This summer I put up three hummingbird feeders.  There are also several plants and flowers in my yard along with trees and a small raised garden.  My favorite ordinary day pleasure is sitting on the patio enjoying my coffee in the morning or my wine in the afternoon.  Entertainment is provided by the squirrels, birds, rabbits, an occasional raccoon and once even a deer wandering through the neighborhood.  I enjoy the Cardinals and Blue Jays that hang out at the bird feeders and fairly often a squirrel carrying a nut walks within a couple feet of my chair.  Someone in the neighborhood has a big, grey tom cat who usually shows up and glares at me from under the Cedar tree at the side of my patio.  This is my happy place.

Now that we are at the end of summer and approaching autumn the hummingbirds are here.  Lots of them.  This morning there were two flitting from one feeder to another and perching in the Caster Bean plants.  This evening, however, there were at least five zooming from feeder to tree to planter to the garden to the roses to another feeder and past my head as I sat there on their way to do it all over again.  I am always amazed at how fast these tiny creatures are.  When they fly over my head the sound reminds me of a buzz saw.  I love watching them, but they zip from one place to another and back again so quickly that I can’t always ascertain whether the feathered friend on the feeder is the one I saw flying in that direction of the one that came careening in from the opposite direction.  They are inclined to dive bomb each other in mid air and chase one another through the trees.

When I took my wine out to the patio to watch the day fade into night I was wearing my red t-shirt and had on my red rimmed reading glasses for the book I thought I might read a bit of.  You probably know that hummingbirds are attracted to red.  I knew that , but did not actually think about it as I sat in my lawn chair with my feet up to watch the tiny bird circus.  When one of the tiny creatures flew under the gazebo and was hovering only a little more than a foot in front of my face I held perfectly still wanting to see if it would stay a minute.  As I was holding my breath, watching, another miniature bird came zipping past my nose and buzzed the other bird so that they both zoomed into a tree so fast I did not have time to blink before they were gone.

I picked up my book and read only a few lines when I heard that buzz over my head and then there was that bird, hovering in front of my face.  This is beginning to freak me out.  He only stayed a moment and was gone to perch on the feeder for a drink.  When he blasted by my head and hovered to look me in the eye again I finally thought about that red shirt and glasses.  Obviously I am a slow learner.

Have you ever noticed that the beak of a hummingbird closely resembles a needle?  I began to consider what might happen if a needle moving at the speed of a hummingbird met with my face and decided it would be better to move inside to my recliner to finish my reading.  I’m not really a coward, just practical.




An Almost Perfect Day

After weeks of planning the day is here.  Up early I checked off my list.

Eclipse glasses – check

Picnic basket packed – check

Coolers packed with beer, sodas and lots of ice – check

Extra towels, tee shirts, bug spray and sun screen – check

Gas tanks on the boat filled – check.

With all that done my husband and I climb into the mini-van for the drive to the marina, usually about ten minutes away and, wonders never cease, only a ten minute drive today. Arriving at the marina another near miracle, an empty parking place only a few steps from the ramp to our boat.  As we started out of the marina to the main lake the weather was about as good as it gets mid August, a little hot with a little breeze and only the occasional puffy white cloud here and there.  Motoring down the lake toward our destination the water had hardly a ripple and when we got into the bay our favorite spot was vacant!  We had our choice of places to beach the pontoon with only a handful of other pontoons pulled in to the shore and none of those close to our chosen piece of shaded sandy gravel (or maybe better defined as gravely sand).

We unloaded the coolers, picnic basket, chairs, beach blanket, foldup chairs and portable radio onto the shore and the husband took off in the pontoon to pick up the grand kids while I got organized and then sat down to read the newspaper for a few minutes.  When he returns we have the only disappointment of the day; our daughter was not feeling well enough to come out on the lake with us for the day.  COPD chooses the worst damn times to act up.

As soon as we had secured the boat we began passing out the glasses and making sandwiches.  The grandkids and their dates kept us company and we all began watching the sky, waiting for the first little crescent to appear at the west side of the sun.  After a couple of beers (a time measurement used at picnics) there it was.  Just about that same time an unusual thing happened.  All the boats in the bay stopped running back and forth.  No one was zipping along on a sky doo, no one was water skiing and no one was squealing on a towable behind a boat.  Everyone was looking up.

