Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Irene, Unwelcome Guest:

The flooding rain wasn’t bad enough. The high winds took an additional toll. The storm damage came further inland than first thought.

First, I am thankful that we are safe and unharmed. (At last count forty dead and countless injured.)

Second, We now have electricity after over a day and a half of none. And the phone is back now too. (Many others will have no electric for days to come. And then there are the ones who lost their homes.)

Third, Not one of all the trees that came down hit our house or car.

Fourth, the large pumpkins themselves are undamaged, but they will not be growing any further as their vines and leaves have been.

As to the over all damage:

We lost most of the garden. The corn is flat, the tomatoes all dropped from the plants. More than half of the apples and pears have dropped from the trees. A lot of the leaves left on the plants still alive, like the lettuce, have been shredded.

One of the two flattened corn crops.

Some of the many tomatoes we picked up off of the ground.

Most of the food that was in the refrigerator needed to be thrown out. In our 20+ cubic foot chest freezer, the top third of all in it started to thaw out. And some of that completely thawed.

It took almost two days for the birds to come back, but the amount of dead ones found after it was all over was a bit unsettling. (Broken necks, wings or both.) There were also an amount of drowned rodents. Pockets of the smell of death hang about in spots in the woods presumably drowned in their dens underground.

The house lost some shingles from the roof. The wind driven rain came in, under and around through the cracks around the windows and doors. The gutters and down spouts will have to be re-hung.

We are spending every moment we can processing and canning as much of the garden goods as possible to recoup what we can.

After that we have a lot of outside clean up to do.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Ready for Irene:

Ditches are dug, hatches are battened. Water is jugged, batteries are fresh, knitting is on standby, jigsaw puzzles are waiting to be pieced together.

We are ready for a blow!

Mountain Man stopped at a yard sale yesterday and got me a multi puzzle box. Eleven jigsaw puzzles; 2-1000 piece, 3-750 piece, and 6-500 piece of scenes from around the world.

All but one of the puzzle packets have never been opened, so I won’t have to guess about missing pieces as I make my way through the box.

I hope that all in the way of this storm are safe and healthy and stay so until all is over and all are back home and on line once again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

On Pumpkin Head Moments:

Really a Grandma moment, but I digress.

I have here a picture of one of our three large pumpkins. The wall is about hip high on me. So the pumpkin is about knee high.

And the pumpkin has grown since I took this picture a few weeks ago.

It was decided back in the Spring that we would try to grow a pumpkin large enough for the grandkid to fit into by his first birthday.

Now the grandkid will be a year old in October.

The trick will be to keep the pumpkin alive and growing through the expected storm, so that when the grandkid comes to visit around about his birthday, we can carve it out and sit him inside.

I now have the need to knit pumpkin hats for all involved.

Where did I stash my orange yarn?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Blustery Play Day:

So yesterdays east coast earth quake came and went with little damage, and none to human life, it did shake up a lot of folk.

Now we are looking Hurricane Irene in the face. The air is wild and brisk today. Not cold exactly, but fresh and cool.

I love wild blustery windy days. The kind of wind that comes and goes in all directions seemingly at once. The wind turns the leaves on the trees upside down with a steady hiss as the leaves brush against each other.

These winds are not kind to bumbershoots (Umbrellas or parasols.) or lacey fairy wings and tend to tangle your long skirts and petticoats around your legs. Lifting leaves or papers and things off the ground and throw them about. But still I love them.

They stir me up and give me energy. I want to break out in a run and make loud noises. I feel like I’m chasing and being chased all at once.

I don’t expect to see fairies or even small animals in the woods on days like this. Whorl winds of debris dance about and die in clearings. As children we would chase them, trying to jump into the center and fly away. They were never strong enough for that, but we were children and endlessly hopeful.

When we were older children we thought about gliders and other Icarus type contraptions on blustery days. Running and jumping into the wind with large pieces of cardboard in tow were the game then.

Winds like this are usually followed by rain and lots of it. And tomorrow that is the forecast.

Today it is just such a blustery day. I should be hanging laundry on the clothes line and airing out things for the winter months catching this fresh smell for those months to come. But all I want to do is to take a bed sheet by the corners, go outside and play with the wind.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Shake Me:

Well, I was going to talk about something else, but I’ll leave that for another day.

