Not At The Library! (gasp!)

Pssst!  

I was in the Audio Book corner of our neighborhood library not long ago when a deep male voice behind me rasped,  “Hey, Baby, looking for fun?”

My insides threatened to jump out of my body so I froze for a minute before turning around.  At my age, I needed to make sure that my sphincter muscles were in control after the way he had startled me.   Whenever anyone calls me Baby, well. . . there is a history.

When I was a seventh grader, in the junior high library one day, a ninth grade jock-type yelled “Hey Baby!” in my direction.  I turned around in sheer terror.  I didn’t think it to be a flirtation for even a second.  Because it was during a ninth-grade study hall, I thought he was calling me out because I was the only seventh grader in the room and he wanted the room at large to frown at the youngster/interloper.  Or maybe he wanted to borrow a pencil.

Neither.

He was calling beyond me to the scarlet-lipped brunette wearing a Dixie-cup bra beneath her very snug sweater at the next table.   I’m guessed that he wasn’t looking for a pencil, although he was definitely eyeing the points in that sweater.   I blushed painfully for even having the thought that he might have been calling me.

Not to worry about any tragic effects of my misunderstanding, for it did not affect my psyche.  Granted, I am still talking about it some 60 years later, but I’m fine.  Really. I’m fine.

This latest Psst!  certainly wasn’t because I was the youngest one in the library.   It wasn’t a dirty old man either. . .  just our warped sense of humor next-door neighbor, Beau.  He was there to select a couple of  audio books for a trip that he and The Little Woman were taking soon.

Sometimes I think I spend half my time at the library, much of it outside on the grounds.  I tend the reading garden in one area and for the last few months, I’ve been developing a fairy garden outside the floor-to-ceiling window of the children’s department.  Because the library sits near a very busy street, the fairy garden is for viewing from inside, not actually playing in it.

It sounded like a simple enough task.  I could use natural materials like sticks and moss and make it a wooded, magic place for any fairies looking for a home.  The library fairy garden project was perfect for the child in me.  (She stands near the thin woman in there, too.)

I was so, so wrong.  Now, I dread even going to the library.  The problem isn’t men; it’s the DAMNSQUIRRELS!  Seriously!!!  I’m not paranoid; sometimes they really ARE after you!

For instance, Dearly Beloved put a fairy door and two windows at the base of the large oak there.   Although the squirrels could come down any section of that tree,  they always scramble up and down over the fairy entrance, making certain they take out a window, if not more.

The carefully painted acorn mailbox perched on a twig did not even last a day before one of them snapped off the acorn for lunch.  They left the twig. The little painted mushrooms encircling the mossy magic fairy ring have been upended so many times that I could have grown crops there more easily.   The moss?  Ruined.  Again.  Again.  Again.  There’s none there at present.

Because the fairy garden gets such rough treatment, I hesitate to ask for any funds for accessories, the natural materials I’ve been using aren’t holding up.   Because they’re so easy to upend, I’ve even resorted to gluing things like the mushrooms to a weighted surface–a piece of old brick and things like chunks of roofing tiles, then I bury the “weights.”   Homeland Security would be proud.  But even that isn’t squirrel-proof.

I’m including a few pictures to give an idea of what I’m up against.  If you have any suggestions that don’t involve squirrel corpses, let’s hear them!

The sand in the sandbox and around the duck pond . . . well, gawd only knows what goes on in there, but the sand constantly needs to be replaced.  The idea was for the duck pond to look like a lake, not a Tupperware bowl, with sand all around it.  The sandbox on the playground should be full. . . and the fence, as well as the fairy door on the tree behind,  should be standing straight.  That swing hanging in the brown basket used to have mazus groundcover beneath, to protect tender little fairy feet.  Oh. . . and see those blue mushrooms?  They look random, but they were part of the border of the magic fairy circle that was filled with green moss.  There are red mushrooms, too–they’ve all been upended.  (If you want to know what color scarf to knit your favorite squirrel, go with red.)  

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Here is the basketball goal with a found shingle “court.”   It came from the library roof; I hope it isn’t causing a leak.   The orange thing is a hammock, with a tree limb fairy house behind it.  I haven’t seen any squirrels in the hammock yet.

FullSizeRender FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderThe soda shop floor needs sweeping.  If I left a squirrel-sized broom out there, do you suppose. . . ?

Of course not.  They’re the ones that made the mess.

I don’t want to end this on a complaining note because there is, at least, an upside:

At least the little bastards don’t call me Baby.

