Santa Baby!

The sunny South has been pretty darned cold these last several days, so Dearly Beloved decided it was time to fire up the pilot light for the gas logs in our den.  The logs were here long before we bought the house and frankly, they’re showing their age, but we do love having a fire in the evening.  Every year we talk about replacing them with a prettier, more efficient model.

DB also wants to have gas logs installed in the fireplace in our downstairs playroom.  Oh, and a large flat screen TV.   He wants to make the room his office.  I do catch a whiff of man cave to his plan.  Although the fireplace down there has never been used, it has a hook for hanging a pot in it.  When I first saw it, I pictured us down there snuggling on the sofa in front of the fire during power outages, homemade soup bubbling in the pot.

Two problems with that.  First, it’s much simpler to drive to a restaurant with power than it is to assemble ingredients by flashlight.  Secondly, we don’t have an iron pot.

But I digress.  Back to the old gas logs in the den. . . .

It’s always a chore to get the pilot light going.  No flipping a wall switch; it’s a messy,  inside-the-fireplace job.  This year, DB decided to work on the logs first to see if he could make them more efficient.  That entailed a few trips to the garage to assemble wrenches,  pliers, etc.

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I was sitting close by, watching all this.  Finally, he was ready to strike the match.  Just before doing so,  he pulled his head back out,  turned to me and asked,  “Do you want one last look at these eyebrows?”

Ho Ho Ho.

What? Me Worry?

Two of our children had birthdays last week.  Children doesn’t feel like the appropriate word for responsible, mature individuals out living productive lives way out from under any parental wings.  (Heck, they don’t even live in the same state.)

Offspring sounds a bit clinical.  Kids?   I still have my stretch mark souvenirs, so I’ll stick with children.  Big ones.

The thing is, they’re all grown up.  No more concerns that they’ll be jumping off the roof, riding a skateboard pulled by a Doberman, or getting a hand stuck in a gum ball machine any longer.  Nope, they’re out in the world making solid, intelligent decisions every day.

No need to worry about our kids once they’re grown. . .  right?

My daughter-in-law recently sent back these pictures from Bermuda, where she and our son spent a few days.

That guy contemplating the bad decision looks suspiciously familiar.

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ARRRRRGGGGHHH!

“Don’t worry about a thing. . . ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

– Bob Marley

“There’s no point in being a grownup if you can’t be childish sometimes.” 

– Dr. Who

 

 

The Arthur Report

Whenever hurricanes head for the Outer Banks, I check with my brother to see if he is evacuating or staying there.  It’s an unnecessary step.  He’s always staying put, but I ask anyway.

Friends in other parts of the country see the weather reports and ask about him.  Maybe they’re wondering if BroJoe is one of the nuts waving wildly behind Jim Cantore on The Weather Channel.

I know he’s sensible–to a degree–but he loves aggravating me with false information.

For instance, yesterday he e-mailed that he was shelling on Hatteras Island. Truthfully, I wouldn’t put that past him, but the Weather Channel had mentioned an evacuation order in effect for Hatteras, so he had to be pulling my leg.

Later, he sent me a photo of the supplies he’d laid in:  two bottles of wine.  Red and white, of course.

This morning, the headline in our newspaper said: Arthur makes landfall in N.C.  I e-mailed to ask were those wine bottles floating now.  He sent back two photos and short notes in response.

THE LIVESTOCK REPORT

“Terrified. . . in the eye of the storm.”

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THE CROP REPORT

 “Damage.”

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Check.

Here in Charlotte, the weather is lovely after the much-needed rain yesterday.  Dearly Beloved and I fly our flag proudly, gratefully, on this Independence Day, 2014.
One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, One Nation evermore!

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day 2014

After my mother died, my brother and I found several photos of her which had been taken by newspaper photographers.   The pictures had never been framed, simply tucked away in a drawer along with some of her unfulfilled dreams.

When World War II broke out, she went to NC State to learn welding so that she could help in the war effort–a Rosie the Riveter.  She headed for Baltimore to work in the shipyards there.  Instead, she ended up teaching welding there.

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This photo was taken at a parade during one of our town’s big celebrations.  Centennial, perhaps?  She’s the tall one in the capelet dress.  To this day, that’s my favorite plaid.  I used to peek at the dress which had been relegated to the bottom of her cedar chest.  I’m sure she never wore it again.

