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Archive for the ‘Country Thoughts’ Category

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July 4, 2020 – Elsa-the-Dog reduced to shaking and shivering due to distant fireworks.

July 5, 2020 – More shaking and shivering due to close-up thunder storms

July 7, 2020 – Hysterical barking at 2:30AM.

Yes, I was awakened at 2:30AM by Elsa-the-Dog’s loud screaming/barking.  She NEVER does that.  She is a sound and happy sleeper and only sends the alarm bark during daytime hours when the UPS man emerges.

Since it was a hysterical bark

there had to be something amiss.

Elsa and I began a flashlight search of the house.  It was a full moon and we could see silver images through the windows so we were checking the outside too.  Bill was blissfully sound asleep.

Was it the bear visiting again and

rustling around somewhere near?

I thought maybe it could even be human

and what would I do then?

Was someone trying to get in?

After a room by room search Elsa and I went back to bed.  We just got comfortably tucked in when she began the hysterical barking again.  This was definitely her alarm bark to signal intruders!

Another search ensued to no avail and we finally gave up at 4:30 AM.  But I kept thinking and thinking while Elsa and Bill were then fast asleep.

A sunny day today and this morning I peeked into our attached garage from the relative safety of the mudroom/laundry.  The garage was the one place we missed in our moonlight search.

Whoa!  There was the answer to Elsa’s warnings.  There were torn pieces of something white and a hunk of the drywall ripped out.  Some critter was trying hard to create an exit.

Still no idea what it was but it must have got in when the automatic door stayed open as Bill went to get the mail yesterday.  That gave the Crazie Critter time and  opportunity to explore.

“Hey – this looks like a grand place to raise a family!”

“On the other hand, maybe not.”

“Now how did I get in here in the first place?”

“Wasn’t that big door open a minute ago?”

“I’ll just sit here quietly until dark

and then find my way out.”

“Lemme Out!  Lemme Out! Lemme Out!”

Elsa heard it all and warned her human pack that something was amiss.  She just wasn’t sure where.

I will never doubt her warning barks again.  She knows what she’s talking about and she is now my Super Hero.

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Homeward Bound

Some eons ago, when I was a little girl my parents took us kids out for Sunday drives.  Those were always exciting times with donuts as the grand finale.

My parents are long gone, but some of those sweet memories resurface, especially since there has been ample time to reflect on past pleasures.

Nowadays Bill takes Elsa-the-dog and me for “rides in the car.”  I think he thinks we need a change of scene and he is so right.  These outings expand our world beyond the walls that bind us since Bill and I are among the most vulnerables to the Corona Virus.

Elsa gets beyond excited when we ask, “Wanna go for a ride in the car?”  She dashes back and forth barking and whining and eagerly jumps in.  But the sad thing is, Elsa does not know how to enjoy life as a dog.   She immediately hunkers down as if to hide from imminent danger, rarely looks out the window, and shakes and shivers with her head in my lap no matter where we may wander.

Because she is so frightened I ride in the back seat with her, and off we go, with Bill as the Chauffeur.

 Elsa does sit up but only if the car stops.  That gives her a window view of sorts with glimpses of an alien world fraught with terror.

  • Sometimes Bill stops at an ATM machine and when he gets out, Elsa goes mad with worry – crying and howling in despair that we have lost a pack member to the insane outside world
  • The parking lot of Walmart is always interesting too.  We went there to see if the GoodWill drop was still open (and it was).  Elsa began whining in anticipation of further pack loss, but we had not brought our donations and we all stuck together inside the relative safety of the car.
  • The Sheetz gas station is colorful too and very scary indeed.  Last time we were there a mask-less fellow was filling up next to us, right by my open window.  Suddenly he began yelling at a friend who was some distance away.  Being Covid-19- paranoid I feared I might contract the virus from his unmasked yelling vapors (so I held my breath)!  I wonder why the CDC has not recommended holding your breath as a preventative measure.
  • Another time we drove to Buena Vista (the nearest little town) and we saw whole families out walking with little kids skipping alongside. None of them were wearing masks either (not the parents, kids or dogs) but they were single family units out in the fresh air.  It was a heartwarming slice of Americana but maybe Elsa has the right idea about hunkering down and avoiding even looking out the window.
  • And our last ride in the car was around our own neighborhood where we saw a new neighbor’s house being built – a lovely A-frame log home atop a hill.

