Lead off this week …Capture 2

 

If  you saw this banner on the blog in the past …

ignore it. We have no idea where the “ad” came from or why, and are working to make sure it is gone and stays gone.

Interesting that someone thought we would be interested in klonopin or cialis and post links which go no where.

 

Oh well …

~~~

Another weird happening last week was the apparent presence of borrowers, or possibly ghosts, in the house … specifically in computers. Three times I have turned off my computer only to have it turn back on later.

Once I turned it off after a final check of email and went to bed. I woke up around 2330 realizing there was a light shining when there should be no light. I got out of bed and found my computer blazing away.

A couple of days later, I turned off the computer after working on the minutes for the amateur radio club meeting and went downstairs. Within a hour, it had turned back on.

Sunday evening, just before Downton Abbey … it happened again.

And yesterday, George’s computer got involved.

It will no longer surprise me when it happens.

~~~

Health Report (in response to queries) …

George’s ear is fine. The surface scab over the area which had been frozen (to remove the keritosis) dropped off and the skin under it is clear.

George's Eye

 

George’s eyes are an ongoing concern. We saw the retinologist again last monday. George wound up with another black eye from the lidocaine injection preceding the laser treatment on the 17th. But the sight in his right eye has improved a bit. Next appointment will be 12 March.

 

And me ??? No further cardiac or gastric symptoms. Arthritis still an on-and-off event. Middle finger on my left hand is taking on more and more of an angle. I can still spin and knit and what can you expect at my age?

Thanks for asking. How are you?

~~~

While in Oregon, we shopped at the restaurant supply store. I get some items in the large economy size …Gallon Jugs

                                  sauerkraut, pickle relish, and rooster sauce.

~~~

From personal experience, I know that nurses are not always neat and clean, seated at a desk smiling. Most of them work hard … at hard tasks.

How many people are routinely asked to lift or move people weighing up to three times their own weight … on and off bedpans, toilets, x-ray tables, and operating tables … into and out of wheel chairs, gurneys, and beds … ?

I once had to deal with a woman who was so big it took meat hooks to lift her abdominal apron off her legs. She weighed more than 500 pounds. We had to take her, in her bed, down to the basement and use the freight scale in order to weigh her.

No wonder back and leg injuries are high on the list of troubles nurses have.

And now some hospitals are saying those are not work related injuries ???

~~~

We have new tenants … a pair of owls.

George discovered one first in trees to the northwest of the house. Then I heard it off to the southwest the following evening.

The next evening, as I went out to collect eggs and tuck in the ladies, I heard it off to the northeast of the barn … except there were two of them. Really interesting. Two voices in two registers … one soprano-tenor and one mezzo-baritone. They even sing two different riffs.

Maybe they will nest here and we will eventually get to see them. In the meantime, we will enjoy the sounds.

~~~

I  have decided to go back to wearing aprons.

I used to wear them all the time. When I was a 50s/60s housewife I had solid colour dresses with four or five patterned aprons in the same colour. That way I could wear the same dress most of the week and a different apron every day so I always looked fresh.

Over the years, here on the farm, I stopped wearing dresses and so the aprons went by the wayside as well.

Last week, while baking cookies, I found myself dusting off my hands on the sides of my pants and thought “That’s what aprons are for.”

I dug out some aprons which I had packed away, rather than given away, and started wearing them while doing kitchen work. Felt kind of good. Back to basics.

I may even get back to wearing dresses when working in the house with pants saved for garden work. That might mean I’ll need to start sewing again.

~~~

One day last week, there was a report on NPR about Iran and its bi-polar attitude toward the outer world … “Death to America” vs “We welcome you. Come visit.”

In the background of the interview, which was taking place in an outdoor tea room, was a guitar duo playing “Hotel California” (the Eagles’ hit). George and I were both laughing as we recalled the lyrics …

Last thing I remember,

I was running for the door.

I had to find the passage back

To the place I was before.

“Relax,” said the night man,

“We are programmed to receive.

You can check out any time you like,

But you just can never leave.”

~~~

A friend recently shared a photo of the Mountain taken from a plane by her relative, Maytal Abramson.

It is so lovely, I decided to share it with you …

Air View

~~~

It has been reported there are at least six people in the world who look exactly like you. There is a nine percent chance you’ll meet one of them in your lifetime.

Many years ago, when I was working as a bookkeeper-teller for the Bank of America in Manhattan Beach, I got to work one monday morning to be asked why I has snubbed a fellow employee the saturday night before. He was at the local movie theatre and swore I was too. Not …

But a bit ago, George and I found this photo of a Brit taken about 1945 …Jocelyn Hemming1949

 

Compare it with me at about the same time.Prom 1946

 

 

 

Who

 

And another time I saw this pic …

 

Compare it with my Daddy.Daddy 1946

 

 

It looked like my Dad, but was actually a Frenchman.

Weird …

~~~

It has gotten cold … down in the teens at night. I know that’s not COLD cold like they are having back east, and there is no moisture in it so no hope of snow. It just delays any outdoor work for three or four hours each morning.

25 February 2015

It is putting a kibosh on garden starts.

No snow … so we should be able to start the garden early. Then cold … so we have to wait.

The straw cover over the onion starts seems to be doing its job. The fruit trees aren’t yet coming into bloom. Potatoes are cut and drying, getting ready to plant. I need to get some straw bales. The fig tree is leafing out. And I will start seeds indoors in a week or so.

The rising sun has moved south of Black Butte and there is sun in the meadow by 0700. It is still light out after 1800.  Seems like a faster than normal change. Probably just due to my aging perception.

~~~

A truism to end the week …

 

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”                 ― Aldous Huxley

 

 

So, ’til next week …

 

 

 

 

 

  

After the excitement of last week, this turned out to be a fairly quiet week … in spite of friday the thirteenth.

~~~

Cactus

 

The white holiday cactus has decided to bloom again. It adds a bit of glory to an otherwise not-so-good winter.

 

 

We picked the last indoor tomato the first of the year. Did I already tell you that? The plant is still doing well, just no further tomato sets. If it continues to hang on, I’ll            re-replant it outdoors and maybe get a really early tomato set.

