Archive | May, 2016

Why The Squire Resembles My Father

29 May

weddingPeople have often remarked, not without good reason, that The Squire and my dad looked enough alike to pass for father and son.  My dad used to have great fun taking The Squire places and confusing the daylights out of folks who knew he only had two daughters. We went to a viewing for one of my uncles and my cousin came over to me and admitted that he and his sister had spent five minutes trying to figure out “where  he fits into the family. I finally remembered he’s your husband.”

Even my mother-in-law greeted my dad by exclaiming, “Fr. Parker, you could ruin my reputation!” And somebody else jokingly told my dad “I’ll bet I know which side of the family you’re from.”

Both of us have been doing a lot of genealogy work over the last few years (well, The Squire’s been working on it for about thirty years, actually.) and a name came up in my DNA circle that looked vaguely familiar.

Turns out that about five generations back, we are fifth cousins, or some such thing. This line is on my dad’s father’s side. My mother’s people are all from Germany, and my dad’s mum’s family is from Oz, via Scotland. The Squire’s mother was a McKenzie, and my father’s grandfather was a McLellan; I suppose if we looked hard enough, we’d find something there, but oddly enough, this particular line is Cherokee.

Ya just never can tell about these things.


It Was Spring, Yesterday

26 May

I missed it last year. I was in the bathroom. *

We had one or two days of lovely weather and then seventeen consecutive days of rain. Yesterday was soft and breezy, but today it was 84, and it is supposed to be in the 80s all week. Next Thursday, they are predicting rain, and temps “only” in the upper 70s.  At least, the night-time temps are in the 60s, so sleeping is pleasant, and we can make do with the fan, without turning on the A/C.  We finally got the papyrus plant out of the living room and into the pond last night. This is the best it’s ever looked after a winter in the living room.

We went over to Charlestown today to visit my brother-in-law. Shared lunch, and then he showed us some photos of his canal trip from Amsterdam to Alsace.  Such beautiful country side, and everything is so clean! They offered quite a few day trips at each city along the way. Some were free or relatively low-cost, but others were, to my way of thinking, outlandishly expensive. There was one beer-and-dinner night on the town which was $99 per person. George said he skipped that one. Lots of photos of castles and cathedrals, and one shot of a restaurant that sent me into a fit of giggles – it sold shish-kebob and pizza. He also paid particular attention to the various pipe organs, as he plays the organ, and often fills in for his church.

He mentioned how nice the organ is at our church, but we had to tell him it isn’t any more. We had a contract to get the leathers treated and the electronics tuned up four times a year, but it was decided to drop that, and the thing is getting, Sunday by Sunday, more and more out of tune. It is virtually impossible to purchase a new pipe organ, so in a fit of penny wise and pound foolish, we’ve let a valuable asset full (almost) to ruin. Ah, well. They won’t let me run it, so there you are.

He was an electrical engineer before he retired, and it amused us that he took pictures of outlets and such in the cabin. One thing they had on the ship was a gizmo that caught the sliding closet door about two inches from the end of its “run” and closed the door slowly and firmly. You had to click something to reopen the door, but this prevented closet doors from slamming shut and disturbing the person in the next stateroom as well as keeping the door closed in case of rough weather.

The river cruiser was fairly narrow and quite low, to go under all the old bridges, so as a result the ship was very, very long. He said he was never aware of any roughness, and they did have several days of rain and wind.

*That is not an original line, BTW. I borrowed it from the late Michael Flanders. He and his partner, Donald Swann, wrote some lovely, and VERY funny songs.

The Flying Monkeys

26 May

Yesterday Eldest Daughter and I went up to Lancaster to do a bit of shopping, and just generally hex around. Even after having lived this close to Amish Country since I was ten, and shopping in and around Lancaster since the late 60s, I still feel as if I’ve stepped into the Wild West when I spot a hitching rail and water trough along the edge of a shopping center.

When I got to her house in the morning, I was dive-bombed by a vulture, which just about scared me to death. These are huge birds with a wingspan of about six feet. I felt as if I’d just had a run-in with a fair-sized aircraft, bent on my destruction.

When we got home, a half dozen of them were sitting on the fence around her pool, and several more were fighting over something in the tall grass. The fence is four feet high, which may give you some perspective of how large these birds actually are.

Turns out there is a dead deer out there; we smelled it before we spotted it. I hope they make quick work of it.


Smack-Down at the OK Corral

21 May

We have one particular squirrel, a young male with a bright red tail, who is a real bully. He has made it his business to keep all of the other squirrels away from both the seed feeder and the pipe which holds the peanuts. It’s a wonder he has time to eat, as he’s so busy chasing off the competition. Of course, every time he leaves the feeder to chase away another squirrel, the blue jays swoop down and grab some of his precious hoard.

This morning, he was at it again, and two of the older, larger squirrels decided they’d had just about enough, and ganged up on him. They started a kick-boxing, biting, and snarling match, and chased the little dickens all around the yard.

