Friday, July 22, 2016

The Prevalence of "P"

"P" has been predominant here this week.


Purple Clematis (with pockmarks and perforations from Japanese beetles)

Pretty Lantana 

Psycho squirrels consuming Psilocybin
Because we've had some epic downpours and lots of humid conditions, we're growing crops of mushrooms in the lawn. The squirrels are obsessed with eating them (often on the picnic table), which causes them to stagger around under the influence. It's really amusing to watch but I haven't yet been successful at capturing them on video. 

Purloined Petals
See those gently arched, unadorned sticks at the top of the lilies? That is all that remains
 after the deer learned how to suck the petals off my Stargazer lilies. 

People Pursuing Pokemon in the Park
While you can't see them all clearly, there are 16 people wandering the park across from my house in search of Pokemon. It's usually deserted, so this is really quite the gathering. I'm a bit tempted to download the app myself so I can see what's there.

Also, Postures in the Park

And Plenty of Pears.

Lastly, the Prodigious Peep-mobile.

I hope that good things are plentiful in your weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


We're about halfway through Summer Book Bingo by Mary's rules (and she's the boss!) so it's time for an update. My messy card looks like this:

Eighteen books and nary a bingo, but that's okay. I'm currently reading The Son (With a family member in the title), The House of Owls (Nature writing), and One Man's Owl (With an animal as a key character) so there will be bingoes soon enough. These books are so good that I've honestly been reading them slowly. It's wonderful to be able to have excellent ongoing reads to turn to after some less than satisfying ones.

During the past two summers, I've often struggled to find books to fit into squares, but this year I'm happily enjoying how books just seem to be presenting themselves. I have had a couple of two-star duds, but I'm also finding delightful surprises, like the three incredible books I'm reading right now, and the hopefully exceptional nonfiction (What a Fish Knows) I have queued after that. I'll link to my Goodreads Book Bingo 2016 shelf in case you're interested in specifics and reviews.

There are 47 days left until the Book Bingo deadline of September 5 (midnight!) so there is plenty of time left for a good book or two. Read for the joy of reading and understanding, no matter whether you're in search of covered squares, bingoes, or not!

Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood. ~ John Green

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What Did You Say?

With aging parents comes diminished hearing. We've been struggling with my mother-in-law's inability to hear for years now. While I do respect a person's right to choose what they want to do concerning their health, it's very sad to see her isolation from the family and the world in general, simply because she can't (or won't) hear. She did finally succumb to our nagging last summer, got hearing aids, wore them twice, and then returned them. My father bought two different sets of hearing aids but hardly ever wore them, so my patience with stubborn people who refuse to help themselves when help is available has worn thin over the years.

And now it is my turn. I've known for the past year or so that I no longer hear as well as I used to. Sometimes John and I sound like a Laurel and Hardy sketch at dinner. He'll say something; I'll answer "Huh?", and his reply is "What?" I did consult an audiologist who thought that hearing aids might help me, but with our high deductible health insurance and the incredibly high cost of hearing aids, I decided to look for a lower-cost alternative if possible.

So imagine my excitement when our long-delayed Costco finally began showing some progress recently. It was started over four years ago, with lots of digging and site preparation, followed by years of lawyers battling over NJ codes and regulations. Someone finally won (or made enough money) and our Costco is supposed to open this fall. While I'm excited about being able to buy reasonably priced pure vanilla, cheese, and giant bears, the thing I'm most looking forward to is Costco's hearing aid center. I know of at least six people who have been happy with their hearing aids (and the cost) from Costco, so that's where I'll be headed soon after their doors open, hopefully hearing better at a better price.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

Uh-oh. I'm wondering where Carole got today's Ten On Tuesday prompt - 10 Songs About Where You Live. I couldn't think of even one off the top of my head, but with Google and a lot of help from friends, I did come up with a few.

