during the night. This morning I drove up to Vermont, and practiced for 2 hours; the funeral is tomorrow morning. While it is a sad occasion, it is also a chance to see my daughter and many friends, and I'm enjoying the time away from home.

What is really amazing, though, is just making music on a wonderful instrument in a wonderful acoustic. I'm thinking of planning a day to come up here and just play- a mini music retreat.

It's an especially good thing I came in today. No one had noticed that someone had accidentally turned off the heat in the sanctuary, and it's going down to zero tonight.
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I see I've posted almost no content this month, so some updates are in order.

My last significant post was about Felix's health issues, so good news first: he has made some small recovery, and is at least stable for the moment. He's had two steroid shots, and the vet recommended food specifically formulated to stop diarrhea. It worked too well, and he ended up terribly constipated; we are carefully adding in some treats, and seem to be reaching a good balance. If nothing else, it is lovely to be able to give my boy some treats without making him ill! He is especially happy to get a spoonful of spaghetti sauce twice a day, and the vet is happy that he's taking in some extra potassium.

Most of the reason I've been quiet has been, well, December for a church musician. Christmas Eve services, of course, and a children's pageant; and this year I gave in to the handbell director's plea for a Sunday of special music for handbells and choir, as well. Tons of fun but also tons of work! Everything went very well, including my little piano student's debut performance.

I'm afraid all the hugs and handshakes after the special performances were a bit too challenging for my immune system, along with the stress and heavy schedule. I didn't feel well after the bells/choir day; felt even worse after the pageant; and ended up profoundly ill Christmas night. Two days later I am full of seemingly boundless energy, so all's well now.

A month ago I realized that David was complaining about inability to focus with the eye that had the retina surgery, and remembered that there was a danger of cataract after that. Sure enough, he's got a whopping cataract in that eye-- until tomorrow morning.

The kid is on pins and needles right now. She has applied to go back to college! If it works out she'll do a second bachelors, in ASL interpretation. It should be only a 2 year program. Hopefully she'll get her acceptance next week and then we'll wait to hear what kind of finance package she gets. Please send good thoughts her way; this is a big step for her, and I think a very good one.

Still love the house. It was great to get all my Christmas decorations out after a year in storage! I'm told the little children across the street say goodnight to my Christmas tree (in our front window) every night.


Dec. 12th, 2015 09:54 pm
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Pileated woodpecker beside the church parking lot.

Four more )
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"The victims don't need your prayers." I've been seeing that on FaceBook a lot this week. I'm hurt and angry, but I know better than to respond there, so here I am.

Yes, I am praying for the victims and families, and for an end to gun violence. I also have written to my US Representative and both Senators; regularly donate to an anti-violence group; and am watching for local demonstrations I can attend in support of true gun control. I'd love to know what each person posting "the victims don't need your prayers" has done besides posting intolerance and judgment of other people.

And if they mean "politicians should shut up about their prayers and DO something"-- well, that's not what they said, and they are responsible for what they actually said.


Nov. 30th, 2015 08:53 pm
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Yet another deer pic. This one, however, is not cropped, and just barely zoomed-- she was only about 30 feet away. And though she was very alert, I was able to quietly walk past without causing her to bolt. Saw three other deer later in my walk, and a rather late blue heron-- the ponds are beginning to freeze.
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Felix has had some rough times lately. He's been moved twice in 18 months, and lost sister-cat Gypsy just a couple of months ago. He's always had a finicky stomach, and has had increasing episodes of diarrhea and vomiting, and lost a lot of weight. A vet visit last summer gave us some good advice that helped him along for a year, but he took a worse turn the last couple of weeks, so off we went to a new vet.

The bad news is that he has low-grade kidney failure, and because of his finicky digestion we really can't treat it. But that generally moves slowly; and meanwhile the new vet had some much more effective suggestions. He got a steroid shot while in the office, and came home with new food, both canned and dry, specifically designed for cats with frequent diarrhea. Given how serious his condition is, the vet said to switch immediately, no gradual transition. He ate and ate and ate for 6 hours, and none of it came back out precipitously, and then he (and I) slept through the night for the first time in months. Today he is a bit subdued, but calm and relaxed and still very happy with the new food. And I am very relieved to see him comfortable and content, though sad about what is to come. But he's 16, after all; and I hope to have him with me for months or maybe even another year or two.


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