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Image from http://wildlife.org  –  Virginia Black Bear and Cub

“What is THAT” said Bill, as he stood at the kitchen window.  “WHAT?” I asked.

“THAT black thing under the tree – down there by the tractor shed,” said Bill.

And then it moved (not the tractor shed)!

The black thing looked like it was rolling in the grass.

“Maybe it’s a big dog”, I thought.

And then the black thing got up and shook itself!

“Maybe it’s a calf from across the hill from us,” I surmised.

“No,” said Bill.  It’s a BEAR CUB.”  And that indeed is what THAT was.

It looked like a big dog.  But then it loped off into the woods.

If we had any doubts before, there was no doubt as it did the loping.  It was a healthy looking robust bear cub hurrying to catch up with Mom!

But where was Mom anyway?

Our home is close by to a virtual forest primeval.

We think of it as our private Paradise incorporating a wildlife refuge filled with deer, fox, bobcats, squirrels, racoons, ground hogs, possums, all avian varieties including a resident hawk, and of course, bears.

We have seen the Virginia Black Bear more in the last two years than in the whole 27 previous years living here.

And no, we do not leave leftovers in any outside garbage.  Warning to those of you who are not bear-familiar, “Do not feed!”  Either purposely or innocently!

Once our neighbors left fish in an outdoor garbage bin.  The bear knocked it over, had a feast, and then wanted more.  He tried banging on their house to get in and our friends had to hole up in a locked interior bathroom overnight.  So no, we do not leave garbage around.

You can be sure I will not be taking long solitary walks either because where there is a cub, there is usually a mother bear who may be the over protective variety.

I am looking for a siren app on my cell phone though.

Do you think that would help?

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Year of Wonders

Water World

I just started an aquasize class offered by our local YMCA!  The other aging ladies in the group call it “water aerobics.”  This may be wishful thinking but we do jumping jacks midstream in the pool and even cross country skiing (or at least we make motions to that effect).

Sometimes I feel like I am Esther Williams though.  You may not remember her – a film star who was once the center of synchronized swimming.  If I squint a little, I think of my current “aerobics” group as my mininons and I am Esther in all her glory.  Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Social Media for the AgedAging

A charming and dedicated fellow high school graduate from my early days (those days celebrated in history books now) has initiated a new FaceBook page by-invitation-only,  a private group just for us graduates of our particular year.  I was so excited about participating that I immediately heaped a boatload of photos and stories onto the page.  It dawns on me now there are only 21 of us participating.  I think there were 600 in our class.

Rain, Floods, and Vitamin D

It keeps on raining around here in rural Virginia.  Sometimes it even floods and our local Alert System is always warning that soccer team and other sports events have been cancelled.  Bill and I are “hill toppers” so we are not too worried about being flooded.

I do get concerned about a Vitamin D deficiency!  They say, “Twenty minutes of natural sunlight on two thirds of your unprotected body parts is all you need to self-generate enough Vitamin D for good health.”  So in those brief periods of sunshine we now enjoy, I head for the deck with bare legs and arms, and with no SPF protection.

Down with a Cold or is it The Plague?

All that sunbathing didn’t help after all.  I developed a nasty cold the day after water aerobics!  Tylenol worked for a low grade fever, but I am left with a deep gutteral cough, light headedness, and the occcasional sweats.

I have however, found the ultimate cure-all, feel-better-right-away solution.   I am reading “Year of Wonders” – a story about the Plague!

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streetview

Lee Highway

This morning I had an appointment in Staunton, Virginia and took the serene Lee Highway.  It is normally a 45+ minute ride but I like driving through serenity with views of a tranquil rural Virginia.  And on this bright, sunny day it felt like I was driving the only car on the road.

That was until the traffic jam caused by an accident up ahead.  First a 20 minute wait with the engine off and then a forced U-turn to start over on the Interstate.   Arghhh!

Lost – Time 

Being a woman of  iron will and firm determination I got on that hated truck-dominated freeway chewing on my cheek from nervous anxiety and made it to the appointment just in time to find the doors to my destination were locked.  Arghhh!

Found –  Destination

Lost – Nobody There

A strange looking fellow dressed in raggedy clothing came up to my car and said, “Can I help you?”  Putting on a nothing-scares-me demeanor, I said,  ” I have an appointment at this place but noone is there.”