I recently found a post about growing herbs indoors in mason jars. Wouldn’t that be interesting.

~~~

Yesterday was the delayed trip to Oregon. It was a REALLY full day.

We left early …Dawn 17 Feb 2015

First stop was in Grants Pass for power system battery replacements. Two of the current array were dying of old age. And there is no sales tax in Oregon. (Seems I’ve said that before, but it came into mind as I typed … so …).

In addition to no tax, the owner gave George $5 off each battery because we had driven up from Weed. The distance cost about $10 in addition gasoline but each battery cost $30-40 less than in Medford. So (there’s that word again), that was about a $130 savings … and the drive along the Rogue was beautiful.

Grants Pass fog There was fog along the river highway,

Mt McLaughlin and an interesting view of Mt McLaughlin,

RR Bridge and of the arched bridge at the city of Rogue River …

Then back down to Medford (why do we always indicate south as down … probably northern hemisphere egocentric maps, right?). We made a couple of shopping stops (one at the restaurant supply store where I buy Rooster Sauce by the gallon), got gasoline at CostCo, and had dinner at the Sizzler.

We were a bit early for our appointment at the retinologist’s office. That’s when the fun began. It was about 1500.

As he checked for the efficacy of the previous laser treatment, the doctor discovered four other small tears around the retina edges (which he described as being at 12:30, 5:30. 9:15, and 4), one with a fluid leak (the one at 9:30). That meant another laser treatment. No problem, right? Wrong.

George was fourth in line. Three other patients also needed additional small repairs.

I asked the doctor what was happening and he said sometimes when a bad (i.e. medium or larger) tear is repaired, other smaller tears become visible. It was nothing to worry us.

We asked if there was a solitaire game on the computer on the desk so we could play while we waited. Rinkoff said sometimes he wished there was.

By the time George was prepped and in the correct room (after the three before him were finished), it was a bit after 1800. It was a long day for the staff as well. Some of the office help had left already. We teased about the doctor and staff missing dinner and he said they were having food delivered (but that was tongue in cheek).

We made the follow-up appointment and were out the door on our way home by 1830. It was already dark.

We were in the house and ready for bed by 2030, and due back for a further check-up next monday … this time in the morning.

Isn’t it interesting how life shakes things up to hold our attention?

~~~

I spent some time last weekend rearranging the 7-11 and discovered there are only 13 jars of Ruby’s left. Guess that means I’ll be doing at least three batches this coming year.

I’ll plant a dozen Amish Plum tomato plants in anticipation. Amish plums do better here than the Roma paste plums.

~~~

My mind seems to be doing a lot of daydreaming … wandering.

There was a news item last week which announced the Mayor of London was renouncing his American citizenship (he was born in New York to British parents) so he could run for Prime Minister. Made me think about the brouhaha over where Obama was born.

To become an American President, you must be born in the United States. Evidently all you need to become a Prime Minister in the United Kingdom is be a citizen.

That led me to wonder what would happen if the Speaker of the US House of Representatives was a naturalized citizen born outside the US and both the President and the Vice President were unable, for whatever reason(s), to perform their duties. I guess we’d have to hope the Secretary of State was native born.

Amazing where your mind can take you if you just let it go.

~~~

The onions are in, but we are scheduled to have below freezing temps for several nights. I’ll go out later today to add several inches of mulch over them.

Fig

 

 

The fig is sending out buds. A young friend in LA posted a picture of his fig buds … with leaves already. Oh well …

 

~~~

This morning a reporter on NPR described a countryside as resembling the covers on an unmade bed. Wow …

We don’t often get poetry with a news report.

Thank you, Steve Innskeep.

~~~

18 Feb 2015                                            Morning sun is coming earlier …

 

And finally, a thought for the week … 

We overlook so much happiness

because it costs nothing.

 

So … ’til next week …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog this week is late due to a full running creek loaded with debris which is causing a bit of a problem with power. But the solar panels have kicked in and so …

~~~

Last thursday we left home at 0440 and arrived at the Sacramento VA Medical Facility at 0945.

Predawn

 

 

We left before dawn.First Light

 

 

It was overcast of the way south.

Sunrise

 

Sunrise (near Shasta Buttes) was interesting,Moonset

 

as was the Moonset.

 

There was a lot to see,Rice Fields

 

but the only good (?) picture I got was of the rice fields.

 

We got lost in the city only once and recovered in less than ten minutes. And because we arrived at the VA facility a bit early, John was not waiting for us, but arrived very shortly. We found a parking place and the correct building easily.New Cap

George was wearing his new cap so folks would know we really belonged there.

George checked in early and was with the doctor early as well.

The dark, raised spot on his ear was what the doctor called a “horn”. He took it off (slowly and carefully) and smiled. The diagnosis was “not a sarcoma … merely an enlarged keritosis … senile keritosis with an ego problem”. He froze the underlying area so it shouldn’t reappear and we were out of there in less than fifteen minutes. Our experiences with the VA have all been exemplary (except for the lack of a dermatologist in the far north which made the trip to Sacramento a necessity) … but that had a good side since we got to spend the day with John.

However, the speed of care presented a problem. It was all done just a bit after ten. We had thought it would be a BIG production and our only plans for the rest of the day were for dinner between noon and one. 

John said Spring was official in Sacramento since the plum trees had burst into bloom just a day or two previously.Plum Blooms

Museum Logo

 

John is a docent at the California Railroad Museum, so guess where we spent the next two and a half hours.

 

Some of the things we saw were …Cross Rails

 

the method used to get trains across tracks at a right angle …

Cab Forward

 

the cab forward John loves …

 

Turntable

 

                                                             the round table …

 

Santa Fe

 

 

the lovely color and pattern of the Santa Fe logo …

 

Doll Houses

boxes in the refrigerator car which reminded me that my Daddy once worked in an orange box factory and that orange crates were my first doll houses …

 

Art 1

 

some rail spike sculptures …

 

Selfie

 

 

and as close as I’ll probably ever get to a selfie.

 

Our visit ended with getting gifts for the younger grandson at the Museum Shop (got to get him indoctrinated into railroad mania while he’s still young). One gift was a wooden train whistle. I got the one-tone whistle, not the four. His parents will forgive us.

Only distraction was my right hip. I was a gimp most of the day. It was unusual. I usually get around quite well. Guess the combination of not taking my pain pills and sitting for a four hour drive did it. Things were back to normal friday morning.

Dinner at the Perko’s just a block from the museum was good. Drawback? There were no vegetables with my French dip (so I ate a big helping friday).

Then John got us back onto I-5, waved as he peeled off to go home, and I walked in the backdoor at 1758.

Long day … up at 0315 … bed at 1954.

