Saturday, November 14, 2015

Just ask anybody!

They will tell you there are two day out of the whole year about which my whole world revolves. Each of these days I anticipate and prepare for...excitement growing.  One I love and one I hate (yes, I know hate is a very extreme word)...okay, okay, one I dislike.

For a lot of years I thought I was the only one emotionally attached to these two days so I sort of kept my feelings about them to myself.  I do a lot of peering out the windows of my home secretly hoping I can prevent one of them from ever happening, while wishing the other could happen sooner.  I tell ya' my life's been a roller coaster ride. Then a couple of years back these days came up in a conversation I had with one of my daughters and found out she had a...a...a...thing about these two days as well.  I was taken aback.  Whew, it felt good to talk about it.

There are plenty of signs these days are coming, matter of fact they are both imprinted on the calendars I buy each year.  So you see, they do not come as a surprise.  Of course I'm talking about the Summer and Winter Solstice.  I hate...'er dislike the summer one and can't wait until the winter one arrives.  Guess what?

The other day I was pondering and gazing out my window as twilight approached around the 5 O'clock hour when it hit me...Wasn't it just about time for the Winter Solstice?

My heart began to race, my hands began to sweat and I almost fell over Zorro in my haste to get to my calendar.  I flipped the page over to December and checked the date it clearly showed the magical day was on the 22nd.  I turned the page back to November and began to count.  At the time the number was's even less today.  Whoop, whoop.

So be prepared because on that day I'm going to be doing my hippity, happity, giggity, diggity dance. And the climb begins back to the second day of the year that I'm not quite so crazy about; there's never any dancing on that day.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


I'm washing potatoes and happen to say to nobody in particular.  "I wonder why people used to say it was okay to eat a peck of dirt a year?"

Frankie rolls her eyes, "You mean in 'olden' days?"

I smile broadly knowing I've got her hooked into a conversation.  "If you say so."

She puts her elbows on the kitchen counter and leans in to inspect the potatoes nestled into the bottom of the pot.  "You missed a spot."

"Think about it Frankie. I had an Aunt that swore it was okay to eat a peck of dirt a year and we would go pluck a radish from the garden, rub some of the dirt off on our sleeve and give that thing a darn good chomp.  Today, I don't think I would be willing to do that."

"Okay," Frankie sighs deeply, "just why is that?"

I clear my throat ready to pontificate.

"I think dirt was cleaner in 'olden days'."

Frankie loses it practically rolling on the floor.  "Cleaner dirt...baaa, haaa, haaa, gasp, giggle, giggle...cleaner dirt...gasp, gasp."

"No, seriously.  Think about it.  When America was but a babe the soil was virgin, mostly untouched by human beings.  Oh sure, animals did their business here and there but mostly the soil was clean and pure."  

Suddenly Frankie shows an interest.

"Then for a long time we continued to take care of the land, tilling it, planting crops then harvesting them.  We even learned to rotate crops so we didn't drain the soil of valuable nutrients."

Frankie:  "I sense an 'oh then' moment coming."

"You're right, and then the population grew and we needed more food to feed it.  In order for that to happen science got involved, fertilizers were concocted and crops grew better, but at the same time the soil was being...for lack of a better word...contaminated."

Frankie grimaces.

Me:  (I know I'm on a roll.)  "Oh, now imagine then decided to add stuff to the seeds in order to grow better corn, tomatoes...everything.  Sure we got better harvests and that's a good thing, right?  But now I'm not so sure I would want to go into a garden pluck a radish, rub it against the sleeve of my shirt and eat it unwashed."    

Frankie remains quiet, but I can tell she's pondering.  I think I've given her food for thought.

I'm pondering too, about the good old 'olden days' when I could go out to my dad's garden and pluck a radish to eat.  Maybe that's what's wrong with me; it's been a long time since I've eaten a peck of dirt a year.

I go back to washing the potatoes.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Where does the time go?

Seriously, somebody please tell me, where does the time go?