Now an eclipse takes a while and it appears to happen slowly from our earthly vantage point so for the next little while activity increased then decreased as people looked up, then took a break to get a snack or a drink or just rest the neck from all that sky viewing and then looked up again.  And then, brightness became less bright and more like an approaching storm then more like the sky just before the sun breaks the horizon at dawn then, wow!  Twilight in the middle of the day.  A strange not quiet night but for sure not day darkness and the sun through the glasses a black ball with the tiniest thin line of light around the edge.  Taking the glasses off for the oh so short totality the trees seemed charcoal grey instead of green and the shadows deep and dark.  The water took on a sheen like black satin and I could briefly hear crickets in the woods.  All of us were awe struck.

I feel certain that this is a once in a lifetime event for me.  It is not likely that I will be living under the totality of a solar eclipse again before I die and neither is it likely that if I am around to see another that I would share it with my grandson and granddaughter and their significant others under a clear sky floating in refreshing water with a perfectly chilled beer.

It’s all good.


An Almost Perfect Day

What I really want

I would like to go to bed at the end of the day feeling that I accomplished what was needed for the day.  I would like to sleep soundly and wake refreshed.  I want to begin the day with no decision more important than whether to wear a white shirt or black.  It would be so nice to have coffee outside with the hummingbirds and walk in the park to a bench in the shade where I could sit with a book and enjoy a soft breeze.

I want to clean my house and bake fresh bread with no thought of things outside my walls.  I want to meet new people and like them and be liked by them.  To be comfortable in the knowledge that I am loved.  To dance and jump rope and play games and laugh; laugh with abandon.  To have the pleasure of childhood in my adult world.  This business of being grown up is not working out as well as one might hope.

Therein lies the problem.  Adulthood.  The part of life with responsibilities and obligations.  Adults have bills to pay, jobs to do, families to care for, communities to be a part of , standards to uphold.  I seem to have done adulthood fairly well with an occasional slip-up now and then.  Most days I don’t mind it, even enjoy it.  And, really, I would not be a child again even if I could.  Once through each of the stages of this life is enough for me.


What I really want

I think this about that

Trump.  The problem.  For me the biggest problem.  Since last November 9 I have lost a lot of my attention span.  I don’t sleep well.  I drink more.  There are more people that I just don’t want to talk to and sure as hell don’t want to listen to.  I am not alone.  But I feel more lonely in this crazy world since 45 took office.  I don’t interact with new people for fear of learning that they support the policies of the current administration.  I just don’t want to know anymore of those.  Even so they are still around. I overhear them in restaurants loudly proclaiming how 45 is going to show those liberals a thing or two.  Why is it that these guys always make sure the whole room hears what they are talking about?  I learned at an early age to keep the volume down on private conversations in public places by my mother leaning in close to my ear and softly but clearly stating “do not talk loud in public, it is trashy and an ugly way to behave.”  Made a believer out of me.

It seems to me that freedom of speech being the first amendment is significant.  It is first and foremost what a free nation must be about.  Any and all of the citizens of the USA may say whatever they wish as long as there is no threat to others.  Of course, we hope that speaking freely would involve speaking the truth or at least believing to be speaking the truth.  Then there are protests.  A lot of people would rather there be no protests because they interfere with the delusion that there is peace.  There are those who believe when people gather to protest they should be ignored and will therefore go away.  I believe that it is important to stand up and speak out for what we believe to be right and against what we believe to be wrong.

Under the laws of this nation peaceable protests are allowed for every point of view, even the most repugnant.  Peaceable being the most important element.  What we saw this weekend was not and was never intended to be a peaceable protest.  The bigots waving Nazi and confederate flags came looking for trouble and when met with opposition made sure to escalate it to fever pitch.  Driving a car into a crowd of protesters is terrorism.  I feel pride for those who showed up and stood up for what they see as right and just and shame for those who shouted racist slurs and blatant threats to others who had an equal right to be there.  Trying to shout down any opposing speech and threatening fellow citizens makes them cowardly bullies.  In my own opinion it also makes them assholes.

Speaking of assholes, there was a school teacher on public radio a couple of days ago talking about sex education.  I was listening to this in my car and had to pull into a parking lot to keep from losing my temper behind the wheel.  This woman actually said that she teaches the girls in her class that the only way to be safe is not to engage in sexual intercourse, which is offensive enough.  She went on to say that while she is not allowed to mention god or religion she carefully lets them know that sexual intercourse leaves them damaged and that while they may not know it now they will regret the sex for the rest of their lives.   This is a person who is shaping young girls self image.  She will cause some of them to feel shame.  She will cause some of them to doubt their own competence.  Her influence could be the last straw for a child contemplating suicide.  This is disgraceful.  I have let members of the school board (yes this woman is local) know my feelings.  I expect nothing to come of that.

