Thursday, August 08, 2019

Adventures in Country Living

He comes in carrying a plastic storage container. “I need to consult with the resident poopologist,” he says. An animal squeezed through the hole at the bottom of the basement door and left a deposit in the container in the fruit cellar. We peer intently at the poop, and I posit that it is probably possum poop, although the culprit could have been a raccoon or a skunk. Then I remembered that I did detect the faint odor of skunk in our basement about a month ago.

You might be glad that I do not have a picture to share, but you can find just about anything on the Internet, and there is a surprising collection of photographs of various animal poops in case you ever need to try to figure what critter was responsible.

I do, however, have a picture of the small snake that Richard spotted in our living room later in the afternoon. I imagine it came in through the gap at the bottom of the screen door.

It bit me when I picked it up, but whatever teeth (fangs?) it had barely scratched the skin.

It lived to see another day.

Saturday, August 03, 2019


Richard is clearing the dish drainers of last night’s dishes, and he is making a lot of noise as he clatters the silverware, plates, and pots.

The noise stops. I hear him clear his throat and he is standing in the door to my office.

“Can you explain to me why there is a bone in the dish drainer?”

Well, yes. I can, except as I start to explain it comes out gibberish.

“Do I have to?” 

“Yes. I have to have my wife explain the very strange things she does,” he says.

So I start again.

“Next year on the Sunday before Easter, I think will try to do a Passover meal at Sunday School, and I need a bone to represent the Passover lamb. I found this one from that dead deer.
Last night I soaked it in bleach, scrubbed it, and it will be perfect.” 

He nods his head. Now he understands. Sort of.

This year at Easter I was going to do a presentation on the Passover Seder for Sunday School. I have some good material on it from when I put a presentation together for the kids at another church years ago, and I have a great little book.

I almost had what I needed. But not quite. I didn’t have matzo, and there was none to be found anywhere in the area. Not even at Walmart. The Jews who celebrated the first Passover did not have factory-made matzo, after all. I did find a recipe on how to make a Passover bread that could be used.

But what I really wanted and did not have was a lamb bone. At that time, lamb was more $9 a pound, and I couldn’t see spending $50 plus for a leg of lamb to get the bone. I didn’t want to use a chicken bone and pretend it was a lamb bone. Then time ran out and the presentation didn’t happen.

But in the meantime, there is a spot on the frontage road where I walk every other morning -- near where I found the first blue sock (see my last post)--that seems to be a favorite place for deer and other animals to cross the highway, and sometimes they don’t make it. I have found a dead fox there, and two does were killed trying to cross within the past several months.

The deer that was most recently killed was not scavenged by coyotes or dogs or other critters. It has finally rotted away (and the stench was terrible for a while there) and is now just a collection of bones. Although I noticed last time I walked by that something has started carrying the bones off.

Well, I don’t mind trying to pass off a deer bone as lamb bone, and so I think I am going to try again next Easter. It will be perfect, as long as I don’t forget where I’ve stored it and don’t chicken out on the presentation.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Icebag Cometh...and a Pair of New Socks

Three days a week I unofficially lead an aerobics class for active older adults at the local YMCA. And on the other three days I walk at least a mile, perhaps a little further, if my back doesn’t start hurting, and I pick up trash that people have tossed from their cars as they drive along.

Our driveway connects with a ½-mile paved frontage road that runs parallel with Highway 60/63 and then intersects with Highway 76, the 2-lane state highway that one takes to town. The frontage road picks up again on the other side of 76 and runs parallel to the highway for about another ½ mile before it makes a sharp turn and becomes a gravel county road.

I seldom walk on our frontage road because there is challenging hill. It would probably be good endurance and cardiovascular workout to walk the hill, but I don’t want to. So, I drive to the end of our frontage road, park, and then walk across.

Some trash is year round—plastic straws, straw wrappers, lottery tickets, aluminum cans (beer, soft drinks, energy drinks), food wrappers and containers from McDonald’s and other fast food places, plastic water bottles... the list goes on.

As spring segues into summer I also start picking up a lot of empty ice bags.

Conveniently located at the two highway on-ramps and off-ramps is a convenience store combined with a McDonald’s. On these hot summer days, folks decide to head out for outdoor activities, whether to float the river or to hang out at one of the big lakes to the south or other activities. They put their cooler in the back of the pick-up, buy a bag of ice at the convenience store, rip it open and empty the ice into the cooler, and then throw the empty bag in the back of the pick-up. And about 10 seconds after they get up to speed on the on-ramp, the bag blows out of the back of the truck. That’s my theory anyway. This morning I picked up 2 ice bags.

But occasionally there are strange and interesting things scattered. The other day I was walking the frontage road and came across a nice blue sock in good condition. So I picked it up and brought it home.

When I go to town on Tuesdays to pick up the mail and buy bananas (one of the local stores drops the price of bananas to 39-cents a pound on Tuesday), I usually stop at the library. So later in the morning when I drove up to the library, I was very surprised to see another blue sock lying in the gutter in front of the building.

Keeping in mind it’s probably 2 miles between where I found the first sock and the library. How did these socks come to be tossed where they did?

Yesterday I went to my friend Judy’s house to visit her and her long-time friends who are here to be with her in case she needs help while she recovers from knee replacement surgery and to drive her to appointments with the physical therapist, etc. The four of us sat around her table and discussed this briefly.

Eimi supposed that the person had slept in the car on the side of the road, and when they opened the door the sock fell out. Then they decided to go to the library because one can usually sit in a library, which is air conditioned, all day without being rousted, so when they opened the door again the other sock fell out. Interesting, but I don’t think so.