We are hoping Elsa will become accustomed to our outings and will some day enjoy the wind in her hair and the sights (other than a yelling man and an ATV machine) through the window.

In any case, I will remember these precious times, these spontaeous rides, these family/pack trips during a serious pandemic.  They were Bill’s idea for a change of scene that has now become a happy tradition.

How about you?

Wanna go for a ride in the car?

 

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20200612_200108

It was 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon when Elsa-the-Dog begged to go out on the deck. She loves just looking around her “estate” from the safety of the rails and rungs.

So out we went to sit in the shade of the eaves and contemplate sudden fair weather.  Surely the wispy breeze and floods of sunshine would make us safe from the dreaded virus.

As I was about to doze off, Elsa suddenly sprang to life and trotted to a corner of the deck.  She likes to chase bumble bees and I thought that was her goal.

But then she zipped over to the opposite end and then zipped back.  She was definitely on the alert and straining to look in one direction through the rails and I too looked in that direction to see what all the fuss was about.

What I saw was a very large VERY LARGE Virginia Black Bear who was ambling along the edge of our woods.  He had obviously been at both ends below our deck and was certainly interested in my hummingbird feeder!

About the time I put this all together in my slowly emerging brain, Elsa was growling and barking, and the BIG BEAR began to run.  Thankfully, it was running away and not toward us.  Elsa kept up a loud piercing bark that I think made her seem to be a giant adversary instead of a little twerp of a dog.

And the VERY LARGE bear ran all the way out of sight and into the forest.

Thank you Elsa-the-Dog for your grand big-dog bark and for your courage in sounding the alarm.  You are my heroine!

Anyway, who said sheltering in place is not exciting?

 

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assemble challenge combine creativity

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You can only watch so much television when sheltering in place, right?  And how many jigsaw puzzles can you do without getting a headache?  I even find myself reading two books at a time!

But, even though our world started to open up again to allow for haircuts and dining in restaurants, the Corona Virus is angrily re-emerging and forcing us aging vulnerables into continued self isolation.

When I started blogging I had no idea the end result would be the addition of people I not only enjoy learning about, but that many have actually become  friends.

And through all the challenges of self isolation, and through the long months of solitude, as if to prove the value of our relationships, my blogger friends continued to create incredible connections.  You offer your experiences, your humor, your photographs, your ways of coping, your thoughts, and mostly your love.

But for quite a while I was reading your experiences and not sharing mine.  I was absent from the blogging world in a writing dry spell I thought would never end, when suddenly I realized that reading your posts was helping me get through the Covid-19 Pandemic lock-down.

The inspiration was there “in plain sight.”  Writing and sharing were the blessed remedies for coping with odd downturns like lockdowns and forced isolation.

Many of your posts made me think of what I would do in similar circumstances.  And my own responses could certainly have been crafted into blog posts.  But, instead of following the urge to write, I sent comments instead.  It was writing in a way, but mostly done to thank you, my blogging friends, for your words, your time  and your continued contributions.  You kept me sane in the insane world of Covid-19!

I am posting things again but the dry spell threatens to return.

I recognize it looming overhead.

Then, as if it was meant to be, a Virginia Black Bear wandered into our yard today and has inspired me to create another post.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I can never resist writing about our little dog of course.  I rescued Elsa and talked to her and stroked her on the long ride home.  And now, over a year later, she never leaves my side.  Well she does go out with Bill but jumps on me first for permission and then comes running back as if I might disappear while she is selfishly “doing her business.”

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Elsa has a whole array of idiosyncracies, no doubt leftover from experiences with previous owners.

  1.  Toys?  Forgeddaboutit!  She will not play with toys.  And walks away from the squeaky ones (maybe thinking they are hurt?).  Her basket of toys remains in a corner completely and utterly untouched.
  2. Chasing a ball for exercise?  Nope.  She will not chase a ball or anything we might throw.  But, she will chase a bumble bee and maybe even go in for the kill.
  3. She is food driven and has gained way too much weight since she arrived.  Elsa is on a diet now.
  4. Elsa is afraid of:  Almost everything.   Last week we were out on the driveway and we were both looking into the woods at the wind in the trees.  It was an idylic moment all right until a very large branch came crashing down into the forest (many many feet away).  Elsa ran for home and had to be coaxed out for days after.  What do you expect when the sky was really falling?
  5. No need for a leash anymore.  Elsa is afraid of:  The outside.
  6. Don’t Leave!  I fear for probable Anxiety Attacks when I finally begin to drive again and leave the house.  We are ALWAYS together now thanks to the Pandemic. I have never had such a close relationship with a dog.  Will I be housebound forever for fear of leaving the poor pup?  Will it be my separation anxiety or hers?
  7. Elsa will still flinch if you try to pat her head.  But she is getting better now – a bit more trusting.  It has been over a year, so maybe we are making progress – if only the sky would stay up there so we could all Stay Safe!  20200529_144306