The news, ‘small’ as it is, is that we had an earth quake.

Mind you it was some three hundred plus miles away. We felt it here in Northeaster Pennsylvania. (5.9 in Mineral, Virginia.)

I was playing a video game on the computer this afternoon. The house started to shake and my computer screen started to sway. The roof was making odd creaking noises and I felt like I was swaying in my chair. There are now cracks in the ceiling plaster of my house.

The thing about my area of the USA is that a lot of it has old coal mines under it. They evacuated all tall and older buildings and told us all to look out for sink holes and mine subsidence in the hours and days to come. Thankfully no mines are directly under our house.

And there are also nuclear power plants that shut down because of it. Checked out, and restarted.

Also we have more bridges in Pennsylvania than any other state, and they all have to be checked for cracks or failings. I can’t get off my mountain without crossing a half a dozen bridges in any direction.

We will have to monitor the water from our well for a few days also.

The funny thing is that my family members who live closer to the quake center felt it less than we did.

We are fine here. Mountain Man’s stone walls didn’t move fraction of an inch. And no brick-a-brack was lost in the shaking. So all in all a fun time was had by all. Shank me again right down to my big black boots.

Monday, August 22, 2011

On Hopes that Come With Autumn:

As a school aged child the coming of Autumn has always brought a feeling of anticipation for me.

Not just the new school year, learning new things, new cloths, new books, new classes. This was the anticipation of new classmates.

Almost every year brought new families into town. New kids would arrive on the first day of school.

And I always harbored the hope that one day, one of them would be like me, be ‘my’ friend, like me for who I was.

There were times that things looked almost like they might fall into place. But alas it was not to be. The new kid would only humor me until they figured out the lay of the land. Than they would play up to the popular group in hopes of gaining higher status.

I was always left alone, friendless again by Thanksgiving time in late November.

Despite the yearly let down, I never lost that hope. Some day, a friend would come into my circle and like me for who I was, and not for what they could gain from association with me. Jobs held that same allure of possible friendships.

My divorce had its added blow of learning that not one of my so called friends wanted to keep that friendship. And I was told outright that the only reason I was tolerated was because of my husbands standing in the community.

I did find Mountain Man and though he is not a kindred spirit, he does tolerate it well for the most part.

All that aside, I find myself looking out the window these days and hoping for a kindred friend to come my way. Just because Autumn is coming.

On A New Story:

Hi everyone. I have posted a new story called "The Redneck's Car" on my Thrill or Shiver story blog page.

Let me know if you liked it. Or even if it needs something. I'm open to learning how to make my stories better.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

On Back on the Trail:

Or should that be winged horse?

Anyway, I was tired and slow because I was getting sick. I got a nasty sinus infection complete with migraine headache.

I’m well now and back in the pink. That should be black and purple really? I don’t do pink. I'm feeling thankful that I'm well again.

I have traded in my medium sized, neon green wings with black trim for my bat black and silver set this week. The black are a bit larger than the green so I’ll have to be a little more careful when doing house work. My purple set are my biggest wings and I only use them for play.

I also have three small, child size, sets of wings that I use when I’m really busy or only need a small lift. And my branch and leaf wings are for walks in the woods and looking for woodland fairies.

It has been a bit cooler this past week around here. The summer is starting to get that look about it that it gets when summer is on the decline. The smell of the air in the mornings have a hint of autumn. And the evenings have traded fireflies for katydids.

I’m looking forward to Autumn as usual. My favorite time of year. I’m getting revitalized just thinking about it. Harvest, color, nesting, sweaters, longer nights and shorter days. The woods open up and show their secrets when they drop their leaves. The skies have more gray days. The crisp chill that makes you feel alone and the need to hug yourself even on a crowded street.

Well, I’m off to work on the story I was writing when I was interrupted by being sick. I’ll have to see if it is worth anything or if it was just a sick crazed mess. But either way I’ll try to post a new story on my writing blog sometime soon.

Edit: For a look at some really huge wings, take a peek at Travel, Fiber and Threads blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On Slowing Down?:

I don’t know how I use to get anything done.

Once I had more than enough time in my days.

My house was cleaner. My life had more time in it for fun, games and the internet. I wrote stories, made dolls and all their stuff, (Houses included.) played video games, took care of two dogs, baked, cooked, canned, gardened, visited friends and was visited by them, I sewed clothing, knitted, made lace, and crafted.