~~~

We didn’t make the planned trip to Oregon last monday. Life got in the way.

I’d been having trouble with what felt like gastric reflux … to the point that it was disrupting my sleep. So, after two full days of discomfort (and remembering both my parents died of heart disease as well as that women tend to ignore reflux symptoms which might be cardiac), we cancelled the Oregon day and went to the Emergency facility instead.

Diagnoses. after several hours of testing (and a doctor who insisted on calling me “Sweetie”), was … NOT cardiac. It was a great relief although it left me feeling a bit foolish and embarrassed in spite of a nurse who asked “What took you so long to come in?”. I was told my heart is in remarkable condition for my age.

As a result of the gastric diagnosis, I won’t be eating anything after 1630 or 1700 in the evening, I may start with a prescription, and was advised to raise the head of the bed (which I may or may not do since I sleep on my stomach).

~~~

Because we spent monday taking care of me, we missed George’s appointment with the retinologist for the follow-up to the laser treatment. As a result, our trip to Oregon will be next tuesday. That means I’ll miss spinning this month. Oh well …

~~~

Rain report …

So far this month we’ve had a bit over 11″. If you’ve been following this blog, you know  my next sentence will be …

11 February 2015

              Here’s the  backyard with bountiful grass instead of the desired snow.

~~~

My brother (in-law) Don, died last saturday. His remaining children and a grandchild were there with Sally (George’s sister).

Hospice is a blessing.

~~~

Short blog this week …

 

Thought for the week …

Realize that everything that happens in your life is for a positive purpose. Some you will recognize, some you won’t. Frustrated? Just repeat    “This too is for the good.”

 

 

So, ’til next week …

 

 

 

Boyohboyohboy … life has become a roller coaster.

I almost forgot to post the blog …

 

Last wednesday George developed a black eye as a result of the anesthesia used for the laser treatment to his eye. Looked like I bopped him.

Also last wednesday, the surgery for the removal of the growth on his ear was scheduled. We will be leaving here between 0430 and 0530 tomorrow morning to drive to the VA in Sacramento. Fortunately, we won’t be doing any city driving. Older son John will meet us and herd us through the city, if that is needed.

Report next week.

~~~

Opera last saturday was “… Hoffmann”. It has been a favorite of ours ever since 1951. The British film was released that year. It was an evening at the opera (predating the Met’s HDs in movie theatres by a few decades), complete with program and intermissions (but no bar in the lobby).

Later, George said something about liking the music a lot, so I spent time locating a copy of the recording of the score, which was a Brit issue, for his holiday gift. Old vinyl … we still have it.

The film then disappeared for many years until the Criterion Collection of classic films released it. We grabbed a copy (naturally) and have been watching every winter holiday season since.

Only disappointment (which rears its head every year) is that somehow over the years two scenes, which I feel are crucial to the tale, were misplaced or lost.

The first is the scene in the tale of Giulietta where Hoffmann is allowed to see the courtesan lounging (rather seductively in a black body suit with glitter everywhere) on her oyster (!) shell shaped bed. It sets up the ending of that tale when Hoffmann finally gets her key only to find her fat man-servant on the bed.

The other missing scene is at the very end of the opera, after Lindorf takes Stella away from Luther’s, when Nicklaus is revealed (in lots of chiffon and bling) to actually be Hoffmann’s muse.

I see them in my mind every year. Maybe, eventually, the lost clips will be found in someone’s basement or attic or estate effects. Hope springs eternal …

In the meantime, I’ll look for my program from that first showing. I’m 99% sure pictures of both scenes are in there.

~~~

Our January turned out to be the driest January in recorded weather history. Snowpack is at less than 30%. Snow should be piled up in the back yard to a depth of at least halfway up the windows. Instead, the grass is growing.

We’ve had two days of rain. Wish it had been snow, but am grateful for the rain.

4 February 2015

Today is dark and windy. 

I’ll plant onions sets before next sunday.

~~~

Earthquakes have been interesting lately. There is a spot where Oregon, Nevada, and California meet which has been very active. Scientists say the fault is slipping sideways.Capture

 

Another spot is off the northern California coast. Predictions are a massive quake on the Cascadia fault within the next 30 years.

 

The wee spot right between the two is Mt Shasta.

~~~

My brother-in-law is dying. He is 93, so it isn’t a surprise. He stopped by to see me a couple of years ago to say goodbye.

Our history is weird. We both graduated from Hemet Union High School, but years apart. Then we married siblings.

My memories of him center around the winter holidays we spent together at the home of our mutual in-laws. Sometime in the afternoon, it would get tedious and the two of us would slip off to a bar, leaving our spouses and children to the care of each other. He’s the one who introduced me to the drink called a grasshopper.

He was a nuclear physicist who had worked at Oak Ridge and so was way beyond me in science, but we were buddies. I loved him … and still do.

May you have a very mercy journey, Don.

That leaves four of that generation in George’s family … George, his two sisters, and a cousin. And so it goes.

~~~

The loss of Don made me think of old pictures … and so decided to share this with you.George and Wilma -1950  -  Cropped

 

The dress was lavender with white accents at the neck and sleeves and dark purple ribbons (it made my blue eyes look almost lavender).

The uniform was beyond delicious.

It was 1950 and we were sooooo beautiful.

 

 

~~~

 

It is a time for appreciation for what we have been given which we might take for granted.

Let your attitude be gratitude!

 

And so ’til next week when I’ll tell you what happened in Sacramento …

 

 

 

 

 

Well … the pictures of George’s ear have gone to the VA dermatologist in Sacramento. Now we wait. Siskiyou County has very good VA service, so we won’t wait long.

And the trip to the retinologist last friday … good and bad.

26 January 2015

                                     It was a beautiful Mountain as we left …

Eddys 26 January 2015                                    and there is a little snow on the Eddys.

