Celebration Week

It is hard to believe that tomorrow I will be starting a new decade of my life. Where has the time gone? Well, I am not going to dwell on what is past but concentrate on what is ahead. This week is a cause to celebrate and it has starte3d already.

On Friday I received a text from a friend. She and her husband were going to the Grantville Fireman’s carnival to hear Pentagon. She asked Kathy and me to meet them there if we felt like it. Now, Pentagon is an oldies group. The four of us had seen them when Kathy and I were still dating, 41 years ago. We decided to go. It was a great evening. The guy with the long white hair is the only original member of the group we saw way back when.

One good thing about the beginning of August is that I get lots of coupons for birthday freebies. Tomorrow we will use at least one of them. Kathy has to have some blood work done tomorrow. I happen to have a coupon for a free meal (up to $11.00) at Ruby Tuesday’s. An guesses as to where we will be having lunch?

After a trip to Wal Mart to pick up some things we need who knows. Maybe we will go for a free ice cream at Dairy Queen or a free Italian Ice at Rita’s.

I also have a free meal coming from Houlihan’s. This needs to be used before the 11th. I think that can be managed.

Even though my birthday isn’t until tomorrow, I decided to make myself a birthday cake a day early. Thought I would go with something I had never made before, a raspberry ribbon cake with raspberry cream frosting. The wonky center is due to the fact that the icing stuck to the top of the container.

The cake sure smelled good as it was baking so I hoped it would taste just as good. It did. Yes, I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to cut it and try it.

Didn’t need a big slice, just a taste.

I will say that I share this cake with Kathy since her birthday is next Monday. We will celebrate her big day with dinner at the Harvest at the Hershey hotel. Haven’t been there in over a year and am really looking forward to their good food and a chocolate martini.

So, with all these free meals and desserts to think about who has time to think about turning 70?

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Balloons or Ducks?

We all make decisions everyday. They affect our future, our family, or the course our life will take. Some we agonize over hoping we make the right decision. Other we make on the spur of the moment.

Many times one decision is based on a previous decision which was based on a decision prior to that. Sometimes our decision is based on what what someone else decides.

If you are wondering where this all is leading let me just say that I am facing a decision in the next two weeks and have not yet made up my mind.

Last week I received an email from a member of our African family. How would we feel about attending a wedding? If we think we would like to attend she will send us an invitation. Decision 1: Should we go. After discussing it Kathy and I replied we would love to attend.

The invitation came. The ceremony will be at 3:00 with a reception following at 6:00. This will take place in the Philadelphia area.

Decision 2: This is Kathy’s decision. What will she wear? Over the past year she has lost weight and is a smaller size. Dresses she has no longer fit well. Yesterday it was off to dress shop. She ended up buying two, one brown and one blue that both fit well and look nice. Now she needs to decide which one to wear.

That brings me to decision 3: What will I wear? I have both blue and brown jackets so whichever dress she picks I will go with the same color family. Not a big decision.

Decision 4: What tie will I wear? This, for me , is a tough one to make. As someone who wore a jacket and tie 98% of the time I was in a classroom I have a rack full of ties to choose from.

If I go with blue I can go with balloons.

If I go with brown I have ducks.

But wait, this is an afternoon wedding with an evening reception in a ritzy venue. Is either of these ties really appropriate? Maybe I should rethink.

I could go with a patterned blue tie.

For brown I could wear, as my students would call it, my hypnotizing tie.

Wait, maybe these aren’t the right kind of tie for an evening affair. I can always pull out a more conservative tie.

Whoever thought picking a simple tie would be such a tough decision? Dang it! Maybe I just go with a gray jacket instead.

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Sounds in the Night

I am not a light sleeper. In fact, when I close my eyes and settle in for the night there is little that wakes me. OK, a 2 A.M. call of nature will get me out of bed. Back in bed I am engulfed in sweet dreams in no time at all. Occasionally, though, there are those nights when after a trip to the bathroom I find it difficult to get back to sleep. I lie there staring in the darkness seeing nothing.

Hoverer, though I see nothing, there is lots to hear.

From the bottom of the bed there comes a sound.
A rumble of thunder? A jet flying by?
No, it's Molly.  Sound asleep and snoring.

From outside a car goes by.
Soon another and another.
Where can they be headed to or returning from at this time of night?

From the kitchen a sound starts.
a rumble getting louder.
The refrigerator is cycling.

A rhythmic ticking from the non-digital clock
counts off minutes I lie awake
Instead of getting the sleep I need.

