Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day to the Best Generation!

Yesterday afternoon, I headed up to Portsmouth Naval Medical Center to clear up a mistake I had made with one of my prescriptions.  I detest bureaucracy in any form and have to mentally "gird my loins" so to speak to deal with it.  

I do believe that your attitude controls a good deal of your outcome, so I prayed for grace before I drove the short distance from home. I gathered my stuff and stopped off at the hospital's Subway for a diet Minute Maid lemonade,, my favorite.  

I settled down to wait with my Kindle after pulling number 668.  I was the next number called...go figure.  I am so grateful for my Navy benefits which include free prescriptions and fantastic medical care at a state-of-the-art facility a mile from my house. Even though I had made the mistake, pharmacy staff members were gracious, helpful, and polite, quickly resolving the situation.

In the short time I waited, I met this man, Chief James J. Gordon, who told me he served on three different WW 2 ships which sank. When I asked him how he survived he simply said, with a twinkle in his eyes, "backstroke."  Chief Gordon ended up on the USS Shangri-La, which survived the war.

It seemed fitting this morning to celebrate an American hero of the Best Generation.  Happy Veteran's Day Chief Gordon.

Thank you to all who have served, especially a dear 93-year-old in a wheelchair.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What's That Smell?

This is a little island I set up in my long, narrow kitchen.  I like to change it out seasonally.  Down below is a place for rolling pins and vintage bowls that I collect here and there when they are not ridiculously expensive.  This was a microwave cart in another life left out for garbage collection.  I love red spray paint, what can I say?

And there is my morning cup of Joe as is said in the Navy, in my dear Starbucks mug with the NY skyline and the yellow taxi in the lower left near the corn husks. One of the small luxuries of my life, which I'd find difficult to part with, is the cup of coffee, laced with cinnamon, which Bruce leaves for me every morning, in that cup.. On the weekends, we get all fancy and froth it up with a cool device my sister got me for my birthday.  It also froths eggs for amazingly fluffy omelets.

The last couple of mornings have been marred by THE SMELL (cue in the music from Jaws).  Ever have one of those phantom smells, unpleasant ones, of course, that waft from some unknown spot in your home?  You look in the fridge and the freezer.  Yesterday, we pulled out the stove and cleaned behind it.  Didn't help.

Lulu, a former stray who used to survive from garbage cans and road, kill now literally turns her nose up at plain ole kibble.  We rig up all manner of human food to put on top of the dreaded Kibbles and Bits to entice her.  Lately, her snack de jour has been stinky canned salmon.  She loves it...the stinkier, the better.  The smell first thing in the morning makes me want to barf.

I pulled everything off the counter and cleaned with diluted bleach.  I thought I might have spilled some stinky salmon juice on the curtains I have under my sink.  Nope, but they might have needed a wash and an iron, though, so I did that.  

I boiled an apple and put cinnamon and vanilla extract in the water,  The downstairs was suffused with cinnamony goodness, but that smell about mid-kitchen was still there, getting grosser and grosser.

That smell was starting to take on epic proportions for me. Ugh...was it a dead mouse?  We don't have mice, but it is an old house and it was possible that one could have happened in during this cold snap.

See that cleverly eclectic Indian corn and all on the kitchen island?  I used to have a cool glass pumpkin filled with little gourds.  Gourds, which were liquidizing and rotting inside.  Not too cleverly eclectic.  The word ooze comes to mind.  Actually, if you get right down to it, it was a totally disgusting science experiment.

I really wonder about myself when I realize how many times I walked past it but didn't actually see it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Late Fall Marble Top

Whenever I get to feeling a little "down" (like this week, when I got bitten by a dog) about something, I first count my blessings - out loud, up to 20. If that doesn't work, I try to make something better.

I get enormous satisfaction from making things better.  Such things include ironing and mowing the lawn. Both tasks are similar in that you simply push either an iron or the mower (I don't do riding mowers) and toute voila! all is well.

Spray some starch or squirt some water from a spray bottle, back first, front, front, sleeve, sleeve, and collar...all is well. Start up the mower up and down the back yard, around that bumpy place where the pine tree once stood too close to the foundation, and things look swell once again.

When all else fails and all the ironing is done, I change out the mantel or a dining room tablescape or my Grandmother Helen's old marble top chest.

Here is the new late Autumn arrangement.  I'm not too sure how my Nana (my other grandmother) would feel about being under glass beneath a cloche with an old wooden shoe form.
Since she was a little difficult, I think the rest of us feel better with her constrained in this way.

Who Let the Dogs Out?

We went to Cracker Barrel last night.  You see, I got bitten by a female dog this week…TWICE.  Bruce says that the term “crazy bitch” is applicable and correct right here for this skittish female cattle dog.