  1. "Flemington" by Danny Federici. Danny was the keyboard player for the E Street Band before he sadly passed away in 2008. He's kind of a big deal around here and did a solo album entitled Flemington with a title track of the same name in 1996.
  2. "Flemington" - Tom Day. I had never heard this song, but I quite like it. I think Tom's Flemington is in Australia, not NJ, but I thank him anyway.
  3. "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)" - The Four Seasons. I was lucky enough to find two songs named for the town I live in, but then had to branch out state-wide. This one was in the Broadway show Jersey Boys.
  4. "Jersey Girl" - Tom Waits. Tom wrote the song and sings it best.
  5. "Diamond Street Church Choir"- The Gaslight Anthem. This song is an ode to the New Brunswick (think Rutgers) bar where they played their first show. 
  6. "Jersey Bounce" - Ella Fitzgerald. Because we need something besides rock on this list.
  7. "Who Says You Can't Go Home" - Jon Bon Jovi. New Jersey's second most famous rocker, he's singing about coming home to NJ. 
  8. "Trapped" - Bruce Springsteen. I got to number 8 before I listed New Jersey's most famous musician. I'm always surprised by how many people don't know this song, but it's my favorite by Bruce. There have been times I feel trapped in NJ (when I'm longing to be in Colorado), but it's simply a great song.
  9. “Governor Chris Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey Traffic Jam” - Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen. In September of 2013 our esteemed governor was embroiled in a scandal that involved closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, the busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world. This resulted in three days of epic gridlock, recounted in this brilliant parody:
    Sprung from cages on Highway 9, we got three lanes closed, so Jersey get your ass in line
    Whoa, maybe this Bridgegate was just payback, it's a bitchslap to the state Democrats
  10.  Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. - Bruce Springsteen. His first album is one of his best, and with a title like that I couldn't pick just one song. It's hard to believe that this album wasn't a big hit in 1973, but now no list of songs about where I live would be complete without him.

I was afraid my list would be all Bruce, but I'm glad Carole presented this opportunity to branch out a bit and recognize that there is a lot of music about where I live. I'm looking forward to some interesting lists and interesting listens today!

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Weekend in Pictures

This weekend included some good news, bad news, and more scary medical stuff this week; a drive in the truck to a cool spot; turkey feathers found on my walk; pasta salad; beans; plumbing (which doesn't look like much but sucked up way too much time on Sunday); some listening; and some knitting (now with two counter rings!).

Hope you had a good one!

Monday, July 11, 2016


It rained much of the weekend and the weather was downright tropical, but when it began to clear on Sunday, it was evident that the high temperatures, sun, and rain over the past week had helped the garden to provide a bounty of zucchini and string beans.

An afternoon's work provided two zucchini, mushroom, and onion quiches, some zucchini marina, 14 cups of grated zucchini frozen, 8 packages of string beans blanched and frozen, and fresh string beans ready for dinner for the next three nights. This is what gardeners wait and wish for, and I'm anxiously looking forward to cucumbers and tomatoes next. This weekend is going to provide lots of healthy, delicious eating!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Fortunes

I was feeling in need of some guidance and reassurance recently and remembered the bowls of fortune cookie fortunes* that sit on my kitchen table. I thought it might be fun to consult them but found some conflicting advice.

Okay; I can be practical.

Or maybe I'm also supposed to be patient - now. (The yucky brown stuff on some of these is just soy sauce.)

But according to the fortune cookies, patience may present its own problems. I don't want to create more stress; I don't have the capacity for eternal patience, and I really don't want to end up furious. What to do, what to do?

Remember to laugh at any jokes a billionaire might happen to tell me? 

Finally, some clear directions.

At last - words I can live by. I won't be releasing any tigers this weekend, and I would advise you to do the same. Have a great tiger-free weekend!