From the dining room comes a familiar sound.
A rasping hacking sound demanding action.
Dustin just delivered a furball.

Guess I gotta get up!

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Abandoned

To me there is a certain kind of sadness that is brought about by seeing a once busy place abandoned by those who once took pleasure hanging out there. Not seeing the daily activity makes me feel like there is something missing in my day.

This is so true now when I look out the window in our dining area. Once a flurry of activity with birds and the occasional squirrel, the feeder outside outside our window sits empty. It is not because I have no seed to put in it. It is not because I don’t want to feed the birds. It is because we have been asked not to feed them.

Perhaps you have seen in the paper or heard on the news that people have been finding dead birds on their lawn. Thankfully, we have not had that happen here. No one seems to know what is going on with them. City Wildlife has informed people to take down feeders and birdbaths to help curb the infection that seems to be spreading through the bird population.

Although I haven’t taken down the feeders, I no longer fill them. Because of that birds have stopped coming to our window. An occasional one will sometimes fly to the feeder and sit on it looking for something to eat,. I swear that it sometimes looks in the window at me as if asking, “Where’s the food?” It makes me sad that I don’t give them anything. Hopefully the time will soon come when we are told we can start refilling feeders and the birds will be back. Until then I just look at the abandoned feeder and sigh.

Unfilled and unused
Happiness and joy are gone
When will life return?

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Something’s Missing

Last week I wrote about going to the King of Prussia Mall to get the batteries replaced in my Swatch watches, but something was missing.

As I wrote, I ended up buying a new watch, but something was missing.

We got to the mall around 2:30 after a 2 1/2 drive, but when we got there something was missing.

We parked by the lower building and entered the mall on the second level, but something was missing.

As we entered the mall Tiffany’s was on our left and Louis Vuitton was on our right, but something was missing.

Other stores in that section included Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Cartier, and Gucci, but something was still missing.

Because of the time I was ready for some food, but where we were something was missing.

We walked a bit an found a mini food court which we checked out, but something was missing.

Since I like Mexican food we decided on California Tortilla, but something was missing.

The girl behind the counter saw me checking out the food choices and she gave me a menu to make it easier, but something was missing.

Kathy and I looked it over and made our choice, but something was missing.

The classic quesadilla sounded good to both of us so that is what we ordered, but something was missing.

We got some chips and queso and a soda each to round out the meal, but something was missing.

Have you figured out what’s missing? The menu has calorie counts but no prices. I had no idea what the cost would be until it was rung up. Were the prices missing because we were in the high end section of the mall? It didn’t matter. The food was delicious and I would go back again.

In case you are wondering, two quesadillas, tow small sodas, one order of chips and queso plus a tip came out to $35.00. This was not even a restaurant but one of many stands in the food court.

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I Just Wanted Batteries

Yesterday was our second day of 90+ degree temperatures. I had planned to do some outside work but decided against it because of the temps.

Kathy had a 10:30 PT appointment which we figured would take about an hour. She was home in less than 10 minutes. Where she had to go was just up the street from our house.

Now, she was all dressed because of her appointment. I was not going to do outside work because of the heat, so, what should we do with the day?

I had a suggestion. I had two watches that were dead and needed new batteries. Kathy had six. They are Swatch watches that we bought during different trips to NYC. I knew we were not going back the the Big Apple anytime soon so that we could get the batteries replaced. I searched on line and couldn’t find a way to order just batteries. The watches had to be taken to a store.

There are no stores in the Harrisburg area. The closest one is at the King of Prussia Mall near Philly. I looked at Kathy and made a suggestion – road trip. She agreed.

I got myself ready and we took off for the two hour trip. In some aspects I am cheap. I didn’t want to take the turnpike and pay a toll so we took rt. 422 instead. It was a nice trip.

Now, we haven’t been to the King of Prussia mall in years. It sure had changed. Our mask mandate was lifted yesterday, but we still took ours and wore them. I still feel more comfortable doing this.

Once we got into the mall we had no idea where the Swatch shop was. Luckily they have interactive directories so we were able to find the store and the route to get there.

Of course having lunch was first on my list, but I will save that for a future post.

We found the store with no trouble and gave our watches to the gentleman behind the counter. While he changed the batteries we looked around the store. I just came to get my two watches back in working order. I did not come for a new watch. I don’t need one. I have several and now all of them work. I also have a phone that tells me the time when I want it.

So, what did I do? You guessed it. I got the batteries replaced and I bought a new watch just because. Hey, what’s one more? (Old eyes need big clear numbers to read the time.)