I've been meaning to write but somehow 'stuff' keeps getting in the way.  First, I spent one day boxing up what I call my October (fall) decorations and dragged them to the garage.  Then (same day) I drug in the boxes containing all my Thanksgiving decorations setting them up all around the apartment.  This 'exchange' job takes longer now because my garage is not attached to my apartment which requires me to trek back and forth, back and forth from here to there, there to here. I purposely didn't exercise that day because I knew I'd be getting plenty not only with the walking but the schlepping of boxes as well.  Whew!

Then there was the day I did laundry.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do like my new washer and dryer and the fact they tinkle a little tune when each load has been completed.  I even like the little tune when I open the lid to extract the clothes within.  However (picture me clearing my throat) I do NOT like the length of time it now takes to complete this particular weekly chore.  You see, these appliances think for themselves and while the cycles are 'doing their thing' they will occasionally re-adjust the time. When the load starts the machine clock might say it 'thinks' the load might take an hour, so I walk away to spend the time doing something else. When I walk past the machine I glance at its clock to find that before my very eyes a few minutes have been added to the cycle.  At first this annoyed me I thought something might be wrong with the machine so I dragged out the instruction manual. It informed me this is to be expected and not to worry.

Now we'll talk about the dryer.  After a couple of weeks I discovered a load does not completely dry especially the towels and the waistbands of my sweat pants.  Again I dragged out the instruction book and found I can push a spot on the electronic panel (there are no buttons anymore) to add minutes to the cycle in order to completely dry the clothes.  It seems (so far) the drying process per load takes an hour or more....geeze.

I was not going to buy the extended maintenance policy for five years, but thought better of it. Considering how 'high tech' these machines are I figured if I got the policy they would hummm along for at least that long without causing me much trouble, after which, considering how things are made these days they will probably 'give up the ghost' anyway.

So, the above took up two of the days since I last I wrote.  Then there was the day my granddaughter came to visit which was fun filled and full of action.   Plus there were the days I tried to work from 8 till noon making cards for friends and making new merchandise designs for my store.  In between I'm squeezing in exercising, walking the dog, trying to read, studying, planting bulbs for spring blooms, and sweeping oak leaves off my patios.  Again...WHEW!

No wonder I don't have time to write...I'm's only 9:50 in the morning but I think I need a nap.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Old dogs, new tricks

Okay, okay...I admit it, I was spoiled.  For more than ten years the most work I had to do when it came to grocery shopping was to go on-line and order them from (I don't think I'm supposed to name the grocery chain) and put them away after the driver placed the bags on my living room floor.  Easy-peasy!  I never had to go out in nasty weather!  The wonderful drivers always arrived on time and were always cheerful and friendly.

When I moved I e-mailed this grocery chain and inquired if they delivered to my new area.  I was sooo optimistic.  I waited in antsy anticipation for a response.  I got none except for a short quip that my 'zip code' was not included in their delivery area.  TALK ABOUT A BUMMER!

However, on the up side I have moved much, much closer to one of my daughters, and we have made a deal that when she comes to shop in town she will call me to see if I want to go along.  (So far I've never said "No.")  Yesterday was one of those shopping days.

I have to confess I'm kind of slow on the draw when it comes to physical shopping because I'm so out of practice.  Learning where everything is in a new store takes time and I find myself trekking back and forth across the same aisles looking for what I want to buy.  The nice thing is that some of my grandchildren are always along, and (bless them) one of them volunteers to trek along beside me as I wander lost among the produce, dairy products, cleaning supplies, bakery, etc, etc.  Mind you, they do this all with a smile on their face.  Seriously, there is never a grumble, never a sigh, never a roll of an eye.  Am I lucky or what?

So, after shopping yesterday morning I just happened to have a gift card to a (I don't think I'm supposed to name the restaurant) for a late breakfast or lunch and off we went.  Talk about a fun time, there we were the four of us, chatting it up, eating great food and simply enjoying each other’s company.  I'm thinking this is a habit I could get used to.

