Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lest auld acquaintance be forgot

Yesterday I got to lunch with the high school friends I blogged about on Feb 6. We chatted and, since they were together quite a bit and knew each other's stories, I got to hear quick recaps of their lives and families. In turn, I shared mine. We even found mutual friends who had nothing to do with our high school. (How many degrees of separation is that?) Another classmate wandered over to the table and talk was of planning a reunion, since none of us could remember such in the last 25 years. No one, it seems, wants to be in charge. This is a familiar story and could quite easily explain why it's been so long.

Almost without blinking, an hour and a half was gone! Now to keep it from being another 25 years.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Red Hat R. I. P.?

I've never given much thought to the Red Hat Society, the social organization for women over 50, even though I, uh, might be eligible for membership. (Quit laughing.) Red hats--beautiful red hats--are worn at their functions and when they just get together for fun. The website is full of information.

But I was at a Goodwill store yesterday and there, behind the counter where they could be displayed to full advantage, were six red hats. Some had purple feathers (the other favorite color of the group), and some not. They were fancy and plain. And I stopped and wondered: What happened to their owners? Did they trade up to better hats and yet donate these instead of passing them along to another? Did they get tired of or disillusioned with the organization and quit? Did they die?

I'll never know, but then, I haven't stopped pondering about those six lonely red hats, either.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


While I have lamented the state quarter game being over, and rejoiced that a new game, called 'four new penny designs', was starting, I have yet to see the latter. Apparently, I'm not alone in my chagrin.

So, just when I was about to stop looking for anything new altogether, I see the sign in the bank drive-through window: We have new District of Columbia quarters.

Say what? You mean, there's more?

Yes, indeed! Six of them, DC and the territories. That should be one every two months.

Let the games begin again!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009


The last three hotels we've stayed in have not given us the promised wonderful night's sleep. It wasn't the pillows, as I take my own, nor the comfort of the mattress, all of which were just fine. No, it was the lack of a blanket.

American hotels have top sheets, but then there's that thick bedspread/duvet/comforter. And that's it! It's too hot! We set the room temp to be cool, snuggle down, and pretty soon we kick the cover. Get cold. Wake up and hunt for it. At one fancy hotel, I pulled the lovely comforter off the bed and went hunting for the bedspread the maid had carefully folded and placed in the closet. I've no idea what she thought of us. Country come to town, no doubt. And of course she'd be right.

Trip before last to England, I noticed there were no top sheets, so on the last trip we made, I packed one. Which was a good thing, because the B&B didn't provide. I guess I'm just going to have to start packing my own quilt, too.

Hmmm.... I wonder, since we're used to sleeping with the cats....?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I know Lucille's in Heaven because she surely didn't want to see this

When we moved into this house nearly 30 years ago, we had a back neighbor named Lucille. She was in her early 70s, just moved into town from the family farm. I don't know if the move was her idea or that of her children who desired her to not be out in the country any more, but she--and the tractor in her back yard--were our nearest neighbors, separated only by a gravel driveway, the edge of which we shared.

We looked at her; she looked at us with the two kids and the two dogs and the aging pick-up, and I don't know that either of us were pleased. Her peace had just been disturbed; we thought we'd moved next to the type of neighbor who kept a tractor in her back yard.

We maintained an uneasy, but not unfriendly, peace. We were new homeowners. Despite the fact that interim owners had remodeled, the place hadn't been lived in in years and the yard was shameful. To be quite honest, we struggled, both inside and out, but specifically, outside.

All this time, we would note Lucille watching us from her windows. Finally she could stand our incompetence no more. One Saturday afternoon, she had had enough of it. I'll never forget the slam of her screen door as she shuffled across the gravel, some tool in her hand. "What you two need," she declared, "is a grandmother."

We fell in love. She was the most wonderful neighbor, taking pity upon us time and time again. She delighted in the boys, tried to teach me to paint, both in oils and on china, but my talent was not in this quarter. Still, I enjoyed our time together. She died in 1991, just shy of her 84th birthday. We were heartbroken.

Shortly before her death, she shared her view of Heaven and Hell with me. If you went to Heaven, you'd not have to know what your children and friends were up to on earth. You wouldn't see their pains and problems. However, go to Hell, and you'd know it all.

I was reminded of this--and desperately in need of a grandmother's ideas--last Sunday morning when we struggled in the predawn light (Daylight Savings began) with a recalcitrant riding mower. In what turned out to be a freak turn of safety-switch events, not only would the battery not turn over, but the left rear wheel was locked. Therefore, we couldn't roll it onto the trailer to take it to the repair shop. We had to winch it on. Keep in mind, it was sliding, not rolling. Halfway up the tailgate of the trailer, I had to get on, so it wouldn't pop over. Then we'd have to shorten/lengthen the chain attached to the winch. We did this several times. Finally, we had it captured.

Somewhere in the middle of it, when I was wishing for a quicker solution than the two or three we were devising, I thought about Lucille. Part of me wanted her to be having a good laugh at all this, watching us from behind the blinds in the house we now own. But since I know this good woman is in Heaven, I'll just have to share it with her when I get there.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Duchess defends her territory

As recounted before, backyard calico cat Duchess has to have a male escort. Never mind she is no longer in the kitten business, she likes companionship. As such, she and backyard orange tabby Sam are friends. But Sam is a very friendly boy. He'd rather I scratched between his ears and rubbed his back than eat.

So yesterday morning when were completing this little ritual of me being encircled by "starving" cats as I was putting out their food, I was scratching and rubbing Sam as well. He was purring and, since he was quite sure where his next meal was coming from, he was in no hurry to eat. All of a sudden, my hand is tapped. By Duchess! She had had quite enough of my making over "her man", thank you very much. It was time for me to quit! Her claws were sheathed but there was a look of seriousness in her eyes. She seemed to be saying, "Leave him alone, sister!"

And since she's packing heat in the shape of finely honed claws, I did just that. Sam's disappointment didn't last long, as I went inside, and he went to eating beside Duchess.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Bird feeder delight!

For 20 years or more we've had a bird feeder attached to our breakfast area window. It's been a source of delight as both the cats and the people in the house have honed their observation skills. But over the last few years, the visitors have dwindled to the ho-hum same ol', same ol'. While always welcome, the cardinals, titmice, Carolina chickadees, house finch, and weaver finch (commonly known here as sparrows although they aren't), have become so common that we no longer pay attention. While we've had more glamorous visitors in the past, I feared we'd lost our touch. Only squirrels paid us much more than an glance.

Then, yesterday, something flashed. Something gold. And fast. And small. Could it be a goldfinch? We hadn't seen one in at least 10 years. My friends had flocks of them so I knew they hadn't deserted the area. So, eyes glued to the window (not a pretty picture, but you know what I mean), I set to watching.

Yes, goldfinch. And... someone else. Someone I hadn't seen in a long time and rarely then. I think, a white-throated sparrow. I've yet to get a solid look because he seems to be in the bushes and not on the feeder. And then... one more! A downy woodpecker has graced us. I didn't realize they would frequent feeders, but the books say so. And we know books are never wrong, right?

Just delighted with all the new and old feathered friends. I'm not questioning why they've decided to grace us with their presence, but I'm glad they have.

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