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Archive for the ‘February Perspectives’ Category

city-in-the-sky-1

A Virginia View

Is it a mirage or a dream,

or another sunrise in Virginia?

 

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jessica-1st-grade-picasso

 A watercolor painting by a first-grader Grandgirl.

A child-painted bird house too sweet to expose to the elements.

painted-bird-house

And a trio of little ones painted this watering can to celebrate Spring!

painted-watering-can

Handcrafted gifts from young-uns are memories by design.

A nostaligic art form that makes our house a home.

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Not to dwell on the saga of my ailing foot but it has survived months in an Air Cam Boot, weeks of physical therapy, tests and more tests and about six different diagnoses.

Dwelling may not be such a bad idea at that.

Here is a photo of an obstacle course (duplicated for home use).  The real thing is at my “PT” place.  PT stands for Physical Therapy.  Have you noticed how people talk in initials now?

obstacle-of-cones-2

Cone Obstacle Course at Dor’s House

Anyway, the orange coned obstacle course is among other torturous devices at my PT place.  It is designed to build strength and agility in a foot that flaps.

My left foot now flaps when I walk. I can hear it.

And to confirm the lopsided flapping gait,

Bill said, “You walk like a duck!”

So much for grace and pride.  Now add a dog leash for optimal humiliation!

Back to Physical Therapy, my well-meaning therapist, Brenda, puts a belt around my waist and the belt is so long it has a tail.  Then she holds the tail in case I am inclined to teeter toward a crash landing.

The challenge is to high step over each cone without falling or knocking anything down.

  • No swinging a foot outward and around instead of over.
  • No leaning on Brenda.
  • No hopping.
  • And if you knock a cone (or Brenda) over, keep going.

As a beginner at this dog/duck walk I managed to knock down quite a few cones.  Then, just as practice made perfect, they put out taller versions!  Staggering over a new set of towering obstacles was like being a beginner again.

And I was just getting good at the taller versions when they announced, “YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN!  No more leash.”

ALONE?  Are you kidding?

Nevertheless, grimly poised for action, I aimed to prove versatility, flexibility, agility, strength, balance, and the powers of a gimpy woman to convert liabilities into assets.

AND I COULD NOT MOVE!

Terrified, to take the first step without a security dog/duck leash, I was frozen at the starting gate.

Finally, Brenda took pity and offered psychological support. She followed along as a human safety net.  And I completed the arduous leash-less journey with only two fallen cones!

Next visit I plan to shock everyone with a perfect solo performance (hence the home-based obstacle course for practice)!  But what diabolical activity will they come up with next?

Did I tell you they have me picking up marbles with my toes?

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ghostly-dor

 

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Viola was a local  Virginia “character” who took pride in having an independent streak.  She was forthright and fiercely opinionated, and loved beautiful things.  And she was a beloved friend whose gifts over the years are things I still cherish.  They were old gifts she found in antique stores and one-of-a-kinds for the young me.

Sadly, we lost Viola, but there are wonderful reminders of her all over my home.  She was a friend who put extra thought into gift giving.

cookie-platter

  • A beautiful scalloped edged platter I still use to serve cookies.

  • An art deco bowl that makes bananas seem  brighter and yellower (is yellower a word?).

    art-deco-bowl

  • A lacy edged vase for short stemmed flowers to make into elegant arrangements.

    ruffled-flower-vase

I just read an article about how young people don’t like old stuff anymore. They don’t want Grandma’s china or sterling silver that has to be polished.

Who needs gold edged dinner plates for fast food or pizza delivery?  And who wants cutlery you can’t put into a dishwasher?

I concede there is some logic in this thinking albeit the younger generation seems to be forfeiting an atmosphere of beauty, charm and grace.

But do they know about the feelings you can get from holding or using something with a history?

A beautiful old serving dish is never really old.

And an elegant old vase will always complement a spray of  seasonal flowers.

And much like people, some old things age gracefully with the help of a little extra care.

And other things grow more beautiful with little to assist them but age and patina.