But as far and the medical stuff went … bad is that things aren’t healing as rapidly as we would like and there is a tear in the retina which will ultimately let fluid leak under the retina and worsen damage. Good is that there is the new treatment for the degeneration and laser available for the tear. Bad is that the new med costs beaucoup mullah and we had to go north again on monday for the laser treatment. Good is that there is a fund to cover the cost of the injections and George’s retinologist did the laser.

George had to wear a patch overnight but redness was minimal, so … we’re not doing too bad.

Next appointment is the 9th.

~~~

Breakfast 3

 

Last week I received an unexpected gift. A friend sent me a pair of mugs which had been part of a gift to her … and the magical power of caring goes round.

My mornings now start with Van Gogh.

~~~

28 January 2015So far it is looking as if we are having another non-Winter, just like last year. We’ve had quite a bit of rain, but that doesn’t cut it. George says we are looking into switching more and more to solar after all these years of hydro for our power. In a way, that’s good. I may be able to deal with solar better than I ever was with hydro. Understanding electricity still escapes me, but … oh well … as Doris Day sang “Que sera sera”.

~~~

There was an interesting item on NPR news last week. It had to do with parvo, the disease that hits puppies. I have a friend who contracted “human” parvo while on a trip to Mexico. She has nearly died a couple of times and lives on heavy steroids and the edge. Her doctor is writing a paper on her treatment since she seems to be one of only two humans with the disease.

Then in the NPR item they talked about parvo being the cause of the starfish die-off along the Pacific coast. It caught my ear because of my medical background.

More and more often, animal viruses are making the leap to humans. Payback as humans push into more and wider areas previously occupied by animals?

Too many people for Gaia to support?

It was interesting to hear Papa Francis say there is not a need to breed like rabbits.

There are some who say wars are one way to handle the overpopulation problem by killing off large numbers of people, but that doesn’t seem to be working.

And how’s that for a segue from parvo to war?

~~~

The seeds for this year’s garden were ordered. I’m trying a couple of local non-GMO, organic sources this year, mainly Siskiyou Seeds

I picked up a bag of onion sets on monday. They’ll go into the ground (with a straw capping) this weekend. And the pea seeds will start as soon as they arrive (and the moon is right). They can be set out early. I can already taste the ham and pea risotto.

And later today I look at a new supplier … IrishEyesGarden Seeds … organic and northwestern … potato starts.

~~~

Current handwork has been kitchen stuff … dish cloths, hot pads, coasters, and pot holders. I’ve been making sets coloured to match the seasons.Brigid

 

I am currently using a blue (two hues) and white set for the time between Groundhog Day and Easter. Dreams of SNOW and the shadows in and on drifts.

I admit I have been very envious of the storm areas back east. That should be us !!!

Ostara

 

Next kitchen set … light green, purple and yellow … daffodils and lilacs.

 

~~~

And speaking of Groundhog Day … here it comes again. Tradition. Next monday we will watch Bill Murray make his way through Woodstock past the Judge’s house and into the town square to fall off the Opera House where Orson Welles got his start.

~~~Kilt Lifter

Last week’s surprise ???

Guess what I found in the Grocery Outlet store.

~~~

Lesson for the week from NPR …

 

“Last week — while NFL footballs somehow ended up being deflated, to the benefit of the smug New England Patriots — an American named Tim Smyczek somehow took the magnificent Rafael Nadal right to the fifth-set limit at a grand slam, the Australian Open. This was Smyczek’s moment of a lifetime, but when Nadal served at a crucial point, someone in the crowd screamed, and the serve went awry.

“What did the 112th player in the world do? He signaled to the umpire that his opponent, the great Nadal, should get help, another chance, another first serve. Nadal promptly won the do-over with a terrific serve, and soon enough, the match, and Smyczek’s one hope for glory was gone. But, you see, he simply thought he had to be fair, or victory wouldn’t be worth the candle.

“… we shall all watch the Super Bowl Sunday, as America puts its favorite game on display, while the glamorous NFL preens and postures, invulnerable to its violent sins and excesses. But, if you will, think for a moment about Tim Smyczek … the loser American.”

 

So … ’til next week …

 

 

 

This is shaping up to be a busy week.

It started with the spinning group yesterday (although I was knitting rather than spinning since I had bummed a ride with another member and it was difficult to take Matilda). After the meeting, I bummed a ride with another member to Yreka where I met George at the VA Nurse Practitioner’s to have a spot on his left ear checked. He’s had what looked like a senile keritosis for quite some time, but it began to change, i.e. it got larger, darker, and bled a bit when he caught it on his pillow. I felt it needed to, at the very least, be checked and possibly (probably) removed.George's Ear

 

Diagnosis … cancer … but not bad. The good news was that it is most likely a squamous cell sarcoma rather than a sun-induced melanoma. It has to be removed (we’re teasing about calling him Vincent the rest of his life), but so far we don’t know where or when. We go back today or tomorrow to have “definitive” pictures taken for use by the VA decision makers.

 

 

Tonight will be the monthly meeting of the radio club. The Secretary wants to resign. Finding a replacement could be fun.

Tomorrow is my day at the Family History Center (unless we’re in Yreka for photos). I’ll get to work with Marty (which is always good) and probably help Laura with getting her daughters and granddaughters into the DAR.

Friday we go to Medford to see the retinologist again, shop, and eat out.

 

Keep moving and don’t look back … they may be gaining on you (Thanks to Sachel Page for that quote).

~~~

My health situation encountered a glitch last week. I’ve told you I’m a staph carrier (but I’m not contagious like typhoid Mary was). My face broke out again last wednesday. It’s been more than six months since the last event. Hooray! That’s an improvement.

I need to rearrange my thinking however. The last two times this happened I have delayed starting the medications thinking it was only a herpes. At the next outbreak (which I’m affirming will be a minimum of eight months from now), I will start the meds as soon as I notice the first signs. I don’t like taking medications (antibiotics) too often, but I don’t like a red, weeping, swollen face either.

~~~

Big event !!!

My credit card got hacked (or whatever you call it). I used it at the WalMart in Yreka last wednesday to get the meds for my face. That was the 14th. Friday, the 16th, there were three charges on it of which I had no knowledge. I had not been away from the house and had not done any online shopping. Three charges were made within an hour for a total of $488.63. I called as soon as I saw the fraud alerts in the email and now that card has been cancelled. I’ll get a new one with new account number in three to five days.