Girls and boys, young men and women, please learn about your own bodies and make decisions about what you do and do not do with them based on fact.  Get your information from your parents, from doctors, from adults who care about you and want what’s best for you not from anyone promoting their own agenda.

I think this about that

That’s life

There was nothing on my calendar for today and I woke up with the idea of lazy coffee out side followed by lots of reading and relaxing with maybe a leisurely walk in the afternoon and soup and sandwiches for supper followed by some television with the husband before an early bedtime.  Heaven for old people.

But, oh no, fate had other ideas. It’s raining and likely to keep raining.  The grandson has a bug problem.  So, no big deal there.  Just take him some bug spray and make a few suggestions based on my own experience with the creepy crawly critters.  It was a good excuse to love on my favorite dog who lives with his master now, as he should. So a short drive to his house, stop by the post office and then I should be free for the remainder of the day.

Oh, no, fate had other ideas.  As I was driving home with visions of red wine and my favorite recliner in my head the cell phone rings.  “Sweety?  Guess what?  The hot water heater is kuput.  We have to have a new one.”  Well damn!  My plan had been to buy myself a kayak so I could paddle my ass around the lake.  That used to be a funny thing to say, but seventy year old women rarely peddle  their ass anywhere.  But I digress.

Okay, shit happens and this is not a tragedy, just an inconvenience. So, adjust; move on; get over it. Go ahead and poor the wine and start a new book.  I love Al Franken and his newest is interesting and funny (not a bad combination). About two paragraphs in a big red truck is slowing driving back and forth in front of the house so I go outside, in the rain, and flag them down to tell them this is the place and to go around the back where it will be easy to load the hot water heater into the basement.  I turn that project over to the husband who has become severely depressed about this latest development.  He will hover over these poor guys while they try to do their job and I am actually glad about that because there is no way they will not get it done to suit him.  Later when it’s all done I will pick up his spirits with dumb jokes and a blizzard from the DQ.  He’s easy like that.

Now I am in the process of transferring my hopes for a simple day from today to tomorrow.  We have an appointment with our financial advisor in the afternoon so the day won’t be totally free, but as far as I know the mother-in-law has nothing for us to do tomorrow and the rest of the family seems to be okay.  Since we will have plenty of hot water a lazy bubble bath might be just the ticket to start the day right and since we have to be out anyway an early dinner out might be just the thing.  We’ll see how that goes.


That’s life

Still thinking

It’s almost eight o’clock on the Fourth of July and I just put down the novel I am reading to go to the kitchen for ice cream.  A Capitol Fourth is on the television and every few minutes the crackle of firecrackers erupts somewhere in the neighborhood.  This is how I celebrate these days.  Just a few blocks away at the park there is free watermelon and a band playing.  Later there will be fireworks and lots of people on blankets and in golf carts, soaked in bug spray, sipping soda or maybe beer, will ooh and ahh at the fireworks behind city hall.  I am glad they are having a good time.  I used to join in, but now I like my air conditioner, my recliner and the far away entertainment on television.

The last few days have had highs and lows, as is often the case.  But sometimes they come too close together to allow me to transition from glad to sad and back again as fast as events warrant.  Friday, after taking the mother-in-law for her cardiac rehab and some quick shopping I met a friend for lunch at my favorite restaurant.  I always enjoy getting together with someone who is not family to catch up on their world instead of keeping up with my own.  There was a gathering at my old high school that night that would have been a lot of fun, but after being out all day I just didn’t have the motivation for the forty minute drive, so I settled in at home and made a simple dinner for the husband instead.

Saturday I was looking forward to the alumni celebration for my high school and spent the day with my hair in curlers working on projects around the house until time to get ready.  That’s when I got the sad news that my brother’s father-in-law passed away after a difficult illness.  My little brother and his wife are very special people to me, so when they hurt I hurt too.  There is really nothing useful to say or do at these times.  Just send condolences and wish for them to find comfort.

Then, as I was filling my flask to put in my purse I got a call from my dearest friend from high school to tell me she would not make the dinner because her husband had fallen and may need to get to the hospital.  One more time, nothing useful to do or say so I express regrets and my hope that things turn out alright.

I checked my make up and decided it would have to do.  I look seventy years old, but then I am seventy years old, so there’s that.  Kiss the husband good bye and into the minivan I go with a golden oldies cd playing for the drive into town.  The alumni meeting was a success.  It was so good to see old friends that I do not keep up with at other times and to learn about their lives since we last met.  I relived some favorite memories with friends from all the way back to childhood, remembered too many school mates no longer with us and caught up on gossip that seemed very much like the same stories from the last time I was there.  The flask came in handy to liven up the tea served with dinner, but only one splash because I had to drive myself home.