* I know that some of you may be adding "in bed" to the end of these, but xkcd has a different take on it.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Throwback Thursday

I'm still working on organizing photos (and may be for a long time) and occasionally I come across something good. It's 87 degrees with 85% humidity here at 9:00 am, but finding this photo of John's grandmother from 1974 made me feel a bit more kindly towards summer.

I may need to cradle my own nice cold watermelon this afternoon!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wednesdays Are for Knitting

My nephew and his significant other are having a son in October, so like the wonderful aunt that I am, I started my usual feather and fan baby blanket. I was too anxious to cast on (which really means I was too impatient to order yarn and wait a bit), so I carelessly used some Caron Simply Soft from Michael's in a teal color that I really liked. About 50 rows in I started to encounter areas in the yarn with frayed and broken plies, and then there was a huge yarn barf from the skein. It took me about 90 minutes to untangle the mess and cut out the crappy bits before I stuffed the project and yarn back in the bag in disgust.

This is what crappy yarn looks like.

Then Patty posted this.

I was immediately smitten. The pattern is perfect -- free, looks interesting, but is still easy enough for me to have a chance at finishing. And I couldn't stop thinking about that beautiful blood orange color. I went to Webs, looked at other yarn, other colors, and finally just placed my order. They must have known I was once again anxious (some might say impatient) to get started because they shipped it right away and it arrived on Friday.

Webs also sent me a wine voucher?!

The color is even better in person and I cast on immediately. I don't know how much progress I'll make on the blanket during the heat of the summer, but I do know it's a pleasure to knit with yarn that isn't frustrating in a color that I can't stop admiring. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten on Tuesday topic for today is Ten Things You Did This Weekend. This should be an easy one since we had a long holiday weekend to do at least 10 list-worthy things and plenty of advance notice so we could be sure to take plenty of photos.

  1. Kicked off the weekend with a cold beer, knitting, and watching a thunderstorm from the porch. This might not sound like much but it was a great way to relax and shift into weekend mode after a busy week. We desperately need the rain, but I did resist dancing in the downpour.
  2. Went to my great-nephew's first birthday party. He had a fever of 103°, so we only saw him for a few minutes before his extended nap, but I had a nice time getting to better know some people I don't see very often.
  3. Made lots of potato salad. I used more than 15 lbs. of potatoes to take potato salad to my niece's, and made it again on Sunday for us with the few remaining potatoes.
  4. Cast on for a baby blanket. (Thanks, Patty!)
  5. Kept up with my AKK SKAL plans. I'll be finishing my Hitchhiker soon so I can then turn some other WIPs into FOs.
  6. Did some yard work. Weeding, pruning, cursing Japanese beetles ...
  7. Watched some fireworks. I only had to take about 146 pictures to get one even remotely semi-decent one. Clearly my phone camera is not the right tool for this job.
  8. Had a delightful culinary conversation with Ryan. He initially called to complain about the administrative glitches that have prevented him from getting paid on his grant this summer. This would be an issue for almost anyone, but it's a near-crisis if a graduate student has no income for six weeks. He's working to resolve the situation, and once he had the opportunity to vent, he started telling me about what he been cooking lately (in the interest of thrift). Some of sounded pretty darn delicious, and he convinced me that potato salad would be better with some ground mustard and bacon salt. He was right!
  9. Started two wonderful books. One Man's Owl and The House of Owls are both excellent so far.
  10. Mentally prepared myself for the upcoming week. It's a week filled with scary medical stuff for my father and me. I've got knitting, books, and fortitude.
So, what did you do this weekend?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Safe Landing

I see lots of little things on my evening walk,
but there was something bigger going on last night. 

I first spotted the balloon while I was walking in the cemetery and then backtracked to the soccer field where I hoped they would land. I don't always remember to take my phone on walks, but I'm glad I had it last night!

This is the same field where we have 4th of July fireworks, only a block away from my house, so I can enjoy them from the comfort of a lounge chair in my backyard, cold beverage in hand. I hope your long weekend is a good one, full of balloons, cold beverages, and fireworks!