Saturday, April 26, 2014

Women with Saws, Boys with Toys

It all started quite innocently, with my making a little trip this afternoon to the garden center and coming home with a couple of herbs and a few perennials, early in the season, not much ready to plant.  But I needed to just plant something, anything.

Next door neighbor comments on how she would like to plant too, and would take me up on my offer to give her stuff from my garden to plant in hers.  And, she, being a lady after my own heart, instantly agreed on a time, today, and showed up bang on time dressed for gardening. I had pulled some pachysandra and some iris divisions for her, and we got to work planting them.  

Then one thing led to another, and I got out the loppers and my Japanese pruning saw, and we took down a hideous eight foot privet planted by the cheapo builders, and dragged the remains out to the woods, feeling victorious.  

Then another neighbor stopped by and said, oh, I would have helped (the friend's husband having declined to take part on the grounds of work..) and I agreed that it would be nice if neighbor cut the remaining stumps into oblivion with his electric saw.

Which brought out the husband, y chromosome in evidence as to competitive spirit, who proceeded to help saw,

until ALL the shrubs lining their front path, ugly things that we've all hated for years, were GONE.  

We plan to claim they were dead if the HOA argues with us. Which is pretty much true, since they were full of dead wood.  The front now looks much bigger, a lot better, and neighbor and I are planning more gardening exploits.

Just sayin.  It was one little thyme plant that triggered this explosion of activity.  The men involved did acknowledge that the women, armed with one little saw and one lopper, had done most of the work ahead of time. So that was good.

It takes a village to plant a couple of herbs, I guess.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day! Take care of our big blue marble.

The Dollivers celebrated Earth Day by sitting among the daffodils, singing along with Elton, and some of the Minivers, the other Minivers refused, since they were not in the Easter picture,  always with the political issues, and watching me wash down the chaises for the season, and pointing out the bits I missed here and there.

After a few choruses of Easter Parade, and April Showers, the chairs dried in the warm wind, and the ensemble  took up leisure pose, complete with Agatha Christie, and a warm wrap in case their little toes get cold.. 

They would like to point out that, as recycled people themselves, upcycled in the case of Elton, they are all very green.  Very Earth friendly. Just sayin'

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Life at full tilt in the neighborhood

For a clear account of this morning's neighborhood doings, you would probably need a visual aid, but it went something like this:

I had previously arranged to get friend A to do a minor bit of work at the condo where Handsome Son lives, entailing much texting to establish that A could get in, that HS was organized with the new item to install. Since A rarely reads his texts, and HS' phone will receive mine but not transmit back to me, I text, he calls,  this was fraught with obstacles.

Then this morning I went to see A who is notoriously forgetful, to remind him, but at the same instant friend B arrived on the same doorstep in search of help to open her locked bathroom door.  

I left friend A to find the little tool that would unlock it, meanwhile, friend A who has lost his phone borrowed mine to make a call to friend C to ask her to get something he's forgotten on his earlier rounds.  

Friend C gets back to me in a panic since I so rarely use the phone wanting to know what was up, baffling me totally, since her name is the same as that of friend B, and a couple of other people I've been in touch with very recently. After establishing who exactly she was I explained it wasn't me calling, it was A, and they needed to reach each other.  He had not left a voicemail, gah. 

Gave her HS cell number since by this time A was over there, and they missed  each other, phoning me between attempts!  Finally A was home again briefly and I put them together by the low tech method of taking my phone, with friend C already talking on it, to A's house and saying, here, it's C and you need to talk to her!

A had to fly back here to get a missing little screw thing, and was waylaid by contractors he's been trying to get to the house for ages with an estimate on his ceiling replacement. 

So he did that while searching for the screw thing, friend B runs back to report that the tool I lent her worked and here it was back again, and I seized the day and offered her some iris divisions, which she's been wanting for ages, and we took care of that right away. Friend C now home again, shows up with almond cookies she can't manage to eat, not well enough for them, but nice for me.

Then I go to the library and HS phones to say job at condo is done, everyone happy.  Home again ready to make a pot of tea for the patio, juuuuust warm enough for that, with the almond cookies, when I heard a hollow bang in the living room.