I called WalMart to let them know what had happened. The assistant manager didn’t sound too impressed, but I told her I was just letting her know in case someone was using their store as a harvesting site, or some clerk had a sideline selling card info since the charges followed the purchases at their store and were in three different places … Tennessee, Washington, and Georgia … indicating the card info was most likely sold. She assured me it would be reported to their fraud department.

Guess I’m now officially part of the new paradigm.

~~~

Last saturday, Lehar’s “Merry Widow” (the German of which translates as the LUSTY widow) was great. Fleming is doing well in the translation from high opera to operetta. The dramaturge had done a bit of rearranging, and the Broadway director added some Broadway riffs, and the words were different from the previous English translation I was used to hearing (no “girls, girls, girls, girls girls”) and Velia was no longer a “nymph of the wood” …

Still, it was a great saturday morning. We will be waiting to see it (and what I’m guessing was a blow-out cancan) on PBS’s Great Performances.

~~~

I’m deep into seed catalogs … and having a bit of a problem. Growing season is changing around here (but there is no such thing as Climate Change) and I’m a bit confused as to which zone we are currently a part. That makes selecting seeds a bit iffy. I guess I need to sit down with a big sheet of paper and list comparisons after I sort out what I have leftover and what needs to be replaced.

My two sources this year will be SeedsNSuch (they have a non-GMO selection) and Siskiyou Seeds (which is relentlessly non-GMO and organic).

~~~

The Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness web site has been reactivated. I used to do research with them in the local college newspaper archives. I’ve tried twice to re-volunteer without luck. I’ll try again. Probably just me hitting a wrong key someplace.

That used to be fun … reading those old papers.

And I got involved in helping with a web site called Search Squad which aids birth parents find adoptees and vice versa. Seems records are being opened all over the place and there are a lot of family historians involved. Big push seemed to start with search for medical histories.
DNA is big. We did the original DNA program through National Geographic a few years ago. Maybe it’s time to expand it since they can now find out so much more.

And with all the genealogical television programs, interest is growing. Genealogy Roadshow on PBS is interesting. Less biased than Gates’ program and a bit broader in reach.

~~~

 

            The Old Farmer’s Almanac says … Fog in January brings a wet Spring.

21  Jan 2015

We’re having more soft rain (makes me think of the Ray Bradbury story and the Sara Teasdale poem) … but it is not the needed snow.

Oh well … grateful for any precipitation.

 

‘Til next week …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MET broadcast “Aida” last saturday. Nice. Made me remember the story about Tony Randall loving to do walk-ons at the Met such as a near naked, spear-carrying warrior in the Triumphal March.

The two lead sopranos were both from Lithuania … at least that’s what I think I heard. And that got me to thinking … if Lithuania had not been part of the Soviet Union for all those years, would those women have had the musical training needed to sing like they do?

This coming saturday we will get to enjoy Renee Fleming sing “The Merry Widow” … in English. I wish we could see it. Seems the Met is making crossovers with Broadway. We heard an interview with Fleming in which she praised the staging, done with Broadway flamboyance, and the support cast. The Broadway star who sings Valencienne had to learn how to sing without electronic enhancement. Renee just told her the Met house had been designed to allow a singer to whisper and still be heard in every seat in the house.

~~~

Last friday I spent the day (0800 to 1530) at a shearing. What an adventure.

9 January 2015            The Mountain looked beautiful as I left home (before I ran into the fog).

Fire Cloud

       And on the way home, a cloud caught fire (the sun was setting off to the right).

Once at the shearing barn, I was on my feet most of the day. Good thing I was wearing support hose. I was the fill-in and so had a chance at each of the jobs … pulling aside non-usable wool (such as belly and head wool which is too matted to use for anything except garden mulch), sweeping the shearing area clear between sheep, spraying any skin cuts (with an antiseptic resembling the old Gentian Violet we used when I was young which turns skin a vivid purple), carrying fleece to the sorting tables, skirting the fleece (of tags, double cuts, poopy areas, matted areas, etc.), and carrying bags of wool (“mulch”, “to the dealer”, and “for handspinners”) to their proper areas.

Shearing I brought home a bag of discards to use in the garden.

The only job I didn’t do was the taking of identification pictures. Carole has notes on each sheep’s colour, wool crimp and length, micron size, etc. so decisions can be made about breeding. Jill had that duty and it was not handed off.

There was a young woman there who told me she came from a big city to live in Yreka and had not been around animals of any kind very much. She was reluctant to touch the animals or the shorn fleece. I was picking up unskirted (still dirty) fleece without gloves and her nose wrinkled. I reassured her that poop washes off, and by the time I left she was into all the jobs, including cleaning sheep’s eyes, … without gloves. The lanolin in the wool is great for skin.

Carol, who owns the sheep, served posole for our meal. Hominy stew … really good except she left out the chilis since she was feeding a cross section of folks and not everyone likes the same amount of heat. George says maybe I should always carry some rooster sauce with me when I’m going to be out for dinner. However, Carol did have a bowl of lime wedges available.

LocksWorking with those fleeces, some of which were beautiful, was almost enough to cause me to buy one of the “for handspinners” (only $12 a pound) … one with several shades of silver grey in it. Then I remembered how much work is involved in scouring (washing), sorting, and carding (or combing) a fleece before it is anywhere near ready to spin and I packed the urge away in its assigned place. Done that. From now on I stick to prepared fiber.

Oh well …

~~~

There was a report on BBC last week which dealt with the cost of weddings as related to marriage longevity. The conclusion was that the more expensive the wedding and the larger the guest list, the shorter the marriage. That may explain our situation.

My wedding ring costs $15 or $16 (it’s been a long time so who can remember). George’s ring cost $12 (I paid for that so I remember). I wore a blue wool suit I had just bought (for which I paid less than $20 and had not yet worn) with white gloves and a perky little white hat for which I paid $5. George paid the pastor $6. My mother made the cake and dinner. George’s folks bought a basket of flowers. And it took place in the living room of George’s grandparents with only family in attendance.

Even at today’s price comparisons, that’s cheap.