I had to have IV antibiotics in the ER and was discharged with anti-nausea pills and an antibiotic prescribed for a week, a “cure” which has left me feeling as though someone has scrubbed out my stomach with Fels Naptha soap and a wire brush.  I wanted something bland and comforting like chicken and dumplings for dinner, hence Cracker Barrel.
The only other thing which has actually “cured” this condition is a carbonated drink which Starbucks makes, with fresh ginger syrup.  If you ever wondered if that old adage about ginger soothing the stomach works, I am here to say “Amen” and “Tell it, Sister.” (And no, this is not a sponsored post!)

I was helping out a neighbor who is in a chaplain’s residency at the local Catholic hospital.  Her dogs needed to be let out.  She moved in next door to the house my beloved Lauren used to live in. 

Lauren, shown here above at graduation with her Dad and Sis,  moved on to Coast Guard Sector Baltimore and lives in the weirdest and yet the coolest studio apartment EVER with the back wall of the apartment all exposed old brick. She is the first female Coast Guard firefighter to serve there.  We are so proud of her.

The apartment is “bagel shaped,” as my family calls every oddly shaped space. She lives near the Orioles' Camden Yards, so guess where we all will be going to see the Yankees play baseball next year?  I miss her terribly.  I might add that Lauren has an ENORMOUS French Mastiff who would never dream of biting anyone.

My new neighbor has to work some long overnight shifts, so I offered to let the two dogs out so she didn’t have to race home on a half hour break.  File this under (as my curmudgeonly grandfather used to say) “No good deed shall remain unpunished.”

The first time, all went smoothly.  The second time, the weather was so beautiful that I let them stay in the fenced backyard for a few hours, rather than just let them out briefly.

When I turned to leave, with no provocation she jumped and tried to bite me in the face.  I raised my arm to deflect her and got a little bite there.  She proceeded on to bite me to the right of my knee where I got four little puncture wounds from her needle-sharp teeth.

I received two little notes under my windshield, one cute and sincere as can be.  The first said how sorry she was.  The second told me how our mutual neighbor, Carol, would now be letting out the dogs on those long days.  Seriously?

Call me madcap, but if your dog ever viciously bites your next door neighbor (a woman who has owned two pit bulls and one wolf/malamute hybrid and emerged unscathed) you might want to consider that it could be the dog and not the person who let the dog out.  Just a thought from those of us in the know.   

I thought about that statement, “Carol will let out the dog” and at first I fumed.  Then it started cracking me up.  Common sense isn’t too common.
I was rereading this and wondering if I’d digressed too much.  You see, this entry was supposed to be about aging and Glen Campbell.  That’s okay, you already know how I am and the Wichita Lineman is still on the line…

Saturday, November 8, 2014

White Picket Fence and JenEvans

I love white picket fences, don't you?  I especially love this kind, along my walk route in Port Norfolk The graduated pickets in the fencing give an almost ruffle effect.  Notice the wrought-iron latch for the gate.  I thought about saying how the graduated pickets "undulate" along the property and then thought better of sounding like a little poindexter smart aleck, which I am, but still...why advertise?

This morning with the sunshine warm on my face, I reflected again how Autumn is my favorite season.  It is all bright colors, the smell of burning leaves, and gathering in of the harvest.  I am grateful for the very late and long Fall we enjoy in Southern Virginia.  Leaf-wise we are 5 weeks behind my NY/New England friends.
Speaking of NY Friends, via a Stony Brook (Long Island) New York website, my high school friend Jennifer Evans got in touch with my sister, Kerry. She and I visited briefly via Facebook this week. What a pleasure.

I hadn't purposely lost touch with her,but since I hated high school with a loathing I can hardly put into words, and since I moved to NY City prior to graduation, and since I even skipped graduation because I couldn't and still can't care less about such things, I can see how we lost touch.

I should clarify here...contrary to Dr. McKrell's concerns, I did, in fact, graduate high school with a Regent's Diploma and currently have a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice...I just didn't attend the CEREMONY.  Which has nothing to do with liking my friend.

She reminded me in a posting about how we and several other friends went to the NY Yankees ticker tape (truth be told there was as many flying toilet paper rolls as confetti and ticker tape.  And speaking of confetti, we had a rather dim high school friend who looked up that day and referred to all the "graffiti" the crowd was throwing.  But I digress.) parade in 1978.

Now I don't know about all her other friends, but it occurs to me that for some odd reason, I always thought of her in my mind as one word, JenEvans.

When my mother called me about Kerry finding her (she always loved her the best of my high school friends) she was doing the same thing; not Jennifer or Jenny or just Jen, but "JenEvans."  JenEvans was (and I'm sure still is) a GOOD EGG.  A girl you could depend upon to watch your back at a ticker tape parade and a good listener.

In my work as an officer in the sex offender investigative unit for a state police agency, I can see how much damage social media can do when kids are targeted by predators.  But isn't making contact with someone like JenEvans just the best thing EVER?