Sunday morning I got a text from the granddaughter wanting to get out on the lake with our boat.  The husband was having one of those days when he could not decide what he wanted, so first I said yes to the kids, but then had to tell them there was a change of plans, then change plans again and finally he said he wanted just he and I to take the boat out.  So, pack the cooler and picnic basket, grab a bathing suit and towels and to the marina we go.  As we were idling out of the marina we noticed the southern sky getting an ominous grey and turned around to put the boat back in the slip, just in time for the sky to open up and poor buckets.  It was actually nice to listen to the rain on the roof and enjoy a cold beer.  Much later the sun came out long enough for a short boat ride before heading back home.

Monday the number one grandson had to have dental surgery and part of the evening was spent helping him deal with that.  One more of those situations where when he hurts I hurt.

Now here I am settled down at the end of Independence Day after only minor issues today.  The house has been cleaned, dinner done and yard work caught up.  There is nothing on my list to accomplish tomorrow, but somehow I feel something will come up as it always does.

Still thinking

Watching and Waiting

Once I lived across the street from a single mom with a son about seven or eight years old.  He was a quiet boy, polite and shy.  Occasionally his mom would call to ask if he could stay at my house if she had to work late.  He liked graham crackers and milk and playing with the dog.  Sometimes I would see him sitting on his front steps with a small suitcase.  He was waiting for his dad to come and take him for the weekend.  More than once I saw him there as I left to run some errand and saw him there again when I returned.  He would wait there, watching the street, looking toward the corner where his dad’s car would appear.  When too much time had passed he would pick up the suitcase and go back inside.  Once I asked him as I was passing how he was doing.  He must have thought I said what instead of how because he answered “Just watching and waiting”.  It broke my heart.

We’ve all done that; watching and waiting.  Maybe a teenager out later than expected.  Sitting by the window hoping for car lights to turn into the drive way instead of passing by, hoping they are just late, not hurt or in trouble.  Or maybe a better kind of watching and waiting like at the airport where your grandchildren will be arriving for a visit or watching for the mailman to deliver a college acceptance letter.

Even minor watching and waiting can get on one’s nerves, like watching the hands of a clock ever so slowly inch toward the time for an event, or just for the end of a work day.  I let myself get irritated when dinner in the oven is not getting done fast enough.  There I am pacing about the kitchen and peeking through the glass oven door to see if the meat thermometer has reached a point that will save us from food poisoning.  The most aggravating for me is waiting for what seems to be an unreasonable amount of time for an appointment with a doctor.  I guess that’s why they call that collection of uncomfortable chairs with a television tuned to something mundane a waiting room.

Right now I am watching the end of a rerun on television waiting for the late news so I can see the weather forecast to plan my day tomorrow.  I am about to give up and just adjust to whatever comes with the morning.  Feeling sleepy.



Watching and Waiting

I think . . .

I try not to hate.  It’s unhealthy.  Not that I am all that forgiving; just self preserving enough that I don’t want to allow anyone to take up space in my head.  BUT, while I don’t hate the current  president I deeply resent what has happened to my peace of mind since the November election.  What happened is I have no peace of mind because every day brings yet another even more troubling exhibition by, by, oh hell what do I call him?  Everything that comes to mind is obscene or at best tacky.  He shall henceforth be referred to by me as 45.  That’s as kind as I find myself able to be.

Before 45 I was interested in politics.  Even involved.  But the focus of my days was my family, home, friends, some projects and hobbies — just living.  I used to walk the dog and stop to visit my neighbors, talking about the weather or their health or news of mutual acquaintances.  I used to enjoy morning coffee with the newspaper and television news before beginning my day.  I used to feel comfortable making casual conversation with strangers out shopping or waiting in line or for an appointment.

Now, it’s risky letting any political issue into a conversation.  45 supporters that I have come in contact with have been vicious toward anyone who has no respect for him.  That leaves me either being silent to keep the peace or wasting my breath trying to insert a few facts into the discussion.  More and more I choose silence.

What I am most angry about is that I feel fearful.  What I want from government is that it functions well enough not to distract me from my daily living.  Instead now I wonder everyday whether tomorrow is when 45 finally does something so foolish that it ends the world.  Seriously, making plans has begun to feel useless.  Even if we somehow survive the toddler who is supposed to be leading us how damn poor will we be? Many of us are just one illness or accident away from bankruptcy or even homelessness and all the safety nets are going away.