Even better, I'm re-discovering shopping.  I already know where the produce and dairy departments are. The rest are sure to follow.  Plus, I love the time I'm spending with family. My daughter is dragging me into the 21st century teaching me to buy with my debit card (apparently people don’t write checks any more) and giving me hints on how to be brave enough to use the 'check yourself out' apparatus.  Imagine that!  Let it never be said you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

I'm a prime example!!!  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Choke, choke!

A couple of days ago I was reminded there are approximately eight weeks till (get ready for it) Christmas. Choke, choke, cough, cough, wheeze, wheeze.  Seriously folks how is that possible? Where in the world has the year gone?

Yesterday my granddaughter visited for the day and while we were out for lunch we stopped by a little shop that just a few weeks ago was filled with all sorts of trinkets for Christmas, and the proprietor told me then it was not too early to 'pick up a few things'.  I told him we would be back.

Imagine my surprise when we stopped in yesterday and I found there were very few Christmas trinkets left.  I was very, very disappointed because I thought for sure nobody would be thinking about Christmas shopping this early.  Well, So much for buying 'just because' trinkets for stocking-stuffers.

However, I decorate my tree every year with birds and red roses and I did manage to find two adorable little Wrens wearing winter caps with scarves around their necks and an intricate red Humming Bird covered in 'spark-lies'.   All three are going to make wonderful additions to the tree.  I wish I could have purchased more things, what a bummer I didn't shop the first day we went in there.

Yes, I hear you saying I should have started doing my shopping sooner rather than later and I used to do that. There was a time I would have all my shopping done by the end of August.  Now wondering why I stopped that practice?  It worked so well at the time.  Maybe I stopped when we decided as a family not to buy a present for each person, and went for a round-robin exchange instead with a limit of three gifts (all under a certain price range). That sure took the pressure off the old wallet, plus it meant I didn't HAVE to budget the Christmas expense over such a large area of time.

Finally, the older I got I discovered really don’t like shopping in the Christmas crowds.  Plus, the noise, hustle, bustle and smothering crowds in the stores don’t exactly thrill me anymore.  I'd much rather sit in my toasty warm office perusing the old Internet where with a finger on my mouse and a 'click, click here, a click, click shopping is done.

Wow, I just re-read this and it kind of makes me sound like a "Baaa Humbug" kind of person.  That's not the case, trust me.  I enjoy the holiday music, the smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, the red, green, yellow, orange and white sparkling strings of lights.  Then there are my favorite Christmas movies like: We're No Angels, Elf, About a Boy, While You Were Sleeping and a dozen or so more. (Sigh, I’ve so little time to watch!) I decorate just about every room in my home with treasures of old as well as new items that become old treasures.  I like unexpected company, and surprise packages in the mail.  I wish and hope every year that come Christmas morning I pull open the drapes and find a blanket of snow covering lawns, trees and shrubs.  No, I’m definitely not a Baaa Humbug person at all.

There you have it, as I mentioned, there are about eight weeks left till Christmas so little time in which to accomplish so much.  Me thinks we should probably all get busy shopping or else those trinkets we see in the shops today just might be gone tomorrow.

Oh, and should I mention, there are only nine weeks left till the year is over.

Monday, October 26, 2015


...there's no guarantee I will write every day, but at least my muse has returned which makes me a very happy person.

I don't know where she went for so many months and I suppose I should be angry with her.  I suspect though she should have been angry with me, after all it was I that had abandoned her.  Yep, I kicked her out like yesterday's sludge.  Thank goodness she returned without holding a grudge.

Writing is a crazy kind of thing.  It can come so easily but can go just as easily.  I got to reading some of my old writings while I was settling to my new office and could see how over the years my writing style changed.  I noticed it particularly when I went through my Nature Journals that I kept for about three years.  At first the entries were the point...what's the number one rule of writing? "Show, don't tell", sadly that is what I was doing the first several months of writing the journals I told I saw a lizard but didn't show his color, how it felt, what it did.  Phooey!  

Fortunately, once I got into it everything I saw had a story to tell and my journals came alive.  I began collection specimen, I began drawing pictures, and I included things that were under my nose for years but never noticed.  I drug my dogs hither and yon searching out leaves, rocks, mosses, insects, tree barks till I had binders chucked full of wonderful 'stuff'.