Couldn't see any reason for it until I went to the patio and found my dear little whitethroated sparrow dead on the deck.  He had flown into the glass, too little to withstand the impact.  He's been feeding here for a couple of seasons.  

So I thanked him for being there, and I put him on the side table next to my chair, and  took a couple of pix to see him better.  I had never been able to handle a wild bird like this and really see the beauty of his plumage, so hard to notice in flight. He had yellow touches, and rusty tail feathers, lovely colors.

So in the midst of human wildly crisscrossing activity, with friend A helping me and HS, me helping friend B, friend C helping friend A, in an endless circle, this little guy's life ended.  He's resting now, under a handful of leaves.  He left his silhouette on the glass, and I'll leave it there for now.

Happy Easter and Spring!

Since some of our blogistas are already into Sunday, it's Easter for those who celebrate and Spring in this hemisphere for all of us, and Fall in the antipodes.  It's all good.

The Dollivers have found out about the M & Ms, and posed possessively around them and the eggs, from which they chose their faves. Happy Season to all of us.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter display

I've finally set up my Easter display, with all the current eggs (minus one which I delivered to a friend) and eggs from previous years, plus the usual rag tag and bobtail of animals and little duckies and porcelain eggs.  

Dollivers not yet aware of this excitement. Wait till they hear that there will be M and Ms..

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The eggs celebrating Easter and Spring are done

This year's clutch of decorated eggs, blown and painted, are done, and can be seen if you go here: 

I have yet another camera problem!  after my great success in uploading software updates to get the thing working again, it has now started uploading at warp speed bypassing my photo software that enables me to brighten, crop, zoom, etc.  So the pix are a bit darker than I would have chosen, but better than nothing, until I solve this latest techie mystery!  if you click on them, you do see them better, though.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eggs and Astonishment

I haven't reviewed any books in a while, largely because of the Kindle incursion into my reading life,but I do tangentially, such as when the Lucia Victrix book, three volumes of the Mapp and Lucia saga of EF Benson, appears on my chaise, showing I think it's worth reading again.

But here are a couple that are amazing for different reasons:  the Knit Yourself a Zoo book, another Muir and Osborne joy, is one I just had to have, after I borrowed it from the library.  You only have to look inside to realize you absolutely need a knitted elephant, or a few meerkats, and maybe an orangutang.  Great fun.  I like their historical notes, slipped in at the beginning of the patterns, too.

Then there's Maggie Shipstead's second book, which amazing to the reader is maybe even better than her blockbusting first, which was wonderful already. That was Seating Arrangements, set in New England in what I think is a boring segment of society, but not in her hands.  She's so astute in her observation and weighing that you just give up and let it all flow over you in a great wave.

Her second, borrowed from a saying of Diaghilev, Astonish Me, goes into the life and times of a corps de ballet dancer, defecting Russian star dancers, private lives in and out of the ballet, again all places I have little interest in, but the power of her writing just grabs hold and you have no choice.  This is what happens when a story gets into the hands of a great writer.

In between being carried away by all this print material, I realized Easter is almost upon us, and it's time to blow and decorate the eggs.  Every year I do a limited number of them, individually painted and decorated, and going to Handsome Son, and to people who should have one this year!


So here's stage one: blown, rinsed and now drying ready to work on tomorrow.  And the contents to be cooked and eaten for several breakfasts this week. I only exploded one when I was blowing it, don't know my own strength!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Winning Dogs make a Command Performance

The authors of Knit your Own Dog, from which the purebreds you see here came, with my help, but not the shaggy dog and her pup, strictly sui generis, are having a book signing somewhere in England soon.

So I asked the people in Ravelry who will be there to give my personal thanks to them, and I linked  to the Westminster Dog Show entry in my blog, showing the winning dog and his friends.

But that was taken in rather poor evening light so I thought I should be fair and give them another whirl, waiting for a bus on top of my fence.  Left to right: Irish setter, whippet, wire haired terrier, shaggy mixed breed, shaggy mixed breed puppy.