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An Unexpected Visitor

Living in a rural area we don’t get unexpected visitors often. Most who come to visit make arrangements beforehand to make sure we will be home and the day and time work for everyone. Most of our unexpected visitors happen around election time when a candidate might come around asking for our vote.

All of our other visitors are limited to the birds and squirrels that visit our feeders. These are not unexpected because we fill the feeders to encourage them to stop by.

This is all leading up to something that happened the other day. I noticed that the bird feeder was empty so I picked up the container of seed we keep by the door, opened the door, and was ready to step out onto the porch.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at the end of our driveway and saw someone standing there that I never expected to see in our yard. I called Kathy and we both stood there watching as he approached the house and then stepped up on our porch.

Where you came from I do not know.
Seeing you was unexpected.
You are not from the neighborhood.
I knows who lives around me.
Did you come from the top of the hill?
A good two mile hike by anyone's standard.
Were you seeking someone or just out for a walk?
You were quite vocal though I understood not a word.
I left you alone. Did yo go back home?
Safe and sound after your morning outing.


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Celebrating

Usually we associate fireworks with the Fourth of July. Here in the valley we don’t. Fireworks are for the middle of June. Let me explain.

Each June we hold a fireman’s carnival in the park, which just so happens to be across the street from our house. It is a four day event starting on Wednesday. Thursday is parade day where firetrucks from all surrounding communities parade through the community ending up at the park for good food, good drinks, and live entertainment.

The carnival ends on Saturday with a half hour fireworks display. Living across the street from the park we are lucky. We can open the front door and hear the music coming from the park without having to go over there. On Saturday we can sit in front of the picture window and watch the fireworks without leaving the house. That is exactly what we did on Saturday.

The display started around 10:00 P.M. and was finished aby 10:30. Because the carnival and fireworks were canceled last year due to COVID, this year’s display brought huge excitement to the community.

Although it is hard to get good pictures of fireworks, especially through a window where part of the inside of the house is reflected in the picture as well, here are just a couple of what lit up our sky on Saturday night.

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Bits and Pieces

It was a quiet week around here. Nothing earth shattering happened, thank goodness. I like quiet weeks where I just go about doing things day-by-day. Some things need to be done. Some things I just feel like doing.

One thing that needs to be done most weeks during the summer month is mowing the lawn. I usually like to listen to the weekly forecast on Sunday and plan my grass cutting day accordingly. I don’t mind a hot day, but stay away form a day that is too humid.

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We had our first heat wave of the season, three consecutive days with temps above 90 degrees. Up until then we had been using a fan to keep cool. At night the ceiling fans kept us comfortable as we slept. With the heat wave and rise in humidity I broke down and turned on the central air. I admit that having central air installed several years ago was one of the best moves we made.

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Over the weekend I got hungry for a piece of cake – not just any cake but a coconut cake. I could easily have gone to the store and bought a slice or even a whole cake if I wanted to, but I didn’t. I decided to make one instead. This is not something I would have done if I hadn’t turned on the central air first. Hot oven in a hot house doesn’t sit too well with one of us. Anyway, I had a recipe I hadn’t tried before so I thought I would give it a whirl. Turned out pretty good.

Of course, no day would be complete without some reading time. Right now I am reading Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag. She usually has a good story to tell, if you like stories about solving horrific murders, which I do. Since there is nothing worthwhile on tv, my opinion, evenings are the perfect time for coffee, a piece of cake, and a good book.

I do enjoy quiet weeks.

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Losing a Limb

I enjoy puzzles. I guess my favorite is the daily word jumble followed by the sudoku, both of which are printed in our daily paper. Another kind of puzzle I like it to spot the differences in two pictures. This help me see how sharp my eyesight is.

Here are two pictures for you to look at. Other than the fact they were taken in different seasons and one one tree is bare while the other has leaves, can you spot the difference?

Last Wednesday we had some heavy rains and strong winds. I admit that I slept through them and didn’t hear a thing.

I went to put the garbage out Thursday morning and saw sour neighbor walking toward me. He had told me that our tree lost two limbs during the night. Since they fell across the road he had his chain saw out and cut them up to move them. I didn’t hear the storm. I didn’t hear the limbs come down.

This tree was on our property when we bought the house over 30 years ago. I have have it trimmed several times over the years. We have lost some small branches during the winters and during some storms, but nothing like this.

In case you can’t immediately see where the branches were, here is another shot:

As you can see, these were not small thin branches that came down. Thankfully the tree is at the back of our property and not close to any buildings. Thankfully we also have a good and helpful neighbor.

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