Next October, it will have been 63 years.

~~~

I’ve been listening to and enjoying some rather old blues recordings lately. I’m not so into the newer jazz sounds, but the older styles are still favorites. I need to find a copy of Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” and dig out my Erroll Garner, Thelonius Monk, and some others.

~~~

We’ve been eating a lot of leftovers since the holidays. We’re almost out of turkey … only about six more meals. We probably won’t run out of ham for another month or so.  

There was a section of the Today show last weekend which centered on preparing, packing, and freezing of leftovers for future meals. The presenter was advocating using not discarding and highlighting the time saved later.

George and I laughed because that’s just part of our everyday behavior.

Oh well …

~~~

As a result of using the web site called Genealogy! Just Ask!, I found another site which may turn out to be useful. It’s called Ancient Faces. Folks can post photos and biography information, and connect with others researching the same people.

There was a picture on the site of a man with a small boy. Their last name was Purnell. I have a greatxsomething grandfather whose given name was Purnell. It will be interesting to see if there is a connection since often boys were given a name from their mother’s family (often maiden names) as their given name.

PBS’ series “Genealogy Roadshow” is back. First show was last night.

And … a Swedish television show dealing with genealogy is looking for Americans with Swedish lineage to appear on the show. Do you qualify? Check out  www.greatswedishadventure.com.

~~~

Another music trivia note (and no pun intended) …

The end of Strauss’ “Lohengrin Overture” (1848), the beginning of the Story of a Starry Night section of the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique Symphony” (1893), and the beginning of the Beatles “Norwegian Wood” (1965) all use a descending Doric scale.

~~~

Last night, as I was collecting eggs and putting the ladies to bed, I noticed a weird thing outside the little door to their yard. Lot and LOTS of feathers.Feathers

They seemed to have come from a Rhode Island red chicken, but both of our reds showed no sign of trouble … no blood and no missing feathers. There was no blood with the feathers by the door either.

Real life mystery …

~~~

We’ve been having fog. One evening it was very clear right around the house and thick Thicker THICKEST all around. I could see the barn, but just barely. With the fog had come drizzle rain … never enough to measure … just enough to keep things damp.

14 January 2015                                This morning it is cold and there is frost …

 

That’s it for this week. So ’til next week …

 

 

 

It’s been a quiet week on Cold Comfort Farm.

New Year’s Day dawned late (as expected) and sunny … but it was COLD. Only 7° in Klamath Falls.  Mid-20s here. Without snow …

Our young (58) neighbor Eric came for dinner bringing a gift of persimmons and smoked salmon … and a genealogical challenge. Something to keep boredom at bay.

I have to admit to an error last week. I told you the “Die Fledermaus” DVD we watch is from a 1975 performance. Wrong. I checked and it was 1984. Placido Domingo’s hair was still black. Dame Kiri was still svelte and in top voice. Listening is a bit of a challenge since it is done in three languages … French, German, and English … which are used seamlessly to launch several jokes.

We enjoyed it as much as the first time we saw it.

~~~

First event this new year is to help with the sheep shearing at the farm of a spinning group member (Tawanda Farms) day after tomorrow. I don’t know why they are shearing at this time of year (poor chilly sheep), but oh well …

Carol asked the spinners to come help. I have no idea what we will be doing, but she advised clothing for cold, wet weather and promised to feed us. Watch for a report and pictures.

~~~

Music dysphoria (is that a word?) … shades of “Dixie” heard in Strauss’ “Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna”.

We listened to the annual Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert at 0800 on NPR. I no longer make it a point to watch the production on PBS. Like the parades, it has  become a showcase for a personality rather than a concert. Julie Andrews may be a good host, but (IMHO) it is supposed to be a concert, not a celebrity-guided tour of Vienna.

On the radio, we heard at least three pieces of music not heard on the television.

~~~

Downton Abbey is back.

Any aficionados out there? We’re both hooked and making our guesses about what is in store without watching the teasers (I hate knowing what’s in the next episode).

I especially liked Tony’s proposition to Mary. Pretty modern for the 20s in aristocratic England. Will she pick him or Charles, or will someone else enter the fray?

What is Edith going to do, will Gregson be found, and why was her daughter named for a stinky flower?

We know Robert will continue to cement his role as curmudgeon, but will he be drug further into the new world?

Will Tom stay on the estate?

What will happen with Thomas and his machinations?

And what about Carson and Mrs. Hughes? Tippy-toeing into the sea together? Scandalous.

~~~

Had to call for help with a project last monday. There are two sets of solar panels, which supplement the hydro power, out in the meadow away from trees. In the summer, when the sun is high, they lie flat. But then in winter, when the sun stays low on the horizon, George lifts them up to about a 45° angle.

Monday he asked me to help reposition them. I tried, but it was a bust. The combination of my lack of upper body strength and the tremor made me useless.

So I called our neighbor to supply the upper body strength. It turned out he was at work (he’s an ED RN) but he had a friend visiting and he sent the friend over to help. The friend and George got the panels into position and, in addition, found a connection through Pomona. Small world.

The panels are now at the correct angle and I’ll be able to help put them back down come next winter.

That gives George an entire seasonal cycle to figure out how to compensate. He hates to ask for help, even from me.

~~~

Only 7 days into the “Grateful Jar” and I am already stumped. There is so much “normal” stuff for which I am grateful that some days it is difficult to pick just one. Fortunately, occasionally I am head-smacked by something far out of normal such as a story shared by a friend which validated an experience I don’t often share, or an email from another friend reminding me of an interaction I had forgotten, or unexpected help with a solar panel chore.

Wow … three out of six. Not bad odds.

It will be a blessing to review the contents next New Year’s Day when it will be time to start a new collection.

~~~

The lady chickens have been outdoing themselves since George adjusted the artificial light position and timing. To begin, the light was rather low in order to keep the drinking water from freezing, but when I went to collect eggs I found the hens up on the roost even with the light on. So the light was raised to illuminate the entire room and now they are still down on the floor, talking and scratching, when I go out.

Also, we adjusted the timer so that the day is extended by four hours … two in the evening and two in the morning.