____________________

No child but must remember laying his head in the grass, staring into the infinitesimal forest and seeing it grow populous with fairy armies. ~Robert Louis Stevenson, Essays in The Art of Writing

 

I Wouldn’t Walk a Mile for One!

There was a big To-Do here recently when we learned that imported foreign fish are being served at the NC Seafood Festivals.  Before I ginned myself up for outrage, I wondered, it being a North Carolina festival, whether “foreign” meant that it came from Virginia or South Carolina.

Nope.  Turns out that the festival fish needed passports, having been imported from China, Thailand, Canada, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ecuador.

Serving it at the NC Seafood Festivals does sound a little misleading, don’t you think?  Then again, ninety per cent of the seafood we eat in the US comes from those countries.

We have a new seafood market in town and I was thinking of checking out their selection.   Thank goodness I received additional  information.  A friend who eats meats and organs that I wouldn’t consider food (like lamb’s heart, which he tried–and loved– on a trip to Iceland) recently asked if I had any camel recipes.  CAMEL!  It seems that the new seafood market in town offers that and other unusual meats and he’s anxious to try it.

Seriously?  I have been pondering this ever since he told me about it.  Granted, I don’t travel much.  Do people actually eat camels?  Is camel on menus in New Yawk City?

Camels can carry about 650 pounds.  That would save me a lot of trips to Home Depot for mulch.  It would be like having your own moving van and it wouldn’t  need gas.  Whether or not it HAS gas,  I don’t know.

Where would a Charlotte market get camel meat?  Is there a global market for camel meat, or did one random camel come to a bad end somehow?  Did it carry one too many straws?   Did it get stuck when a rich guy tried to shove it though a needle’s eye?

Then it hit me as to exactly how a local seafood market came to have camel in its meat case.  The answer is simple:  it came over along with the “local seafood.”

Wonder if they threw in a few monkey patties.  I don’t even want to know.

 

The camel has a single hump;
The dromedary , two;
Or else the other way around.
I’m never sure. Are you?
Ogden Nash

 

Notes From Cook/Laundress

For most of July, Camp Granddad has been in full swing around here, “swing” definitely being the operative word.

Youngest Grandson, now 9, loves spending time here.  His mother says she is making a sacrifice in letting us borrow him, since he’s the only one of her brood (two teens, one toddler, one diva dog, one crazy cat) without an attitude.

Grandson and Dearly Beloved have spent hours and hours in sweaty sports activities–golf, basketball, baseball, and when they need to cool off, bowling.   YG wants to know how to do it all correctly, so Granddad provides instructions, but in a fun way.  That may explain why, when Grandson decides to hit with his putter from the tee sometimes, he does so with a near perfect swing.

DB has pronounced him a “natural” in all their activities and the word “Phenom” has even been bandied about.  He narrates hilarious videos of their activities and sends them to all the relatives.

There is no question as to whether or not YG will be able to play professional golf, baseball, and basketball.  Of COURSE!  All of them!  The only discussion has been as to how he will be able to play all three at once.   As Grandson lives in Atlanta, he will surely be drafted by the Braves and the Hawks, so he’ll be able to play those sports from the same location, but there is still the problem of going from sport to sport when Away games are involved.

I overheard one of their discussions just at the AHA! moment when they realized the simple solution they’d been overlooking.

(Headslap!)  YG would have his own private jet!

 

 

“Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent.” » Donald A. Norberg

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”

 

Independence, Yes, But NIMBY!!!

Ivy, our granddog Goldendoodle arrived yesterday to stay with us for a week while her Peeps spend a week at the beach.

We were thrilled at the chance to have her for a week.  She’s a fun dog AND Ivy chases squirrels!  Oh, the thrill or seeing those little bastards scatter!  They are as fearful of her as they are contemptuous of us.  When we run out yelling at them, they give us the finger before sauntering off to lean against a tree, waiting for us to leave.  When Ivy goes out, they head for the treetops at top speed.

So, when Ivy’s family headed out yesterday, we came inside to enjoy looking out at our tree rodent-free yard.  Some time later, we heard Scout at the gate, barking loudly, which she rarely does.  Dearly Beloved called the dogs inside, but only Scout came.

Ivy had disappeared.

Imagine our panic!  Her folks hadn’t even reached the beach yet and we’d already lost their dog!  I fired off a Lost Dog e-mail to the neighborhood with a regal photo of Ivy.  I didn’t text my daughter.  I put  Version 2 Scout on a leash and asked her to play bloodhound while we walked the neighborhood.  She began sniffing immediately and my hopes soared.  Hah!  She was just looking for a place to pee–twice, before we even got to the corner.

