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Posts Tagged ‘country adventures’

BigBruno

If you are weary of hearing about my bear visitors here in rural Virginia, I do understand.  I hope you are able to “grin and bear it.”

But I must recount the latest episode.  This time I was away from home with a friend.

We were out for lunch at a general store (and diner) in Natural Bridge Station, Virginia.  That is only a few miles from the actual Natural Bridge (an awesome sight indeed).

The Natural Bridge  is also now a Virginia State Park.

Anyway, we pulled into the driveway of the little general store and there he was – Bruno’s father! BIGBruno!

He was crossing the parking lot right in front of us.  And he went loping down an embankment to a little stream, and up the other side to cross the road into the woods.

Could I get out of othe car without fear of bodily harm?  No.

I was on the bear’s side!

Could I outrun the bear?  No.

Still having trouble hobbling around on a bad foot, but even if it was normal……. well, you get the picture.

Was I stupid enough to get out of the car (on BigBruno’s side) and slowly make my way to the diner entrance?

Yes.

And so it was.  Lunch was a breathless affair recounting the story to the hostess.  She said they had been frying bacon all morning.  Well, no wonder BigBruno was enamoured of the place!

And on the wall was this frightening image!

It looked just like him.

I still don’t know if it was a photograph or a painting, but BigBruno loomed out of the canvas as big and wild and beautiful as I could ever conjure up in a dream/nightmare.

Lunch was delicious by the way.  A very informal setting with all natural all fresh salads and sans – everything to a bear’s liking!

Another adventure in Virginia country living.

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Hay Truck

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The Top of My Hospital

The Top of My Hospital

We are approaching the end of a week.

Thankfully.

This week has been just chock full of exciting things.

I have been visiting my local hospital so often it is beginning to feel downright homey.

View from My Hospital's Parking Lot

View from My Hospital’s Parking Lot

I am also feeling popular, kindly and easily approachable..

Every time I go in for a test I meet some old fella (well maybe about my age) who immediately starts talking and tells me his whole life story including all current anatomical deficiencies.  It is more than I wish to know of course but I lend a sympathetic ear and nod and ooh and ahh in the right places.

I know you would like to hear why I have been visiting the hospital so often.  And since the hospital buddies/admirers never ask about MY reasons for being there, you are the unfortunate recipients of this sad tale of woe.

It all started with a swollen foot.  I think I told you about that about two weeks ago.

It ended with a tooth extraction.

And the swollen foot is still swollen.

I am finding it difficult to sort this all out too.  But here is an attempt.

I did go to my primary doctor about the foot.

“Should I baby it Doctor?”  “Or should I walk through it and exercise it away?”

“I won’t know that until I know what caused it,” said he.

And he promptly scheduled:

  • A blood test to rule out gout.   Nope, no gout.
  • An Echocardiogram to rule out heart.  Nope, heart’s just fine.
  • A sonogram to rule out a clot. Nope, no clot.
  • An X-ray to rule out a break or fracture.  Nope, no breaks or fractures.

None of these appointments could be scheduled on the same day – hence, the multiple hospital visits and the ever growing number of male acquaintances and their autobiographies.

About this time a back molar tooth (mine) became sensitive to pressure!

Then it began to really hurt non-stop.

That meant a trip to the dentist who said it was a bad tooth and had to come out ASAP.  He referred me to a tooth pulling specialist with a fancy name like Oral Maxillofacial Surgery.

And so yesterday I had an extraction there.  That means they yanked the offensive tooth right out!

I will not beleaguer you with details about that horror-fying experience, but the extractor person accomplished the deed  in 30 minutes.  Fortunately, Bill went along for the ride and was there to catch me as I staggered out.  He was my life-saver-hero who literally let me cry on his shoulder! That was yesterday and when the shakes wore off there was no pain and no pain since.

Note:  Next time I will request total anesthesia, gas, PUT ME OUT COLD PLEASE!

That brings me back to the swollen foot which is still swollen!

Now the doctor is talking about a possible MRI for the foot – not the tooth.

And while I wait, Bill purchased a glamorous set of hotpink and black lace-up, sturdy, walking shoes for me.  Ahh, I know it’s not a fur coat or diamonds, but I am hero worshipping anyway.

Bill Got Me Some New Shoes!

Bill Got Me Some New Shoes!

 

 

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Bill and I made a new friend today.  I think he likes us.

He was a little apprehensive at first but loosened up after a snack and conversation.