I was a young woman when Viola gave me some exquisite old things.  They never required too much care and they are cherished now, almost thirty years later, along with some very sweet memories.

I keep reminding myself that finding the one-of-a-kind perfect gift for someone special may be as easy as a stop at the local antique store.

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I have a phobia of sorts.

It is shortness of breath when faced with too many choices like shopping in cluttered overstocked stores or having to decide between zillions of television channels

When we were young and living in “remote areas of California” I was happy to do all the shopping at one local general store.

And we didn’t even own a t.v. or a computer or a cell phone.

But there is no accounting for progress.

We moved to the Virginia countryside where life promised to remain simple and uncluttered.  There were only three restaurants, no department stores, and no big box stores.

We put an antenna in the attic to get two clear television channels and one fuzzy station and decided we were living in Paradise.

And time marched on.

And suddenly there was a bigger, wider, more enticing world of satellite television with a zillion optional programs.

We were among the first 20,000 people in the United States to have Direct TV.  There were no installers then (at least in rural Virginia) so Bill installed everything himself.  Imagine the joy in surfing around with a remote thing!  And imagine being given a whole menu of options!  I could feel my breathing phobia kicking in.

And time marched on.

There is no accounting for progress.

I recently learned how to record t.v. programs for later viewing.  For those of you who are still novices like I was, you just push a button that says REC on your remote.  I have gone a little balistic with this new power (but symptoms of my short-of-breath-phobia are emerging too).

I have R E C’d enough programs to keep me recliner-chair-bound for the winter.

  • The Young Pope is mesmerizing.
  • But then Mercy Street is enticing.
  • And Victoria is a must.
  • I like the History channels.
  • And nature things.
  • And all those recommendations we get from friends.
  • And we currently also have three Netflix discs on standby.
  • And I want to get back into blogging.
  • And there is so much to do in cyberspace anyway.

Progress?  I call it “overkill” and there is simply not enough time in a day anymore.

Do I want to go back to three channels on the t.v.?  No.

Well maybe 10 or 20 options max?

As for shopping I sometimes yearn for the good old days.

A visit to Ernie’s General Store in Hayfork, California sounds good, simple, easy.  I could get paint, gifts, clothing, hardware, and maybe even a television set – all in one place.  Those were the days when we rented a trailer from Ernie and it was in his back yard!   That was when we were young and living in the wilder more remote places of California.  It is now many decades later and there is no accounting for progress.  I recently heard Ernie’s store was for sale.  I wonder if it is still there.  

ernies-gen-store

Ernie’s Department Store Hayfork, California

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You have to plan to be self-sufficient to live in the country.

Like, Bill and I have learned to imagine power outages and other deprivations in Oh-No-We-Are-Under-Attack situations.

In over 27 years we have never been under attack out here in the tranquil Virginia countryside.

Nevertheless, we do have frequent power outages and always think we are prepared.

This week, in a howling wind storm, right after dinner when the dishes were stacked in the dishwasher and we were happily watching t.v., the lights went out.

Ho Hum.

We were smugly and snugly prepared!

  • A wood stove for cozy warmth
  • A generator for lights, television, computers, etc.
  • Candles and Flashlights
  • A little extra food in the pantry
  • Water

Along with the lights, the television went black, and the dishwasher too.

And when I tried to check the electric co-0p status on Facebook, even my computer (on battery) started screaming, “YOU HAVE A VIRUS INFECTION!”

The wood stove was a life saver if you don’t count old Bill traipsing in and out for wood and by the time the fire got going good, the power was restored.

The power was off for only 2 1/2 hours.

But the television stayed dead even though Bill took it all apart.  He finally called a techie who told him to put it back together again.  That didn’t help either.

The 14 year old dishwasher was dead too, no matter how many buttons we pushed.  Fortunately, I don’t think Bill knew how to take that apart so we called an expert in the morning.

But Bill was able to fix my computer by restarting it.  My h – e – r – o!

