It’s summer and the living is easy

Although the first week of summer break was spent with our kids and helping take care of the grandchildren, I am feeling a bit more relaxed and rested after a second week of doing very little.

The weather has been sunny and warm which helps me feel good. Terry took my car on Monday to be smogged and washed. I got it serviced on Tuesday. Next week I will go to AAA and get the car’s registration for 2020. My new glasses were picked up on Friday so now I can make an appointment to renew my driver’s license. I wanted new glasses as I will have to take an eye exam at this year’s renewal as well as take all the paperwork for a “real” ID. All the work that revolves around driving and the car I drive!

Since I missed the last chaplain’s meeting, I had to take my books and leftover materials down to the chaplain’s office. I had a couple of articles to share with the director of the program on how being engaged in life and working with others as we age helps us to live longer and healthier lives. Our local hospital had printed one of the articles in their latest newsletter and it sounded like good recruitment “propaganda.”

The article talks about loneliness and how loneliness can lead to higher risk of health issues like cardiovascular disease and depression. The University of California at San Diego has found that people are less likely to feel lonely when they have more “wisdom” in these areas: general knowledge of life, emotion management, compassion and a sense of fairness, insight, acceptance of divergent values, and decisiveness. These are also the concepts we teach to the first graders.

I enjoy the work I do with others and I also enjoy getting to rest and stay home and get some chores done. I was able to orange oil all of the kitchen cabinets as well as the wall unit in the living room. I read lots of books and have ordered more from Powells and the local library. Our hot summer afternoons are perfect for staying indoors and reading after getting chores done in the cool of the morning.

Next week I will work in the backyard and also have some fun with the Ladies Who Lunch as we are heading out to buy berries at a large growing operation south of town. The berry season only lasts about a month so we have to be prompt or we will miss out on these local berries.


The yardman cometh

He was only five hours late and he had a good excuse. His 15 year old niece had gone into labor and he was at the hospital with the family, and he had to get another yard done before coming here. After he did another great job making the front yard look better, as well as trimming the tree so I can now see out across the street and beyond, we stood on the front porch and talked about this new life and the mother.

His niece has been “in the system” for years, being in many foster homes. He and his wife had her for awhile until the child welfare system felt their home was too crowded (they have two children of their own) and moved her on to another home. There is family willing to step up now and care for her and the new baby, but I could tell that Victor is concerned. “We are praying it will all turn out well.” I encouraged him to make sure the father’s name is on the birth certificate. It will matter in time.

I gave him extra money and told him to get the baby a gift.

About the slab pie, I have run out of space to post photos unless I delete previous photos, or begin to pay for my blog site, which I refuse to do, so please check my Instagram account for photos.

The gardner stood me up so I baked a pie

A couple of months ago a fellow and his dog came by, knocking on doors, looking for yard work. His main pitch was for power washing, but I asked if he could prune shrubs. Yes he could. He quoted some ridiculously low price to do the whole yard. I took his card, and a week or so later I called and asked him to come prune those shrubs. I knew Terry was not going to do them.

Victor came one afternoon, as promised. and worked very hard all afternoon. His family–wife and two small children–came later, after school was out, and helped. He did a really good job, and I paid him well with a promise to call when the shrubs grew out.

Victor has since been taking care of the front yard across the street, and since the shrubs in our yard are again looking overgrown, I went over on Monday and asked if he could come again to make us look better. He set a date of this morning (or so I thought) at 8 am. I was up at 5:45 so I could be ready to greet him. It’s now closing in on noon and I’ve not seen or heard from him. I’m thinking I got the day wrong when he said next Thursday. Maybe he meant the following week’s Thursday.

In the meantime, while waiting for Victor, I experimented with a slab pie. Have you ever baked a pie in a rectangular cake pan instead of a pie pan? I’m thinking it would be easier to serve to a group (like after-church coffee fellowship) than round pies. Small squares like brownies instead of wedges of pie. I used a disposable aluminum cake pan, refrigerated pie dough (2 rolls), and my pecan pie recipe that gets rave reviews. It just came out of the oven and looks good, but as my mother always said, the proof is in the eating, or in my case, the serving. I’ll let you know. About the pie and Victor.

Ace Hardware saves the day

Depending on where you live, you may know about the closure of Orchard Supply Hardware stores. Lowes bought them out a few years ago and then decided to just shut them all down, with the idea that people should shop at Lowes instead. (Horrible idea in my book, but who cares what I think as I don’t seem to be anyone’s target market anymore.) I refuse to go to Lowes so I have been missing my hardware/garden store fix. Today was a game-changer.

Ace Hardware has reopened in a few of the shuttered Orchard stores. One is in a small town south of Fresno, Visalia, and now in a northeast Fresno location. It’s not convenient for me, but since I was halfway there when I dropped Terry off for his cardio rehab session, I decided to go check it out. The store and its garden center are so much like OSH. Especially the garden center.