His name is Pichu and we will be dog-sitting soon.  Today was just a day to see if we liked each other.

I think Bill and Pichu may have made a connection don’t you?

And we were both delighted to have a furry critter in the house once again!

B and Pichu 1

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CostcoMoncton

Most days I amble around town unrecognized until someone cries, “Hi! How are you?”  That calls for delay and catching up and is part of the whole great thing about living in rural Virginia.

It is rare however, to be heartily greeted by complete strangers.

In the last few days, undoubtedly due to my astounding beauty I have garnered the attention of MEN.  Or maybe this is happening because I look motherly old helpless tired  safe?

It all happened first at Costco in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It was our twice a year visit to a big store in a bigger city, and talk about exotic places!

Bill was perusing the bakery section.

I was studying  ingredients and drooling over some mini organic oat cake muffins

called Vegan Aussie Bites!

Maybe the drooling was the attraction?

As I resisted the idea of buying anything sweet (talk about noble!), a very tan hippie-ish looking fellow walked alongside me and expounded upon how much he loved those little cakes and how, “I can’t keep my hands off them.”  Still feeling astoundingly beautiful, do you suppose he meant “me” and not “them?”

“Good for you,” I said, clutching my purse which was safely cross-body slung anyway.

As I furtively looked around for Bill to come to the rescue, I noticed my devoted spouse was aware of the exchange, but he was even more immersed in studying some big luscious bear claws than in rushing into any rescue efforts.  Such are the perils of a long marriage.

As it turned out, the strange fellow was just friendly and as he kept nattering away on the merits of the mini cakes,  I determined he was harmless.

I also determined men are more interested in pastries than in elderly women.

However, he did see me drooling over those oat cakes too, so I could not blame him for experiencing unrequited love.

MAKING FRIENDS AT CHECK OUT TIME

Even though Bill and I managed to bring home a carload of “essentials” from Costco that equated to spending a carload of money, I still had to go out for groceries again the very next day.

Bill keeps telling me our food bill does not go down even with all the Costco savings.  Maybe that’s true, because there I was in a regular grocery store again stocking up on all the things we forgot the day before.

And in the check out line ANOTHER STRANGE MAN STRUCK UP A CONVERSATION!

No, it wasn’t the same man.

And I don’t think I was drooling.

 I was simply unloading stuff from the shopping cart onto the moving conveyor belt.

The new fellow began by saying, “I never check the length of check-out lines.  I check out the checker and I always choose this particular lady who knows how to get the job done.”

I smiled and said, “Good for you.”   You may have noticed, I am not too vocal when meeting strange men in markets.

The stranger  went on to say, “I am 68 years old and going for a Bachelor’s degree online and I put up (preserved) 61 jars of garden fresh green beans, and  I am providing  home care and support  for my daughter and grandchildren.”  And while he never stopped talking he reached over and helped unload my groceries!

“Good for you,” I said again,

and of course, “Thank you.”

I don’t know if my reticence scared the two guys away but after engaging in conversation (theirs, not mine), they both quickly disappeared.  Where were they when I needed help loading the car?

Well, now they are fond memories (preserved) in my WordPress blog post of

Exciting Things that Happen to Elderly Beautiful Women in Grocery Stores

(a similar process to preserving green beans).

Please do not pity me for a boring life.

When you live in rural Virginia on the edge of a forest, with only Bill and the deer for diversion, being greeted by two old fascinating men in two days is as exciting as going on Safari!

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Striped_Skunk

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

I have been living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for 26 years now and I am a self proclaimed “local”, but still considered a visitor by genuine old timers. It seems like eons ago I  traded citified  high heeled shoes (that don’t work on gravel drives) for  more sensible Wellies or flats that keep you from falling over.

OF COURSE you never have to ask for Dor’s sage words of wisdom.  Here’s the scoop and the straight talk about country living.

MAKE FRIENDS WITH WILDLIFE!

Deer Turkey Convention 3

Wild things “where the deer and the antelope play” make up a big part of country life but please forgive them their sins.

Deer are hungry.

And anything you plant in the ground (flowers, food, maybe even plastic plants) will send out signals in deer language.

Have you ever heard deer talking?  They oink to each other and they don’t know it but I know they are saying,

“Come and Get It Guys!!  SALAD HERE!”

But you have to love deer for their great beauty and grace.  And after all, they were here first.