And he said:  “No, you don’t have an appointment.  We are closed.”  Turns out the scruffy fellow was the one I had an appointment with.

It is possible I had the wrong date but not likely.

Nevertheless, after some not-so-polite words with the person I was supposed to have the appointment with, I moved on.

Lost – Time and Temper

I next wanted to find Milmont Greenhouses in Stuarts Draft, VA.  I don’t have a GPS but managed to muddle my way to this bastion of millions of blooming and budding things.

 I was on a search for Cat Mint!

Cat Mint is supposedly critter proof (deer and rabbits hate it).  It is also drought resistant, blooms almost all summer, looks a lot like Lavender, and “if you can’t grow Cat Mint you should stay out of the garden.”

O.K., so I miraculously found the place!

milmont-1

Found – Milmont Greenhouses

But then I couldn’t find the Cat Mint.

Lost – Energy (Staggering Around a Giant Nursery)

Milmont

Cat Mint is listed under Nepeta.  Who knew? 

nepeta_cats_meow_cjw14-23

Nepeta – Cat Mint

After wandering around the greenhouses among crowds of manic gardeners I managed to look on the good side and said to myself, “At least you are getting some Vitamin D3 with all this sunshine!”

Found – A Positive Outlook on Life

And finally there it was – the Nepeta.

Found – Nepeta (or YES – CAT MINT)

But my sunglasses managed to disappear.

Lost – Sunglasses

I thought I lost my cell phone too but it was in the car all along.

Tension does this sometimes – causes you to lose your mind.

Lost – Mind

I did find my cell phone though.  It was tucked in the creases of the passenger seat.

Found – Cell phone

It was a very strange Lost and Found kind of day.

 

 

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platter of sandwiches

I used to make up 12 or more sandwiches for when “the kids” (our grandgirls) came for a visit.

Ham and cheese, Ham and no cheese, roast beef with mustard or without, turkey plain, turkey with mayo and mustard, turkey with lettuce, or without….. ad infinitum.

And those sans would somehow evaporate in one afternoon!

Lately our grandgirls are beginning to evaporate too.

Two are out of college and beginning adult lives in different states.  One remains in a college close by.  We just attended the middle girl’s graduation and celebrated her degree in Business/Marketing, but couldn’t make the older girl’s because it was the same day, only in Michigan.

Us n Kendall

Wonder who the graduate is?  Both Kendall and Grammy are wearing school colors May 5, 2017.

We had a surprise visit this week from Jessica and what a joy she is!  And how happy we were to see her since she will not only be embarking on a career in Human Resource Management and a new life in another state, but first she going on a trip to Tibet!

Jess Graduates Grad Schl

The big smile in front is Jess.

These days, it is folly to make up huge platters of sandwiches for the onslaught of “the kids” who used to all descend at once.  What fun we all had making memories with trips to Safari Park, the Dollar Store, the lake and the pool, games of jacks and scrabble, and just all “vegging out” watching SpongeBob Square Pants on television.

SpongeBob_SquarePants_characters_cast

It is a little sad, but I no longer ask the question, “Mustard or Mayo?”

One of the last times they were all three here together, they made a stir fry dinner and wouldn’t even let me in the kitchen!

Perhaps soon it will be the reverse and when I come to visit them they will ask ME –

“Mustard or Mayonaise?”

 

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I love to look long-range too

along with the windblown grasses

as we nod our mutual approval

of a magnificent Virginia view.

Mtn View through the Grasses

 

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It comes as rather a nasty surprise that I am aging.

You too?

Oh, I knew there would be a few aches and pains,

and of course a face with well placed character-wrinkles

and some artfully arranged gray hairs.

But the plan was (and still is) to ignore such minor imperfections and compensate with self deception.

Creams and lotions help (and please try them all like I do).  The commercials might be right after all.

And  maintaining an upbeat, youthful attitude is the way to go.

This means a devotion to nutrition and exercise (if you practise on rare occasions like I do).

But who knew about falling asleep in a chair and waking up

with mouth wide open?

And how can you take charge of keeping

your mouth shut when you’re out cold?

I admit this humiliating onset of age mars my usually proud

and eternally youthful countenance.  And thankfully, I don’t snore!

But

I am now hoping for soulmates out there (those of you with gaping jaws)

to come forward with your learned-from-experience solutions to this ultimate indignity.

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Forest Primeval

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