What I am even more mad about is that this is not me!  I am a positive person, or I was and want to be.  I like people, well most of them.  I have always looked at problems as challenges, difficulties could be made into an adventure, even tragedy can be endured and grief tempered in time.  I have more to be grateful for than to complain about.  Life is good and I should be allowed to appreciate that, and I do.

Here’s the but.  Even though my personal world is good I can’t be self-absorbed enough not to care what is happening to the country and to the world.  We now have this person in the White House who is totally unqualified and so mentally deficient that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and can’t be told because he must be adored by those who could help him or out they go.  I hope the damage he will do can be limited, but I fear it cannot and I hate that.  I hate being made afraid.  I am indeed mad as hell about it.

I won’t be made to hate 45.  It’s not healthy.  Now that I think about it, that silent thing I have been trying to do may not be good for me either.  Maybe it would be healthier for me to speak my mind and let the other guys blood pressure rise.  Maybe make them to sick to vote.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  I’m baaack.


I think . . .


It seems that the world is a mess.  No, really, a worse mess than we thought.  I can’t even make up my mind which of all the horrors of the past week is the worst. In the days BT (before trump) it was sad that so much of the world is at war, that the other side of the world has no clean water and their children are dying in war.  It was disturbing that here in this country we are not cleaning up our act to stop poisoning our own water and air.  It seemed that we were sliding backward from the advances we had made in civil rights.  But now, AT (after trump) it seems there is a new catastrophe every day and we keep going about our daily chores as if this insanity is just a bump in the road. This is no bump.  This is a thousand mile sink hole that has opened up in front of us and the brakes are bad.

What are we doing about it?  For the most part nothing.  There are rants on social media and neighbors have stopped talking to each other due to being on opposite political sides.  Most folks though are going to work, doing the laundry and shopping, getting by. Several women I know are writing and calling their representatives every day.  I do a lot of that myself.  So far I see no indication that our voices have made a difference.

I hate conspiracy theories.  People who are always convinced someone is out to get them make me nuts.  I am the one always saying get over yourself.   Nobody is monitoring your facebook or hacking your phone; you are not that interesting.  But now, what if I say publicly that I think there could be a second amendment solution to the problem.  Will I suddenly disappear?

It seems to me that the conspiracy is right in front of our faces, hiding in plain sight.  The powerful who are hell bent on staying powerful know that if citizens stand together their hold over us cannot stand.  So, divide and conquer.  Make sure the black people hate the white people and the white people are afraid of the black people.  Convince women that any woman who has or would consider an abortion is a monster and convince those women who want control over their own lives that the other women are religious nuts.  Workers who belong to unions must believe workers who don’t are useless scabs.  Management must hate labor, Christians must despise Muslims, young people should have no respect for the elderly and old folks should have no tolerance for those kids.

It’s working.  While all of us little people squabble among ourselves the powerful make new rules to increase their wealth and keep us in our place.  It is possible to stand up and throw out those in government who do not serve us but that is a task that requires that we recognize the danger we face and attack it together.  We cannot change our world if we refuse to stand next to each other.



Just stuff

Today was a pretty good day.  Slept late, walked the dog, caught up the laundry and changed all the beds then made a quick supper before heading out to the high school for some basketball.  Of course before leaving the house I set the tv to record President Obama’s speech .  Back at the high school the girls team won by some ridiculous number, so much so that I was cheering for the opposing team to make a goal, please.  The boys game was better with the home team winning by three or four points (I always forget details when the game is over).

Returning home about nine or so the dog and I went around the block for the last stroll of the day.  He took care of business, barked at some of neighbors for having the audacity to be getting out of their cars after dark and peed on a few mail boxes.  The usual.  Then I got into my jammies and sat down to watch Barrack Obama give his last speech.  I am so thankful to have had this man in office during so challenging a time and I will miss the class his family brought to us.  I so appreciate that he encourages us to be responsible citizens and to never give up.

Even with encouraging words I fear very difficult times ahead for working people like me and my family.  I hope that we can enjoy the everyday things like local sports, fish fries at the lodge, parades on holidays, all the pleasures a free society allows.  But will we?  Will we be able to afford these small pleasures?  Will we be able to get help when we are sick? Will our children have a decent education?  Can our seniors afford decent housing and food?  Will we be war torn and weary?  Will we even be at all?  I don’t know, and you don’t either.

I hope we will survive, overcome even, but I am fearful.

Just stuff