With four hens, we get an average of three eggs a day. More than enough for us.

~~~

Weather has been chilly, but dry. We may be in for a winter resembling last year.Deer in Yard

 

There are deer back in the yard.

 

 

 

Frost (1)

 

 

This morning there was frost on the boardwalk …

 

 

 

7 Jan 2015

                                and there are still patches of snow on the ground.

 

An interesting sight each year when the ground freezes are the stones in the driveway. This is all volcanic area, so there are lots of stones of all sizes. Each winter, when the ground freezes, the stones move … usually upward which is why we tease about “stonebird nests”.Drive Stone 1

 

The movement often creates empty space around the stone until the ground thaws and settles down.

 

Drive Stone 2

 

 

 

Looks weird and makes us watch our step.

 

 

~~~

It is said we cannot direct the wind, but we CAN adjust our sails.

 

We have no real idea what 2015 will bring. We can only adjust our sails and hope.

 

 

So … ’til next week …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another year gone.

Overall, more highs than lows. We’re older than we’ve been, but younger than we’ll ever be again.

~~~

Christmas here went off with the normal number of glitches … and with smatterings of snow off and on (why do we always put “off” before “on” … things can’t stop without first starting, right?) … anyhow, off and on all day. Promises … promises … promises.

The Sacramento family had a relatively calm day. If they didn’t, they haven’t told us about it yet.

But the New York family is a different story. Our son, on his way to bed Christmas Eve, set the slow cooker to do the pork roast overnight and the coffee brewer to have the wassail ready when they got up. Sometime between then and dawn, their area lost power.

They got up to a dark house without hot wassail and without a prospect of dinner (they heat with wood, so at least they weren’t cold) … no hot drink, no smell of dinner cooking, no Christmas tree lights, no Christmas tree train running.

Solution? Start the generator, turn on the inverter, turn on the tree lights and train, heat up the wassail, gather round to open packages, call the grandparents, then remember “A Christmas Story” and go out to the local asian restaurant for dinner.

Fa ra ra ra ra … A year the kids won’t forget.

~~~

A tradition at our house for this holiday is an hours long reel-to-reel tape of KPOL’s “Festival of Carols”. KPOL was a classical music radio station in Los Angeles years ago. KPOL no longer exists.

But in 1966 (the year has been verified by our older son using a news item on the tape), George set up our recorder and let it run. It is a time capsule with old favorite carols as well as music current to the time (particularly Johnny Mathis). There are no commercials, but there are occasional news breaks. The US was at war in VietNam and the news breaks sound surprisingly (or possibly not so surprisingly) current. All that would be needed to hide its age would be to change the locations of the news reports.   What does that say about us?

I think I need to find someone who will make CDs of this tape. They’d make good holiday gifts.

We plan to take it to next year’s MSARC potluck … just start it to provide background and see how long it takes folks to catch on, if they ever do.

~~~

Last week, I was asked twice about using the phrase “under weigh”. The phrase was originally a nautical one (my father was an old Navy man), dating to the 1700s, which was used when the ship weighed (raised) the anchor and began to move. So to be “under weigh” was to be moving forward. The use of “way” instead of “weigh” is one of those fairly recent corruptions due to not knowing the origin and substituting a word which sounds the same. And when using “way” rather than “weigh”, it is one word not two, i.e. underway. End of language lesson.

P.S. I’ve  been accused of acting uppity by using “weigh” instead of “way”, but I stand by Daddy.

~~~ 

I’ve begun wearing a pocket watch.

When I was working, I wore a wrist watch with a BIG face. It made taking pulses and counting breaths easy. When I no longer had that need because I was no longer working, I stopped wearing it. I don’t think they have to do that any more since machines have been developed to do it. 

Then we started doing the health and welfare radio events and I found that at those times I needed to keep track of time. I reactivated the big-faced watch for those events and it worked fine for several years. At the final event this past year … the watch died.

Many years ago, when the Blue Goose narrow railroad was still running and George spent wednesdays running the model railroad at the station for the amusement of young tourists, I helped out by handling the store on those days. I was paid with items from the store. As a result I have cups and saucers from old passenger dining cars … and a copy of an old pocket watch (which runs on batteries rather than windup). Voilà …

I even have a chain for it, but no fob.

~~~

This coming year I plan to increase the food I make from scratch (not a resolution, a continuation of a choice already in place). Since you can no longer trust what’s in processed food, I’ve been increasing the amount of cooking I do this way … incrementally.

I remember when, as a young bride, the push was to decrease the work load of the “little woman” by providing premade food with mixes of all kinds. I “Betty Crocker”ed along with the best of them. I recently read over some recipes from those days and all of them call for a box of this and/or a can of that. It must be that ingredients were purer in those days since we raised basically healthy boys and George and I are still here.

However, since the advent of Monsanto and GMOs, I no longer trust boxed and canned stuff. Consequently, I avoid that stuff when I can by raising as much food as I can, shopping local organic farmers when I can, and putting by as much as I am able (I started to write “as I can”, but I freeze and dry in addition to canning … and I can hear my Grandmother saying “You can if you’re able.”).

It takes more time, but I’ve learned to prepare bigger batches, so what takes time for the first meal, saves time later.

We eat well and I feel so virtuous.

~~~

Grat Jar

 

Does anyone still make resolutions?

 

I plan a “Grat” jar …

and exercises to work on my throat flab.

 

 

                                                                                                              ~~~

24 Dec 2014

Since Christmas (above), weather has turned cold. Daytime temps in the low 30s with nights in the teens and low 20s. In fact …

31 Dec 2014 it’s been so chilly the snow that fell last week (after Christmas) has yet to melt. Not enough of it, but every flake is valued.

Saturday I put the third comforter on our bed. If you come to visit now, there are flannel sheets and comforters on the guest bed and rice pillows ready as warmers.

~~~

This year’s batch of fresh sweet breads and rolls is waiting for tomorrow morning. Preparations for tomorrow’s dinner (ham and hoppin’ john … one of our young neighbors will be here) are done.

Tonight we will watch the 1975 Covent Garden video of “Die Fledermaus” (with Dame Kiri), which is the last of our holiday CDs, and be fast asleep when the year turns.

Tomorrow we will listen to the Vienna Concert on NPR in the morning and probably watch it on PBS in the evening. We enjoy the Strauss family’s music.

We used to watch the Rose Parade (I even once, long ago, spent a New Year’s Eve on a sidewalk in Pasadena in order to see it “live”). That was before it became centered on current personalities rather than the parade itself. But since the Oregon Ducks are in the Rose Bowl (and the young neighbor will be here), we may turn that on.

Then again, maybe not.