It's windy today, causing many falls from the fence in the course of the photo shoot, and causing the Dollivers to refuse flatly to appear and get their hair all messed up.  I should know -- we've gone from Hat Hair weather right into Wind Hair weather. 

No awards for winning dogs today, they're all winners!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Great art opening

The solo show opening went wonderfully, and it was interesting to note how many parts of my life showed up!  students from the seventies, the chaplain who was so great after Handsome Partner's death, friends from the embroidery guild, artists I've shown with, friends and relatives of all the above, neighbors, all meeting and getting along instantly.  More than one of the participants is a blogger who plans to include this event on her upcoming blogposts. 

But the group did include people with no email nor cellphones, who wrote down numbers in little notebooks, very retro!  also very cool.  Considering the show included work based on medieval
 techniques all the way to a piece created on my ipod and exported to my computer and printed, it seemed appropriate that the people who came would be from a wide spectrum of the techie world.

for pix of this fun, go to

Now I'm off for more Lucia reading, and general collapse.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Signs of Spring

A walk on the Preserve, first since last fall, in sunshine, in the company of bees of all sizes, hurtling about, tree swallows suddenly everywhere, sounds of woodpeckers drumming and rattling, and best of all a redwing blackbird shouting somewhere on the lakeside. 

A lot of mud in the woods, but a great cluster of fox prints, too, looks like I was on their main street, many overlapping and multiple tracks, different size. Many deer tracks, too, some huge. There must be a many-point buck there.


Pix are of the view across the lake, where the trees are just starting to show red buds, before the green appears, and a tree overhanging the water with catkins.

Then there are other signs of spring: my friend's Ducati out for a spring airing.

And the chair on the patio, first time this year, set up with tea tray and Lucia book for me to sink into, as soon as I've done this!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Daffodils, finally!

The daffodils in the wood suddenly bust out all over, lovely sudden sight after such a long winter.  For new readers, this is a 9.11 tribute from our family, in honor of friends and colleagues who died that day, and it's a symbol of life going on no matter what.

It was Handsome Partner's idea

we all went to the garden center bought a giant bag of mixed daffodil bulbs, and came home to plant them.  It became a family joke, since he could walk but not dig at that point, that he pointed and Mike and I dug!  but we were happy with our project, and have been happy every spring since.  

It's the reason Handsome Partner requested daffodils be planted in his memory, rather than any other ceremonies, because he could see what pleasure as well as memory they bring back year after year. People in several countries have planted in his honor, and I get updates from them each year, which pleases me a lot.Several of my neighbors have daffodils blooming here in his honor, too.

So here they are, yay all of us and Spring!

Techie woes

So this week, I had to replace my printer, then had to replace my netbook, now have a lovely new laptop, and now find that my camera, which admittedly is a bit old, can not run on a Windows8 OS.  The software used to upload it won't run on anything beyond Windows7, which is not obtainable in new machines now, sigh.

Ed note: this is now history.....So, if any blogistas upload pix using Windows8, please tell me what camera you use, make and model.  That way I will be able to get a camera that will actually operate.  My Nikon Coolpix S50 is still perfectly functional and I like it a lot, but it won't work with the current setup.

If you know a workaround (Nikon says there isn't one, they just don't support that software beyond 7)  but sometimes smart owners know little tricks and tips to get around this sort of thing. I'm not counting the people on Amazon who said it's all about jpegs, not Windows!  clearly not grasping the situation.  Annoying at first, funny now, though.

The daffodils in our woods all came out in a lovely rush, and I'd love to show you.  Spring made it here, and I'm realizing more and more how vital my camera is to my life!  weaving this afternoon with no way of recording the progress.  Oh well, in the scheme of things not so awful.

And as you see, I did find a workaround, all by myself.  But I maintain that whining to all your friends first is the pathway to a solution, and I hereby, to prove I succeeded,  show you Handsome Son setting up the new laptop, with great pride in my cleverness at working through a forest of techie words to find the right thing to download, and succeed in so doing.  Yay me.   So disregard all the previous fussing, it seems to be history....heh.


And I'll devote a photo session to the daffodils, now that I can. Yay.