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

I like to say I am growing old instead of already old.  It gives me a better feel for how to feel when the most vulnerable population to the Covid-19 virus is touted as 60+ or 80+ or somewhere inbetween.

In any case, there always seem to be new rules about coping with this virus.  I know you are dying to hear them…. forgive the pun.  The world is coping but there are consistently more confusing theories about how the virus is spread and regulations regulating how we should lead our lives in the midst of what I call Viral Confusion.

For instance:

When I was a kid, you did not go to a doctor unless you were sick – maybe even really sick.  That seems to be the case now too.

2020 Pandemic Rules

Do not go to a doctor unless you feel sick.  And even then, call first to see if he/she will let you in.  Will this eventually even lead to doctors making house calls again?  When our son developed a very high fever, panic set in and we called the doctor who came to our house in 20 minutes, but by that time, the fever was gone.  And I don’t think the doc even charged for the visit!

Ah for the good old days.

Do not go to a dentist unless you have a bad toothache.   Dentists are just now reopening in my neck of the woods and I think they can be called for more mundance things like cleaning.  Check to be sure where you live.

But in the good old days, Mom would give me a clove to suck on or an ice cube – anything but the dentist – to cope with pain.  She was deathly afraid of dentists but finally when I was 14 and had a bad toothache, she made an appointment.  The dentist found one cavity for every year I had lived and I spent the next 14 weeks getting cavities filled (minus Novocaine!).  In those days you raised your hand if the pain was too bad.

Did I say I was growing old or already old?  Is pre-Novocaine ancient or what?

Ah for the good old days.

The new scary deadly virus has made me re-evaluate the wonders of staying home.  But what about positive changes?  Take clearer water.  They say you can see the fish in Venice canals now. I would love to take a gondola ride again but this time in clear water.

And now that there is more testing going on, some say if you are blood type O, you have a better chance of not catching the virus or maybe even surviving it.  Maybe I can go out sans mask and celebrate shoulder to shoulder in a crowd since I am in the O category.

Or if your ring finger is shorter or longer than the rest, you may or may not be in trouble re the virus.  I keep forgetting to size my ring finger.

And how about the urge to flush the toilet without putting the lid down?  Do you know how volatile the spray can be as you flush?!

Screaming spreads more virus than talking.  Talking may be the New Nasty Culprit that spreads the damned thing.

Disinfecting every surface on earth is no longer advised but don’t stop washing your hands.  You may have touched something evil.

All this speculation makes me wonder what people did in the real good old days of The Plague and Cholera.  The more I hear or read, the more I ponder this pandemic and all its pros and cons.

Stay Safe is the new Farewell, especially in our emerging “New Normal.”

Stay Safe my friends.

Stay Safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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photo printer

I used to keep photograph albums.

But somewhere around 2006  the albums came to an abrupt halt.  It was about the time I received the gift of a cell phone that produced remarkable pictures.

The problem was that all photos from 2006 onward became buried somewhere in the phone or in my computer or in the nebulous ubiquitous CLOUD.

The “progress” in technology resulted in a twilight zone of lost time.

I stopped mounting my favorite shots lovingly in a photo album.

Time stopped.

This Christmas Bill gave me a SMART PHONE PHOTO PRINTER that actually works!

One brave step backward for mankind!

I have now reopened the last unfilled, ready-and-waiting-photo-album and began adding some pictures of a friend’s baby sent to us in a Christmas card.  Then there are smart phone photos; one of Bill on New Year’s Eve, a somewhat jarring selfie of me, a shot of Elsa-the-dog, and a picture of two good friends who came visiting over the holiday.

This little machine is a miracle!

Will it result in a rebirth of the age-old practice of saving photographs in albums?

If you ask me, no.  I am already sure the gadget will stop or the materials will no longer be available.