Then came the years with a word processor (remember those) and writing became much more easy. Finally came the computer and (for me) a whole new world emerged.  Boy, did I write!!!!! Poems? Yep.  Essays? Yep.  Plays? Yep (at least one).  Mostly though I was good at ponders, I pondered A LOT.  Finally my daughter said I should try a blog...I had no idea what a blog was but was willing to give it a go. And I did.

Of course I had a lot of help with my blog there was my Muse, Zorro, CC, the Devil and Angel who sat on my shoulders and finally my wonderful invisible friend Frankie.  True I abandoned them for a while this year but I'm back baby....I'm back.  I'm even considering taking an on-line class in writing, perhaps poetry.

So, all I want to say is check in on this Rambling Old Woman from time to time you might find a poem, an essay, a play and for sure ponders...lots and lots of ponders.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It has been a while. What a ride.

After a long agony, I decided it was time for me to give up my blog.  I admit, was in a 'state'.  I hate when that happens.  Frankie in not so loving a way informed me I was not being nice to my readers and suggested I stop writing.  She was right, so I did.

And, so began probably the worst summer of my life.  It had been three years since I put my home of 40 years on the market, but I decided this time IT WAS THE TIME to try to sell my home once more.

Talk about a nightmare.  My first realtor fired me.  I was devastated.  I was angry.  I was not a nice person to be around.  I went into depression for the first time in my life.  I wallowed for a couple of weeks pondering my future.

I was rapidly running out of funds to continue living in and trying to maintain my home, and contemplated (if I could sell) moving into one of those retirement communities where you begin with independent living, and end up with respite care.  That would sure make it easy on my family.  I researched local communities for months only to find they would be way beyond my means even if I sold my place for half a million dollars....whew....they really are for the rich!!!

After wallowing, Frankie in her usual, FRANK demeanor whopped me upside the head and demanded I take charge and 'put the damn house on the market'.  During the time I wallowed, a Realtor had phoned twice offering to help me sell, but I ignored both calls.  However, one morning I got up the courage and called her.

I told her my tale of woe with other Realtors and she said she could stop by, but if I told her if she didn't feel like she could sell the house the way I wanted, I would simply not waste her or my time.

She stopped by and we had a lovely chat.  She told me "Honey, I'll sell your home anyway you want."

Finally, I had buyers, a young couple.  They were willing to buy the place 'as is'.  Now, please understand, the way was not paved in gold, it was full of potholes that held water, mud and lots of muck. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.  Changes in lenders, changes in the closing date, amendments for the very tiniest thing each requiring my signature.  My wonderful Realtor (bless her) stood by me even during one particular phone call where I had a very ugly meltdown. She was a saint!

Then, on August 31st, the movers arrived.  My sister (who came to help me keep my sanity) and I followed the movers through the house vacuuming and dusting until I was told I needed to go to the storage facility so I could be there in advance to direct them to my unit.

Even moving day did not go well.  My sister's car wouldn't start.  I temporarily lost my credit card.  I had Frankie, my cat, dog, sister, her daughter and I to move into a residence motel for nine days until my apartment was ready.  I was exhausted.

Okay...I'm starting to giggle. I guess in retrospect it was not all that bad.  Well, yes it was horrible.  Still I can't help today to see the humor in all that nonsense.  I'm glad I've come from sturdy stock otherwise I would not be where I am today.

Yes, today I am snug as a bug in a rug in a beautiful new apartment in an over age 55 complex that overlooks a golf course.  My patio view is spectacular. straight down a fairway.  Every day is a new adventure.  Zorro has learned to walk on a leash, CC has birds and grey squirrels to 'chicker' at; while geese, mallard ducks and a lone seagull meander up and down the course.  And finally, Frankie has had no reason to 'chicker' at me anymore.

Life is good once again is INDEED good.

P.S.  I know 'chicker' is not a word...I just made it up.  You can use it anytime you want.