He came back and sat on the wall that surrounds the flower bed, cursing and stomping his feet, so angry that he started biting and tearing at the wires on the Christmas lights, the very image of impotent rage.

Saturday Night Fever

15 May

Last night, our parish had a Sunset Serenade by the Reisterstown Jazz Ensemble.

It was originally supposed to be outdoors, but it has rained almost nonstop for the last two weeks – not hard, but a constant depressing drizzle – and the ground was too mushy for lawn chairs and blankets, not to mention too darned cold, so we moved it inside. The woman who was in charge made “camp fires” down the center of the hall, with a heap pf twinkling Christmas lights, and red, white and yellow tissue paper, surrounded by perhaps a dozen bricks, set in a wagon wheel design. Really nifty!

And, oh! the music! Several different sizes of saxophones, trumpets, a keyboard, and a drummer who was having more fun than anybody else in the room. And a cowbell! Admission was very reasonable, and a donation of canned goods got you a ticket for a free drink or a bag of chips, but there was plenty of other stuff to eat, even for a vegetarian such as myself.

And a good time was had by all.

I May Have Found My Calling

13 May

If I do say so myself, I have lovely handwriting. Rather fancy, and I make my lower case “e’s” the same way I make my upper case “E’s”, but it’s very clear and easy to read.

A young friend asked me recently if I would address her wedding invitations. “They don’t teach cursive in school anymore, and I think printing my invites would look tacky.” She paused and looked thoughtful for a moment. “I could make up computer labels with fancy print, but that would be even tackier. So, would you do it for me?” And I agreed.

This could be an entirely new cottage industry for little old ladies who still know how to write. Send me your envelopes and your list, and for a reasonable price, I’ll do them up for you.

How does that sound?


        (No, this isn’t my handwriting.)


No, I Don’t Look This Way Anymore

10 May

As I matter of fact, I don’t think I ever did look this way! For a blessedly short time after I left Blue Cross, I worked as a model. Tell you what, wearing so much makeup I could hardly move my face was no fun. At least, at this stage of my life, I still had my own hair.


Remember all those times I joked about being a “famous model”? Well, I never made it to “famous”, but seriously, does this resemble anybody you know?


What We Really Do

8 May

I took the box of strawberries to church this morning, made sure a couple of close friends got one before the vultures descended, and then let everybody else have what they wanted. Let’s just say they were well received.

Got this bit of goofiness from a friend. Honestly, although we consider Coffee Hour to be one of the sacraments, we do a lot more than that.

what we do

Saturday Night Fling

7 May

The Squire and Mac did go to the movies this morning – Captain America: Civil War – which he said was quite good, in spite of the reviews. I think he just disregards the critics and listens to his friends. He joked when he got home that he and Mac are both in their 70s, and still enjoy comic books. He could have worse habits, Heaven knows.

He called from the theater to say he was on his way home, and I was just getting dressed when he got in.  There seemed to be quite a few people in the restaurant with the same idea – take Mum out a day early and beat the rush.  We had a really nice dinner and then wandered around the corner and topped off the tank with some frozen yogurt.

I was sitting at the computer about 3:00 when the raccoon wandered into view. We are fairly certain it’s a nursing female, as the animal is quite brazen about coming looking for food, but she does get out of the way post haste when either of us goes out to feed her cheap dog food, as opposed to letting her vacuum out the birdfeeders. The Squire took food out to the barn before we left, and I put extra food on the carport for her.

If she’s not nursing or pregnant, she’s just plain fat!





Happy Mother’s Day – Sort Of

6 May

Shari’s Berries

Many, many years ago, after ending up trapped in Chuckie Cheese for Valentine’s Day, The Squire and I decided never, ever to go to a restaurant on a Grand Holiday, so we will probably go to dinner tomorrow evening. There’s a new sci-fi flick out, so Mac may suggest breakfast and a movie, but The Squire and I can still hit a restaurant in the afternoon or evening. There’s a “real” Chinese-Thai place not too far from here  so I think that will be our choice.

Eldest daughter sent me a box of Shari’s Berries for Mother’s Day, which I received this morning. These are absolutely ginormous strawberries (I put a quarter in one section to give you a sense of scale) which have been dipped in chocolate and then rolled in either chopped almonds or chocolate chips,  or yogurt drizzled with dark chocolate.

This presents me with a serious dilemma. When I have something I really like, I tend to stretch it out to make it last as long as possible. Unfortunately, strawberries don’t keep, and the packaging says these are best consumed within 48 hours of receipt.  Add to that the fact that The Squire has a mild allergy to chocolate, and my best friend is on the Whole Thirty diet, and it looks as if I may be forced to eat these all by myself – and fairly quickly, at that. Oh! The horror!

Well, chocolate is a vegetable, yogurt is a protein, and strawberries are definitely a fruit. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.