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My neighbor grows the loveliest roses in town.  She gave my Dearly Beloved these to give to me for Mother’s Day.  She’d cut them just before the rains came.  They smell divine!

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Happy Mother’s Day to my daughters, moms of our five wonderful grandsons.

Happy Mother’s Day to EVERYONE, mothers of the heart.  You, too, Mother Earth!

 And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see–or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read . – Alice Walker

High Hopes

Yes, I know I whine about squirrels a good bit, like I think people in other areas don’t have similar problems.  Oh no, those folks have my sympathy, especially Natalie, my Canadian blogger friend who says they’re in the walls of her house.  Gulp.  Even Britain has squirrel problems.  Our squirrels somehow showed up over there and liked it, so now they’re considered a serious nuisance.  I wonder if some devious American took a couple over in retaliation for the starlings which are nuisances over here.

Hmmm.  Or maybe the starlings were retaliation for the squirrels.  Truce!

Having said all that, I’d like to point out that the scientific name for them is Sciurus Carolinensis.   Must translate to “scourge of Carolina.”

Remember the latest damnsquirrel episode that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago?  The one where a cheeky little tree rat climbed up onto the table on our second story deck and yanked out the boxwood twig I was attempting to root?   I figured that the “something” I saw him surreptitiously stick in the small planter was an acorn.  Was he hiding it for food or planting a mighty oak where he thought none of the other squirrels would venture.

Hard to tell what a sneaky squirrel is thinking.

Today I noticed something growing in the planter.  It sure as heck wasn’t my boxwood twig.  It wasn’t an oak seedling either. Mr. Squirrel wanted bigger nuts.

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The pecan he’d stuck in there had bigger plans, too, which didn’t include being lunch for a squirrel.  In just a couple of weeks, it had already rooted into a seedling of six inches or so.  There are no pecan trees on our street, so Mr. S. had to go some distance to procure the nut, probably traveling via our squirrel-chewed cable line.

I brought it in to show to Dearly Beloved.

“Are you going to plant it?  he asked.

I don’t know.

“You almost have to, don’t you?”  

I reckon.

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I’m wondering if I’ve fallen into the squirrel’s trap because it wanted a pecan tree.  All the pictures of nut-eating squirrels show them munching on acorns.  Maybe this one wanted something bigger and better.

I’ve read that without predators, the little turds can live 20 years or so.  Heck, he might even get some pecans from it.  Hmmm.  Now that I think of it, I might not.

It’s now planted in a deeper pot so the root can uncurl.  Although I have no idea where I’d plant it, I’m going to see how it grows.   As DB says, they’re messy trees, but they’re beautiful.  Nothing is better than the shade of a Southern pecan tree.

Provided there’s not some jackass squirrel up there, dropping nuts on your head.

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If I’m pushed, I’d also have to admit I don’t like people with allergies. They just annoy me. There seems to be something far too self-centred about it. ‘No thanks, I’m allergic.’ Why not just say ‘No thanks’? I wasn’t asking for your medical history, I was just passing around the nuts. Trying to be friendly, that’s all.
Jack Dee

 

Boxing Lessons

Fed-Ex and UPS trucks stop in front of our house quite often, but they’re usually making  deliveries to the condos across the street.  When a driver headed toward our door with a very large box recently, I threw open the front door in anticipation of a big surprise.  The guy ignored my greeting and shoved the box in on its side. The address label side was against the wall and when I bent over to turn it to see who it was from, the guy mumbled “thebottomcameopensignhere”  and stuck the electronic scanner in my face  for my signature before I had a chance to look.  He hurried back to his truck.

The bottom was indeed completely open–he’d been holding it closed with his hands, so I reached in and pulled out the contents:  a lovely, HUGE basket containing several bottles of wine, nuts, crackers, dips, spreads, and chocolates, the whole wonderful assortment wrapped in that crinkly cellophane that is used only for good things.  Jackpot!

There was no card.  I turned the box over and yanked off the label envelope.  Sure enough, there was a printed note from someone, saying Thank You and how much they’d enjoyed their stay at our mountain home.  Uh oh.  I yanked back my hand which had been ready to dive for one of the chocolates.  A  couple of issues popped into my head:  (1) I didn’t recognize the names on the card and (2) we don’t have a mountain house.

Dang!  Don’t you hate it when that happens?