But it’s a start.   Time to take pictures!  And at least for the beginning of 2020 there will be memories in an album.

 

 

 

 

 

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macro photography of black sunglasses on sand

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Although we have had a few tooth-chattering days here in Camelot, it still somehow feels like summer.  I have almost forgotten that Virginia has a temperate climate but still boasts the four seasons.

But here it comes January and I never finished retrieving winter clothes and never packed away bathing suit or shorts.  First of all, it stayed warm enough for cooler garb than sweaters.

And for a true weather guage there is always my curly-er and frizzy-er hair which usually only happens during the muggy days of summer.  I suppose winter frizz  is due to a mountain version of seaside dampness.  Who knew?

And those lazy hazy days are here again and I am sweating (not whistling) while I work.

This sleeping beauty is also doing a bit more tossing and turning on over heated body-warmed sheets.

This morning there was a summer-like drizzly rain with no coat necessary – just short sleeves for dog walking.

The stink bugs are happy and back in plague mode too, accompanied by a competitive lady bug infestation.

I am confused.  Should I switch the heatpump to “cool”?  Should we re-open the outdoor pool?

Feeling a chill where you are?  Virginia may be just the place to go for the excitement of an off-season-summer.

 

 

 

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B's 85th with Cake

Gathering

There was a gathering last week for (Dad’s/Grampy’s) Bill’s birthday!  And our once quiet little house in rural Virginia became a beehive of activity with lots of talking, shouting, and barking from Elsa-the-dog, all vying to be heard to catch up on our lives.

The Grandgirls 2019

And there was the birthday boy of course.  There were MaltShop Music DVDs from the 1950’s as a backdrop.  What fun.  What memories.  A chocolate birthday cake with chocolate icing was a hit too.

Dining Delight

I made a new dish for dinner which is now a family fave.  It is called Sausage and Linguine.  Basically it is just that with a few other things like red peppers.  It was a major hit though.  Nothing like a recipe with 5 or less ingredients.

Playing with a Rescue Dog

Elsa Loves Son Corky, who managed to actually play with her.  Elsa does not know how to play.  She runs away from squeaky toys (afraid they are crying and hurt), will not fetch a ball or play tug-o’-war either.  Sad.  But she loves Corky.  He treats her like a puppy, challenges her by showing and hiding treats and and Elsa wags her tail and acts much like a puppy even though she is 7 years old now.

Laughter Lingers

I'm in Cork 2019It was a lovely day for Bill’s birthday with calls and cards, and gifts and lots and lots of love.  The GrandGirls left first, returning to D.C., South Carolina and Michigan to resume their busy lives.  Then we had time with son Corky and daughter-in-law Emmy – time for shopping, talking, laughing, planning.  It was all such fun and we loved every minute, but they are all gone now.

The house is quiet again except for a couple of thunder storms.  Elsa is frightened and shaking under my desk at my feet.  I’m sure she misses Corky and all the other big humans who were here such a short time ago.

Ditto.

 

 

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person woman smartphone calling

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

I have a friend who talks non-stop on the phone.  She includes minute by minute details about what she is doing, has done or will do.

And all I have to say is, “Uh huh,” and off she goes again.

Then one day the oddest thing happened while we were on the phone.

Nature called me.

At first gently.

And then URGENTLY.

A bathroom run became a neccessity.!  And Argh!!!! 

My friend was on a roll winding up for a marathon one-sided talking session.

This quickly became a competition between her call and Nature’s.

Not wanting to interrupt or hurt her feelings, I made a rush for the Necessary Room and took my phone along too (with friend still chattering away).

I just-in-time managed to stifle a loud sigh of relief and said, “Uh Huh”.

And to my surprise she kept on talking!

Now every time this friend calls, my body reacts with the urgent need to evacuate and the same ritual is repeated.  I keep saying “Uh Huh” at crucial times and she keeps on talking.

She is like a built in laxative.

And I am actually enjoying the bathroom subtrefuge now too.  Feels like mini escapes.

At first I thought I might be missing something important but  this particular friend manages to repeat the same stories over and over when I see her in person.  If I get the beginning and the end of the story during our bathroom sessions I can fill in the middle when next we meet.

Uh Oh!  Have you called me recently?

Did you think I was listening?

Did I say,”Uh Huh” in the middle of our conversation?

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