Yes, I know I have a puppy in the house. But I don’t spend all my time throwing a ball across the floor.

In fact the dog spends a good deal of time outside following Mountain Man around in the woods.

I used to take care of two sick old dogs, 24/7 before the puppy and still get more done in my days.

We hardly go anywhere any more, none of the old friends come to visit, Even family doesn’t get around as much these days.

And still I’m not keeping up with my chores like I once did, I owe my brother a phone call for three, no four, weeks now.

I tell myself that I’ll call or get on the computer as soon as I’m done with the chore at hand. But I move on to the next thing that needs doing and I look at the clock and the day is gone. I’m crawling into bed and telling myself tomorrow I‘ll blog.

I sure hope it’s the summer blahs and not just old age slowing me down. I have a lot of things I want to do!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Not too Busy to Blog a Few Time a Week:

Well, I’m taking a few moments out of my busy days to blog.

I’ve knitted half a sweater, made five gallons of lentil soup and 2 quarts of sour apple preserves and canned it all for the winter months. I’ve cleaned out a chest of drawers. Lost a pound. Weeded in the garden. Read a book, fiction, fantasy, just for fun. I did play a few video games also.

I’ve been organizing photos, both old and new. Needed for requests from my daughter. Now that she is a mommy she wants her own copies of her childhood photos and her child’s ‘grandma’s house’ for the kiddy.

I’ve been airing blankets and feather beds. Patched holes in the walls from moved picture hangings. Sewing split seams, missing buttons, patching holes in work clothes, and making doll clothing for grandkid’s snuggly baby toy. (He would have to fall in love with a naked doll at a second hand sale that he won‘t sleep without.)

I’ve also been watching a lot of old TV re-runs while I work. Listening while I work is more to the point. Did I really sit in true belief, watching them for the first time as a kid? Westerns, Burns and Allen, Dennis the Menace, army/navy comedy shows. All in Black and White.

Was I a gullible child or just a bit too innocent back then? Or did I just want to believe that there where ever so many different paths out there for me to choose from? And all of them, though not free if troubles, all troubles could be handled in an hour at the most. (That was unless you fell in love with the leading player. Then you were doomed.)

I wore my green fairy wings one day because the breeze made me feel like flying when I hung the laundry on the cloths line. Funny how wearing wings make the house work lighter.

I’m wanting to write a few stories if I can find the time to sit at the computer long enough. I took notes of story lines that I came to me while I was away. But most of them are book length and I’m feeling short storyish since I came home. Too busy for more at the moment I guess.

That’s it for now. Gotta’ get back to cooking dinner.

Monday, August 8, 2011

On Vacation Timing:

I’ve been busy. More than usual for this time of year. Missing a month or more of a part of my year set me back.

I remember August as a kid. My father always took his vacations in August, so that is when we went. It was the time of year to do day trips, or camping, swimming, and not doing the normal everyday things in life.

When I was the mommy, I’d make our vacation plans for August.

But this year I don’t have a day to spare.

Gardening, harvesting, canning, home repair, visiting relatives for work/repair days at their homes, volunteering, meetings, wood gathering, wood splitting, wood stacking and getting things ready in and outside of the house for winter.

Over scheduling! Calendar Full!

I’m just glad I don’t have kids to get ready for school.

Yes, I know that I can do some of those things next month if I choose to. But next month has its own things to do. So this month I try to catch up so when September comes I’m ready.

I’d rather not procrastinate. I sat for too long last month. Now I want to get things done. No vacation time, but I don’t mind now that I’m back home.

Friday, August 5, 2011

On What I Learned While On My Forced Quiet Time:

Well, I could have just brooded about my situation while being stuck in Nowhere’s Ville, Normal Town, USA.

But I chose a better route. I looked within and found some things that I had been missing. I generally don’t do good with too much time to think. I can work myself up to a panic if I let myself.

I watched the trees in the breeze and found faces.

I hadn’t done that since I was a kid. Its kinda’ like those puzzles where you find the hidden pictures in the larger picture. (Find the hidden cup, bat, phone, and dog.)

I found baby faces, old faces, lady faces, man faces. Faces that looked like they were talking to each other and faces that looked like they were talking to me.

It was like having my own group of friends come to see how I was doing, while I sat quietly waiting for the woman I was helping to finish napping.