I looked at the address label.  Not our name, not our house number.  The driver had transposed the numbers, like reading 4139  as 4319.  Since he was long gone,  I decided that rather than trying to contact the company at 5 PM, I’d simply take the basket up the street to the correct address.  I shoved it back into the box and when I picked it up, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to walk up there carrying the box.  Dearly Beloved took it out to the car for me.  I drove up to the correct address. . . where no one was home.

I walked around the house and found a covered porch at their back door, so I left the package there.  Immediately, I started to worry:  What if they’re out of town for two weeks? I went to the house next door and the lovely old gentleman who answered assured me that the people were not out of town.  He gave me paper and pen so that I could leave a long, convoluted note (the only kind I know how to write) about why the box was opened and how I came to have it.

A couple of hours later the rightful recipient called to thank me for my delivery.  I told him that I thought the devil had made the carrier do it because it contained such a tempting basket of goodies.

I was in the bathtub when the doorbell rang a couple of hours later and I couldn’t get decent in time to answer it. When I looked out front a few minutes later, I found a pretty gift box by our front door.  I opened it and recognized the chocolates that I’d seen a few hours earlier in the large gift basket.  Ahhhh!

Yes, honesty is its own reward, but chocolate sweetens it considerably.  I called him to say thanks.

A few days later, as Dearly Beloved and I were heading out for a hamburger, I noticed two large boxes of gift-basket size on our next door neighbors’ front porch.  “STOP,”  I yelled.  “They’re out of town. We need to do something with those packages!”Image 5

DB backed up and pulled into their driveway. He went up to get the boxes and put them in the trunk of our car, but he examined them and came back empty-handed.

“They were delivered to the wrong house.  They belong to Larry up the street.”

Once again, the carrier had transposed the numbers.

DB contacted Larry and told him the whereabouts of the boxes.  Larry was thrilled because the boxes contained speakers that he’d been watching for all week.  He rushed up to get them.

Every time I see one of the trucks on our street, I have to resist the urge to run over and make sure the package has reached its proper destination.

What do you think?  Coincidence?  Dyslexic driver?  Or are our suspicions correct that yes, we really do live in The Twilight Zone?

 

 

Fashion Gone to the Dogs

Scout, the wonder dog, was ecstatic when her “nieces,” Stella and Ivy, spent a few days here after Christmas.  They were so cute in their exuberant romps that I thought it would be fun to have a picture of the three of them.  Maybe I’d frame it and hang it over Scout’s food bowl or make little Valentine cards for her to send her friends.

It didn’t occur to me to try this until our kids were already packing their cars to leave.  It’s iffy that I could even come up with a satisfactory photo of three stuffed toy dogs sitting together, so this live shoot had little chance of success.  We gave it our best.

Scout didn’t have her collar on, so Dearly Beloved was trying to hold on and keep her still without pinching.  Hah!  Anesthesia wouldn’t have kept that dog still.  There was lawn to be plowed, flowerpots to be destroyed, races to be won.

Ivy had an unusual new “do” this trip, which made her ears look like they’d grown four inches since her last visit.  Her topknot had a personality of its own, allowing her to go from serenity to insanity in less than ten seconds.

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That’s a chunk of a flowerpot she’s carrying–the spoils from an earlier tug of war.

Scout continued to exhibit the need for speed.  Just because a dog has never broken the sound barrier doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried.

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Stella had already donned her sleek traveling coat for the return trip home.  While Stella admittedly has barking issues (a fact confirmed by our neighbor’s overnight guests very early one morning and relayed to us), she has the commands Sit and Stay down cold.

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Ivy was fascinated with that coat.  Scout, meanwhile, was still doing her best Greyhound imitations–the dog and the bus.

Ivy assessed the situation and sat.

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Dearly Beloved tried to bring Girl Scout into the picture.  Uh oh.

Ivy was still checking out that snazzy coat.

Ivy checked out the coat again.  “Can I have one like that, Mom?”

Even Scout agreed.  "Nice coat, Bitch."
Even Scout agreed. “Nice coat, Bitch.”

Out of all the photos, this one is the closest to having them do what I asked:  Okay, everybody say CHEESE and look this way!

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Sigh.  We’ll try again.  Maybe DB will work with Scout on her Sit/Stay command.  My daughter sent a photo this week during the frigid temperatures.  Looks like Ivy is already gearing up for next time.  Literally.

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