FINAL REPORT FOLLOWING DAY:

The dishwasher man came right out and gave us 2 choices:

  • Buy a new dishwasher (which he said we would hate) or
  • Wait 4 days for a new control board.   I am hand washing dishes for the time being.
  • The t.v. is working again because Bill discovered a loose connection.
  • My h – e – r – o!
  • So much for being prepared!

Life is on track again but I am reminded that “Smugness is folly.”

*Quote by Dor

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kenmore freezerI know it is a bit unorthodox to lean into a deep freeze when the temps hover around 100 degrees outside, but yes, I confess, “I did it.”

Truth is our cavernous HUGE deep freezer suddenly began spewing water over everything in it.  I haven’t defrosted it in a month or two, 3 or 4 months, maybe a year, so I blamed myself.

Well, I know I defrosted it since 1990.

We bought the freezer in 1990!

Imagine?

And it has been going non-stop ever since.  No repairs, rare defrostings, overloading, underloading, whatever.

Anyway, I was overheated due to rising temps in this part of Virginia, so decided to hang over the edge of the old girl, chipping away at mountains of accumulated ice and picking at giant slabs with gloved hands and long prongs.

Cool!

And to add to the joy of being slightly chilled in a heat wave I had memories of balancing on the monkey bars when I was a kid.  Leaning leaning leaning over the edge of our freezer was  a similar feeling.

I felt young again!  Carefree.  And yes – Cool!

It took about four hours to defrost, de-ice, and displace all the foods that needed to be discarded or moved to our smaller refrigerator freezer.

And at the end of four hours I could barely move!

No longer cool.

In need of Ibuprofen.

Exhausted.

I turned the X&6%#@&* thing back on again, but Bill came along and turned it off.  “The freezer’s shot,” said he.  And this morning he went to Lowe’s and ordered a new one.

Me, I’m still wondering why I defrosted and cleaned a 26 year old faltering freezer.

It must have been to keep cool.

The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland offers a variety of accommodations, including snow igloos. Guests who book a snow igloo during their stay get to sleep inside a shelter of ice. The temperature is kept at a consistent level regardless of the temperature outside and the guests are provided with down sleeping bags to keep them warm when they turn in for the night. If you’re noticing a trend, it is one of many ice hotels based in the Nordic countries, a sign of ingenuity from countries that celebrate the cold.

 

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Barn n Slope

A Virginia Barn in the Shenandoah Valley

There is a big white barn I can see from home

but can never get quite the right angle

or the trees are in leaf

and the barn disappears

lost and entwined in a tangle.

Then winter clears the brush and trees,

continuing each season’s story,

and there it is, the big white barn,

revealed in a world of faded glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No Flour Cookies

Following in the noble footsteps of one of my favorite bloggers, MJ of Emjay and Them, I have embarked upon a wheatless, almost-grainless, eating program.  People like MJ are raving about the Wheat Belly weight loss theory and feeling good too.  I have been doing this now for about 5 weeks and have lost about 4 pounds – also feeling pretty good.

However, being skeptical of almost everything (as noted by the array of vitamins and minerals in my tried and never-true massive collection), I am only teetering on the edge of issuing a rave report about WHEAT BELLY.  Isn’t that the most awful title for a program about healthful eating?

Of course, things like cookies, cakes, muffins, bread and pancakes, etc. that have a flour base are no-no’s  and they naturally become delicacies  to be missed.

But I have a secret remedy!

It’s a tried and true recipe discovered even before reading the first two Wheat Belly books.

FLOUR-LESS Chocolate Chip Cookies

(But, if you are allergic to peanuts, please ignore this recipe.)

1 Egg

1 Cup brown sugar (I use coconut sugar – 1 cup = 1 cup)

1 tsp Vanilla

1 Cup chocolate chips (I use dark choc chips)

1 Cup chunky peanut butter

Mix all.  Drop by minimum Tablespoons onto a parchment sheet or Silpat

Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 10 to 12 minutes.

Note:  If I can only control how many of these to eat in a day, the Wheat Belly routine may just work!  I am averaging SEVEN now and still lost 5 pounds!  Working on decreasing to SIX (cookies that is).

 

 

 

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