I love plants and flowers but I don’t have good luck with flowering plants. Large shrubs, trees, yes I can grow those in my yards, but flowers just don’t do well in the hard clay soil. I have a couple of pots that are doing okay, but even then, not like the garden center.

The garden center also has fountains, water elements, for one’s yard. I would love a fountain in the backyard. The sound of burbling water makes me happy. However, and it’s a big however, it takes electricity to operate these fountains and I’m not gung-ho to add an electric cord to my yard. Also, when turned off, the water would stagnate which attracts mosquitos in our area. I have a decorative birdbath that I must empty anytime we have rain so as not to have water pooling there and inviting the mosquitos to lay their eggs.

For now I will have to go get my fix for flowers and burbling water at the Ace store every week or so. I have more time now that school is over for this year. Maybe I’ll make a habit of taking Terry to cardio rehab.

Summer light

Such a joyful morning. The air is clean and fresh. The sun is shining, casting shadows through the trees and making designs on the living and dining room walls. The day stretches out in front of me with so many possibilities.

Last week was the first week of summer break for me from school, but we spent it in the bay area with our kids, with the concern of our daughter’s health hanging over us. Today I feel the freedom of summer break. No responsibilities for the moment. Our daughter is doing better which makes me feel lighter.

On Sunday I attended a chamber music concert. (You can read about the offerings here.) The group, made up of local musicians,  celebrates its 25th year of performing, most of those years in our church. It is a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The music is wonderful, and again, no responsibilities but to sit there and enjoy the moment. That’s the group’s name Moment Musical. Often there is a harpist. Yesterday there was a bassoonist. Twelve musicians performed yesterday. More joy.

After so much darkness, I am going to revel in the joy of this morning’s light and today’s warm temperatures. Welcome summer. Please stay for a long time.


If you can travel around the world…

I’m in a quandary. Just recently I have been hearing about people taking trips, like cruises, or long flights, or driving cross-country. Some are going to Europe. Some to Asia. Trains. Planes. Automobiles. Ships. That’s not the quandary, though. Lots of people travel.

I don’t enjoy travel as I hate to be a tourist anywhere. I like to know my surroundings and know my way around. I like my own things. I have trouble digesting strange foods. Bathrooms are important to me. Access and cleanliness. I can, though, climb stairs. I can hop over curbs. I can easily dispatch from a car or train or bus. I can haul stuff like a suitcase or extra bag. I am organized and efficient. When I commit, I follow through.

So, where does this all lead? Back to those people I’m hearing about who have or are taking extensive trips. Many are not organized and seem to be very inefficient in getting tasks accomplished in their own neighborhood. They don’t offer to do any more than bare minimum. They have trouble maneuvering from car to building. Even pulling out a chair can be cumbersome. Climbing, hopping, hauling? Nope, nope, and nope.

There are the ones who cannot change their schedules very quickly. They have trouble working with a group of people. Often they miss a meeting because they didn’t sleep well the night before. And yet, here they are, traveling in foreign countries, driving on strange roads, getting to airports on time, dispatching cars, buses and trains. Doing, what I consider to be, very hard and stressful work

I guess my quandary comes down to this:  if you can travel the world, why can’t you get more accomplished on your own turf where you have the comforts of home? Asked by someone who loves the comforts of home and hates to wander very far.

A goldilocks’ day–perfection

Terry and I are back home after four days with our kids. I’m glad we could be there and offer some assistance and spend time with the kids, and I am also glad to be back in my own house, with my own things. The cats were cared for by our neighbor, but a couple of them were not pleased to be left. They have stuck close to us since we’ve been home.

The weather on this first Saturday in June is perfection. Warm. Sunshine, Dry. I am so tired of gray, cold, wet weather. If I wanted that kind of weather, I would move to Oregon. I am doing my writing while sitting on the patio, looking out onto the shady backyard. Since the forecast calls for 90 degree temperatures all week, I have watered all of the yards. Our trees are providing lots of shade so there should be plenty of cool spots for the kitties to lie about. They too enjoy being outside in nice weather.

Our daughter saw the neurologist late on Friday and was told she is doing well. She is to take it easy for four to eight weeks. Hah! Her idea of easy and the doctor’s idea are probably 180 degrees apart. I’m sure she did not question the neurologist, either, about exactly what she can and cannot do. She will make up her own mind as she goes along.

One of the fun parts of this past week was taking our grandkids to school each day. The staff at their school love them and our daughter. She volunteers quite a bit at the school, especially in her son’s first grade classroom where many of the students do not speak English. Jen is very good at Spanish and has found she can handle some Portuguese, too. She has taken the initiative to sit and help these children while she is in the room. Because she has a heart for second-language learners, the school asked her to be on a district-wide committee for language acquisition and she has somehow become the chairperson and needed to sign off on the agreement that will be submitted to the State Department of Education for funding of the those programs. Another task to add to an already hectic week.

Jen’s schedule reminds me of how I lived my life while she was growing up and even up to the point of retirement. Every day full of activities and obligations. Throwing a concussion in the mix just doesn’t work!