~~~

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says “Moving forward into the new year {will} be easier if we remember to keep the rearview mirror in adjustment.”Xmas 2014

 

Now, if only I can get used to the Crone in the mirror.

 

 

So, in anticipation of a good year to come (and a series of small miracles for all of us) …

‘Til next week …

 

 

 

 

 

Solstice has passed and we are in the season of honoring the return of the Sun/Son.

Train

 

The Winter tree is up (and the train is running).Winter Candle

The turkey is in the brine pot ready to be stuffed tomorrow morning.

 

Holiday candle is burning.

 

Gift candles have all been delivered.

 

We’ve been eating potluck leftovers for several days and anticipate turkey leftovers beginning friday.

The local creeks and rivers are running. The lady hens are out of molt and doing their thing. The children’s boxes arrived at their homes intact and in time. Books and fiber and seed catalogs await. We are in fairly good health.

Life is good.

~~~

This has been a great year for apples. Our Granny Smith outdid herself. And we got quite a haul from a friend in town who had so many she was ditching apples by the wheelbarrowful in a nearby empty lot (I wonder if volunteer trees will appear next spring?). She shared with anyone who wanted and with the local horse rescue farm.

We’ve been eating apples fresh, in salad, in cake and muffins and cobblers, with cabbage and onions over pork, and (of course) a pie or two. And I still have a full lug. When the chaos clears, I’ll cut and dry some, and maybe make a batch of apple butter.

And on the subject of fruit … in Oregon monday I found a five pound bag of limes for less than seven dollars. Since the current price in the grocery stores has  been around fifty cents each, I bought the entire five pounds. I now have a full pint of lime juice plus a bit more, several small packs of lime zest, a jar of the pulp and zested skins in vodka for extract, eight set aside for a pie in a week or so, and I’ll give eight or ten to a neighbor.

What a bargain.

~~~

The radio club holiday potluck fell victim to overlapping holidays, winter illness, and family disasters. There were ten of us there … with food, Food, FOOD!

To begin the evening, no one could open the lock on the clubhouse door. The lock had been changed (but the combination left the same) because the old lock stopped working. Earlier in the day, a member had been at the clubhouse and the lock worked fine. But that evening, five of us tried without success. It was raining (and rather chilly) and we weren’t able to get indoors to start the heaters. Problem was finally solved when a member showed up with bolt cutters. 

The people who had volunteered a couple of tables … forgot.

Eventually everything was sorted out and things got under weigh.

We shared holiday traditions and memories, one member said grace, and we dug in.

It was a varied group including a Catholic, a fundamental Methodist, a Jew (the other Jews skipped the potluck to attend a Hanukkah dinner at temple), a couple of pagans … and (as one participant told me when he was leaving) a good time was had by all.

We shared holiday stories which were good fun. One member told us how he and his older brother got up early one Christmas to see if Santa had gotten there yet and found a big fire truck under the tree (unwrapped). Years later his parents told him how they lay in bed chuckling, listening to the kids trying to be quiet.

Raphie's Bunny Jammies

 

Another shared how as kids they were allowed to open one package on Christmas Eve. One of their aunts always made new pajamas for each kid and they were ALWAYS instructed to open the packages from her (pink bunny pajamas courtesy of “The Christmas Story”).

 

Sharing the holiday stories gave me glimpses of people which I might never have seen under regular club circumstances … as children and youths, newly marrieds and young parents. It was a valuable gift. I hope it was for them as well.

One couple got the timing wrong and arrived an hour late. But the food was still out and they brought a bottle of wine … so it all worked out fine.

George and I got home about 2030 … an hour past his bedtime. So the clean up and storage of the food which came home waited until morning.

We’ll probably do it again next year.

~~~

Our last visit to the retinologist was not all good news. George hasn’t noticed any worsening in his vision, but there is new evidence of fluid under his retina and small patches of fluid IN the retina.

The doctor did another injection of the medication he has been using, but said it was only a holding treatment. There is another medication (one step up) which is more expensive … $400.00 per dose more than Medicare will cover. But he also told us there is a group which covers the extra cost for low income patients and his office will file all the papers for us.

We go back January 23rd for that.

~~~

After the doctor’s office in Oregon last monday, we went to dinner at Sizzler. George had a coupon which added the salad bar to one of their double entree dinners. We usually both have the senior-all-you-can-eat salad bar, so the coupon was a good deal for us. In fact it turned out to be a better deal than we had imagined.

We ordered the meal of steak with fries and shrimp with rice pilaf (which, with the coupon, included the salad bar), and one of our regular salad meals.

Well … we brought home sixteen shrimp with rice (we had eaten two apiece) and a six-ounce steak with grilled onions and mushrooms plus most of the serving of fries. And we ate our regular two plates of fresh salad, one plateful of fruit, and a full serving of frozen custard each. Three meals, all for only $21.

~~~

Going down the stairs in the dark sunday night, I got distracted, miscounted the stairs, and took a fall. I hit my head (no big problem) and banged my right hip. That hip occasionally twinges with arthritis anyhow, but the fall banged it a bit more and monday I was sort of gimpy.

I’m still in great shape for my age. I know people who had to have hip replacements before they reached 70, even a couple before 60. So, even with a lessening gimp, I’m doing fine. And Tylenol is doing it’s job. I’ll be back to normal by the end of this week … no marathons, but no gimp either.

~~~

We know the state is still in drought mode. However, it is difficult to see that here. We’ve had so much precip this autumn that we have moss growing on the roof, along walkways, and in the bootmats at the doors … as if we were in Oregon.

24 Dec 2014

It has begun to rain (again). 

We continue to affirm SNOW, if not for us … at least on the mountains.

We’ll be listening to Patrick Stewart’s recording of “A Christmas Carol” this evening while we make this year’s batch of sandtart cookies.

Due to Oregon trips, this year’s tamales will have to wait until next week … or maybe next year.

Tomorrow we’ll feast and watch “Tales of Hoffmann”.

We’re having a nice holiday season. Hope you are too.

 

So … ’til next week …