In the meantime, DB had already headed out in his car.  He was so determined to find her that he said he was prepared to search all night.

While I was waiting for Scout to finish, I received an e-mail from someone in the neighborhood saying that Ivy was safe–she’d seen her with a couple who were trying to locate her owners.  They had called the number on the ID tag, but Voicemail was full, so they couldn’t leave a message.

The clever couple took Ivy home with them and sent a text to the number on the tag, since they couldn’t leave a message.  So, our daughter, on her way to the beach, received a text from strangers, saying, “We have your dog.  She is safe.”

Ivy loved the adventure.  She played with the couple’s Great Dane until DB arrived.  She’ probably bragged about it to Scout.  Ivy’s ID tag had broken off previously and Daughter had handed it to me when they arrived, asking could we fix it and put it back on her collar.  DB did so immediately.  Daughter was so grateful that he’d done so that she may even let us keep the grandkids again.  DB and I figure that we lost only five years of our lives at most.   Scout is giving us reproachful looks that say, “I TRIED to tell you that she’d broken out of the joint!”  

Trauma is exhausting, so DB and the dogs are napping.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  But first,  Ivy has a message for you. . . .

IMG_5128

gceopbRMi

 

 

 

 

Paradise Lost

The activity  at our bird feeders has declined.  Maybe our feathered friends read that the ozone level is at Extreme (even as the legislature is trying to lower ground air standards.)

It might also be that our yard has become a cafeteria for area hawks.

There was evidence of several killings last week–grey fluff, long feathers.  Over the weekend, we visited our son and daughter-in-law in Virginia Beach and when we returned Monday, a gruesome mess on our covered porch indicated that Victim No. 4 fought hard.

CSI believes the victims to be mourning doves.   (Talk about having something to mourn!) Those birds don’t even feed at the bird feeders.  Instead, they peck around the ground underneath, which makes for a slow takeoff.  Easy pickings for a hawk diving at 120 mph or so.

One day I went outside to fill the bird baths and saw piles of grey fluff.  A few feet beyond lay, like a dropped toy, a baby squirrel.   It had its new furry coat and a fat tummy.  Panda-like cute.  Although it looked untouched, it was still quite dead.

I called the undertaker (a/k/a Dearly Beloved)and we held a graveside service under the doublefile viburnum tree.   Despite my dislike of those darned critters, this little squirrel wrenched my heart.   It had been lying out in the open, so how  could it have fallen from a nest?  Somewhere in the trees, a momma squirrel had to be grieving for the loss of her fat little baby.

My life suddenly became more complicated.  I watch to keep the squirrels away from the bird feeders as usual, but now I also keep an eye out for any lurking hawks.  You know how a hawk sits in a tree and twists its head gracefully to look in any direction?  Out-hawking a hawk at my age isn’t easy because of all the cellophane creaking and cracking in my neck

Yeah, yeah, I know all that stuff about the laws of nature and I have one thing to say about that:  NIMBY!

Not in my back yard.

You’d think that I’d get a little help from Scout the Wonder Dog.  Hah!

A couple of months ago, my dear blog friend Mountain Woman sent Scout a present:  three soft toys.   A squirrel, a shark, and a skunk.  Really nice, huh?

In that same package, she included surprises for me:

IMG_2368Sure, she’s nice, but she’s also wicked.  I did not have a squirrel pillow or squirrel candle holders on my wish list.

Scout unpacked the box and immediately adopted the squirrel as her new favorite toy.

Scout and her surprise packageWhenever she goes outside, she drops it in  the vicinity of the bird feeders, as if  telling all the tree rats, “Come on down.  I don’t care about you; I have a squirrel of my own.”  They could form a conga line around her and she would simply yawn.

Yesterday the yard was invaded by crows.  Sheesh!

DB looks out over our backyard and, as long as the grass is cut, he sees only our little paradise.  I look out with swiveling head, ready to beat on the windows or run out screaming and waving the broom.   Do I think I am Mother Nature?

So far, the coyotes and wolves in the neighborhood have been held off by the fence.  Peter Rabbit still squeezes through the latticed brick, although if I point to it and accompany Scout outside, she will actually chase Peter.

I am going to take a deep breath and enjoy the whole garden scene.  After all, what else could show up?