Jim recalled when he was kid their car had a large hole in the floor board and things fell out and were lost, so he decided there must have been a large hole in the floor of the car.

I did not offer a theory.

It will be an unsolved mystery, but come cooler weather in the Fall, I am going to enjoy my new blue socks.

Monday, July 08, 2019


I’ve gained enough weight that I can no longer fit comfortably in some of my favorite clothes, so it is time to Do Something About It.

And I am.

Food is being weighed, calories are being counted. Calorie counting is much more complicated than just going on some sort of a “diet”. And there are a lot of them out there. Some of them are familiar, some of them I have never heard of and sound rather weird:
  • Weight Watchers
  • Volumetrics
  • Flexitarian (what?).
  • Jenny Craig Diet
  • The Engine 2 Diet.
  • Orish
  • MIND
I remember my mom went on a diet once where she had to eat a lot of salads and she consumed so much lettuce it got impacted in her gut and she had to go to the hospital to be cleaned out.

No thanks.

I have been at this for 3 weeks now, and it is slow going. I lost 2.5 pounds the first week and nothing for last 2 weeks. No matter, I am not giving up just yet.

As I said, calorie counting can get complicated. I am very mathematically challenged, but occasionally have a flash of brilliance that impresses even my husband, who can do complicated (to me at least) mathematics in his head.

The problem the other day was: if 1/2 cup of cooked beans = 132 calories how many calories is 1/3 cup? Well, I thought, just multiply 132 by 2 and divide by 3.

Very good, he says. And I had a flashback to elementary school days and my poor, beleaguered parents trying to help me with fractions, which I could not understand. At all. They also had to come to school for conferences when I was in kindergarten because I couldn’t seem to learn to tie my shoelaces and then later in 2nd grade when I couldn’t figure out how to tell time. But I digress.

I am using the scale a lot because everything has to be weighed. I propped it up on the counter behind my 1-cup tea pot so it’s handy but off the counter.

I was working away in my office, and Richard was messing about in the kitchen, and I hear:

“You can’t leave the scale standing up like that. The juice in the battery will drain out.”

I am alarmed. What?!

I hurry in there, and he is shaking with laughter. He has done it to me again.

I am so gullible sometimes, it is so embarrassing.

Every once in a while the temptation to tease me is just too much, and he succumbs.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Another Year

Our anniversary was last week and I got distracted and forgot to acknowledge the event and am catching up now. I had been telling people we’ve been married 47 years but actually we have been married 48 years. Oh well. What’s a year.

We celebrated with a nice meal at a Chinese restaurant.

We had some discussions about anniversary presents. Some 15 years ago he bought me a lovely perfume for our anniversary. It cost $80, which I thought was way too much at the time. It has lasted that long because I only wear it on Sunday – usually it works out to once a month – and only a couple of squirts at that. And now it is almost gone. So, I suggested he could get me that.

He went searching for it online, and Gucci is no longer making that particular perfume. He did fine a couple of bottles of it online for $220 each.

Nope. That’s not gonna happen. I like the perfume, but not that much. So then I suggested Linder’s truffles. That’s doable.

I asked him what he would like. He would like a 2019 Corvette, and since he would never be able to get it down the driveway, how about $35,000 for a new asphalt driveway.

Nope. That’s not gonna happen either.

Anything else? He’ll think about.

The card he gave me said,

The more our story unfolds, the more deeply and completely I love you

That’s the best anniversary present of all.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Macaroni and Cheese and...

So yesterday Richard decided he wanted macaroni and cheese for dinner. Not quite the cachet of slapping some steaks on the grill, but it was Father's Day, and that's what he wanted.

Macaroni (well, penne actually) and cheese it is.

I'm grating the cheese to go in the white sauce, and wouldn't you know, I got a little too close and grated my finger.

And today that bare patch of skin is sort of sore. There is no flap of skin that I can superglue down over the spot to give it some protection. I'll have to put a bandaid on it -- I seem to be constantly hitting it.

So where did that little piece of skin go? I'm thinking that we may have had a little extra ingredient in last night's meal.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Father's Day

"The pages...look like the scrawlings of an hysterical octopus," Free Admission, Ilka Chase
One of the things I appreciate most about our Dad was that he wrote letters. He wrote letters to his mother when he was in the Navy. She kept his letters and they eventually came to me. I did not keep all of them, but I still have many of his letters to her.

In a letter he wrote in 1948 from Tangiers, Morocco: "...overlooking it all on the surrounding hillsides lies the international city of Tangiers, with its ghost-like Muslim women all veiled with only their eyes showing, Arabs dressed in robes and rags, and animals dashing about..."

Once we moved here, he wrote a letter every week and included comics that he cut out every day from the newspaper. I have many of those letters as well. He didn’t just stick the letter in an envelope and send if off.

No sir. His sense of humor came out when he addressed the envelopes. He carefully cut out bits and pieces from the tear-off pages from the Far Side desk calendar I sent him and other things he found in the catalogs they received, glued them on, and sometimes wrote funny things.
When I worked at the post office, and the weekly letter arrived, the clerk who handled the envelope would say, “Oh, here is something from Leilani’s dad,” and they would pass around the envelopes with much merriment.

Reading his letters took some effort. He was left-handed and his writing was very hard to read. I learned to decipher it.

There was lots of laughter in our home growing up, and he was the source of most of it. I cherish those memories. 

I miss him.

I am so very grateful that I had a wonderful father.