I would think up conversations for them. The old fisherman with a beard would say, ‘How’s the day been treating you?’ And the Lady with a hat would answer, ‘Middlin’ good. Just like my friend watch us out that window down there.’ The baby would just smile away.

The older woman, in the next tree over, asked me questions about my self growth. How are you feeling about your life path these days? Are you good with your God? What do you want to accomplish in yourself before you get home? Having busy work doesn’t make you accomplished, does it? (Along with others.)

All good questions and I was glad for the time to listen and think on them.

No panic, no self doubt, no self incrimination. Only finding parts of me that I had lost. Gaining perspective. I’m a better, healthier person for doing it.

I also found some silly parts of me that I just stopped having fun with a long time ago. And you know what? It helps me be a better grandma now that I’ve found them again.

So I didn’t have a half bad time will I was away. And I got some really good self learning in while I was at it. Better stuff than money can buy if you ask me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On Hats:

I missed the ‘Hat’ thing that a lot of you were doing on the first of the month. So here is a belated hat picture of one of mine.

I have more hats, but they will have to wait for another day. My camera is on the fritz and I had to dig through my pictures for this one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On 'Helping' Others:

Although I like to help others, I’m no saint. I did go with an eye toward my own comforts and considerations. She had a nice comfortable bed for me in the corner of a home office room. And the paycheck was going to help out. So I packed mostly just my vanilla/normal clothing to work in someone else‘s home for their comfort.

I was once a nurses aid, in three different nursing homes no less, back in the day. So I knew what to expect on the whole. I also knew that this person did not have all the funds or insurance coverage to go into temporary nursing care or be able to take care of herself at home for that time, even with a visiting nurse.

I was ‘hired’ to make and server meals, do a little ‘light’ house cleaning and the personal care and cleaning of this woman until she could resume doing these things for herself again. And I was not offered a large figure for doing this.

She had no computer, DVD player or even a TV, only a radio and some cassette tapes of general oldies pop music. Books of Christian novels. And an anti social cat.

She thought she could rent a computer for me and had no idea that it needed to be plugged into an internet hookup of some kind. (And since Gladys, my laptop computer, died with a thump to the head on the floor one day. I was without my laptop to play with, have my own music, or write on.) And frankly I was hoping that the paycheck would go some way toward buying me new one.

Don’t get me wrong here. I would have helped her without the promise of money. I just would have been happier knowing I was doing it from a point of giving and not as a job. I might have also seen to my own comforts a bit more. And I would have resented the extra time spent there a little less.

She was a light sleeper and I would stare quietly out the window for hours so she would not be disturbed by my leaving the room, for example.

You all know how it is. There are things you would do for money that you wouldn’t do else wise. Or at least you would have a different attitude about it. That was my dilemma after the first few weeks when I realized she couldn‘t pay all her bill much less pay me.

I would have been happy to wash her floors on my hands and knees for nothing given the choice. But to do it for cash and getting none, hurt me more then I’d like to admit.

She is a sweet old thing and I liked caring for her. (It was my choice to leave without serving her a bill for moneys owed. Knowing she didn‘t have it.) But I would have packed some more of my Lady Euphoria clothing and makeup, and been more comfortable in my own skin knowing the outcome.

Monday, August 1, 2011

On Glad To Be Back:

Well, as some things in life pull you around, I was AWOL.

A family friend suddenly needed someone to take care of her after an operation. I was to be paid and told that I would have internet access. None of that came to be.

This family friend wanted to do these things for me, but couldn’t manage it with her meager finances. I didn’t press it. She didn’t heal as fast as expected and time wore on.

I was glad to help, and it was a nice place to spend time in under the circumstances. I did a lot of reading, knitting, and got to see Mountain Man at times, but not much more for myself.

She is doing well now. I’m home and here to say that I missed you all a lot.

I did make a pit stop at my daughter’s house and played a few days with the grandson. He is doing well and is a very happy little boy.

I hope not to have to go anywhere for a while. I’m happy to sleep in my own bed, play with my own toys and hear my own music again. Not to mention eat my own food made the way I like it.

I hope that all is well with all of you. I’ll look in on the blogs of those who have them when I get the time. But know that I was thinking of you even if you don’t have a blog I can read.

Happy day! I’m glad to be back home.