IMG_5935

(Here is YouTube link to the manufacturer of this feeder, should you have Godfather envy and want one, too.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Houston Nous Avons Un Problème

My family doesn’t post much on Facebook these days.   No pictures of the grandkids (which I understand) but Facebook is also how I keep up with where everyone is.  At the end of May, I’m guessing they’re all at home, immersed in the end-of-school activities.

I wouldn’t know, even if they did post, because Facebook has Frenched me.

Oui!!!

How could that happen?  Believe me, I don’t screw around with Facebook settings.  I wouldn’t know how. For years I never checked messages and notifications because I didn’t  know what those symbols meant.

Just now, I ventured over to the buttons on the right in an attempt to bring myself back to my native tongue.  Fat chance!  All the options are in French.

Que diable?

Dearly Beloved, who claims to have had five years of French, didn’t even look up from his book when I told him of my dilemma.   Pretty sure he’s not ignoring me.  It’s more like he’s telling me, “Je ne me souviens pas de la merde !”

Google translate tells me that’s how to say, “I can’t remember shit!”

If you have an idea of how to get me out of de la merde. . . h e l p!!!

If not, “friend” my family members so that you can tell me what they’re up to.

Until then, Au Revoir, Facebook!

 

PS.  Autocorrect changed my merde to merge.  Thank goodness for friends who know that merde!  (I’ve had to change it three times right here in hand-to-hand combat with Autocorrect.)   Phooey!  That one is the same in French or English.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Damn! Hot Dog!

My Dearly Beloved hates malls.  You and I have discussed this before.  His mall trauma has, until recently, paled in comparison to his Big Box store phobia.  I’ve always gone alone to those because it wasn’t worth the effort of having to call Security to strap him onto a dolly for me to get him inside.  It leaves so little room for purchases.

Costco is his worst nightmare.

We aren’t bulk buyers since it’s just the two of us.  I  joined Costco mainly for the  pharmacy.  My prescription not covered by insurance is about 40% less there.   One trip paid the membership.  (I recently read on Facebook that they make most of their profits on membership fees and break even on most of the merchandise. Must be true with such a stellar source, right?)

But I digress.  Tuesday, it was time for another Costco pharmacy run.  DB came willingly, along with my assurance that I had no long list.  (He agrees that I shouldn’t need to depend on the kindness of strangers when I struggle with heavy items, so he has gone with me several times now.  He’s even dropped the whimpers and martyr face.  His sighs are much softer.)  

Once in the store though, he assumes Old Fart Costco Cart Shuffle position: stooped over the cart, elbows leaning on the cart handle.  Thinking that he might enjoy looking at gardening supplies, I suggested that he head there while I dropped off my prescription for the (gulp!) coming colonoscopy prep.

Silly me.  He wasn’t even browsing.  He’d parked on the right side of the main aisle, phone in hand, looking like he was calling Roadside Assistance.  I longed for a broomstick prod.

We cruised the wine aisles and he showed enough interest to select a few bottles.  Although he’d told me that we didn’t need birdseed, when he saw the price, he stuck a bag under the cart.  Now see, THAT’S why I needed him.  Had I tried that, I would have gotten stuck in bent-over position and needed EMT assistance.  I hate for that to happen when I have frozen items in the cart.

Let me pause here to say that I bought box of authentic Moravian Meyer Lemon Cookies. . .   delightful!!!  DB chose the coffees and his own snacks, but gasped when he saw the price of toilet tissue.   He suggested that we put some of our food items back so that we’d have need of fewer rolls.   Always a thinker, that man.

He was thrilled when we checked out for less than $200 and thought we should lunch there to celebrate.  Call me a snob, but I have never had a yen to try the  Costco food court;  I did a bit of whimpering myself.  Nevertheless, I agreed.  He went to find a table and I got in line to buy him a hotdog.

My order was a hot dog, two drinks, and some kind of barbecued beef sandwich for me.  When I took it to our table, DB asked how much the spread had cost.

$7.62.

He was ecstatic!  He loaded his hot dog with their relish, onions, and mustard and wolfed it down. . . with relish of his own.   For the next 24 hours, he kept telling me how good it had been and no, he assured me, he was not still tasting it.

Today I need to go to Lowe’s to buy soil conditioner.  My man is going to help me load the heavy bags in the station wagon.  He’s offered to buy lunch afterwards at his new favorite, intimate cafe:

La Petit Costco.

(OOPS: My friend Beanie, who taught French, says that it should be Le Petit Costco or La Petite Costco, so pardon my French.  As North Carolina is already deep into transgender hysteria, I wish to offend no one.  Choose whichever you’re comfortable with. . . and let everyone else do the same.)