  • Exception #1:  Do not try to make friends with Virginia Black Bears.  They are beautiful but somehow not to be trusted with your life.  AVOID VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS.
  • Exception #2:  If you see a sick skunk, do not try to cover it with a blanket to reduce chills and fever.  Dor tried this once.  Fortunately the shivering skunk dragged itself away, but I learned later it might have been rabid!  I hope it was only the flu, but please – AVOID SICK SKUNKS!
  • Exception #3:  Buy or borrow a “Have a Heart Trap.”  This comes in handy for humanely evicting critters that get into your attic like flying squirrels and possums.
Nice View Here

This is just a cute squirrel…not a flying squirrel. I have never seen a flying squirrel but my neighbors had them in their attic.

 

PLANT A VEGETABLE GARDEN BUT MAKE IT BIG

We planted a garden right away but were laughed at.

“Need some help harvesting?” said Julie and Peggy between rude guffaws!

I guess one cucumber and one tomato plant was considered small potatoes around here.

It wasn’t much of a salad for the deer either.

YOU WILL SOMETIMES MISS THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE

Plan on losing POWER, WATER, HEAT, AIR-CONDITIONING and don’t expect to FLUSH TOILETS EITHER!  These things usually disappear without warning at the most inopportune times.

WHACK AWAY AT THOSE WEEDS!

You will undoubtedly own five to ten weed whackers over five to ten years.  WEEDS ARE KILLERS OF MECHANICAL OBJECTS.  And weeds will always win.  Be vigilant. Enormous weeds will soon take over without your constant murderous intention.  Wear gloves for manual attacks or risk bleeding fingers and bug bites.  And be prepared.  You will definitely lose the war.

THERE ARE GOOD BEES AND BAD BEES

Have a plan for dealing with wasps and hornets who build TERRORIST CAMPS in the ground or in great hives almost anywhere you don’t think of.  We found one enormous hive in the fender of our pickup truck.  We moved the truck and the critters kept returning to the empty parking space.

Evidently wasps are not particularly bright.

Now there is a terrorist camp in the ground next to our front door!  Beware visitors.

Bill has a diabolical plan for dealing with the threat.  He ran a hose into the hole and turned the water on.  We are waiting to see if they evacuate and move to a more idyllic location.  I will let you know how this works out.

Request for Bee Eviction 2

WORRISOME WEATHER

We have had flooding rains.

Once we had an earthquake that registered as a mild thump with some rattling dishes.

We experienced a Derecho (a type of storm I never even heard of) with wicked winds.

Tree Limbs Down (800x800)

Tornadoes are rare but not unheard of.

Drought is a distinct possibility.

Deep snow does happen.

Hot, muggy, mid-summer weather is punctuated by severe thunder storms. (Dor hides in a closet.  She used to blame the dog.)

However, we were told and still believe this is Brigadoon and it only rains at night.

Don’t get me wrong.

I LOVE COUNTRY LIFE,

the birds singing

and starry skies,

seeing a doe nursing twin fawns,

herds of turkeys,

  Mama Bear and two cubs wandering by our living room windows.

I love the open space

and the silence,

the comfort of knowing we are almost self sufficient,

the warmth of a wood stove and being stocked up for the winter,

and occasionally I even love the challenge of survival

in a place that is not always benevolent.

I still stand in my kitchen and look out at the Blue Ridge Mountains and then I look again at the inside of our house.  It is a welcome nest Bill and I have created and it is all we had ever hoped it would be, complete with all the memories.

Are you still contemplating the serenity of country life?

Ahhhh –  call me if you have questions!

Shenandoah Sunrise

Shenandoah Sunrise

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grouchy lady

MAXINE

I was just recuperating from a week long cold and eager to get out of the house, so it was off to the grocery store for color, characters, and sustenance.  The supermarket is now the equivalent of Ye Olde General Store in rural Virginia, the center for meetings, greetings, smiles, and stories.

But, things did not go well this time and “I shoulda’ stood in bed.”

  • Instead of friends, there were fruit flies flying around the onion bins – confused fruit flies. Don’t they know onions are not fruit?
  •  I  forgot half the items on the shopping list because well, I left the entire list at home.
  • Finally, to check out and hoping for Cheer and Sympathy (for my venerable age and sickly pallor) I chose a young, energetic  checker named Charlie.  Charlie was not friendly but he is my fevered story of the day.

As I unloaded the shopping cart onto a moving belt, I felt Charlie.

I mean I felt Charlie WAITING.  My 6th Sense you know.

“What is he waiting for?” I wondered.

Then I realized he was waiting for ME to put each item he bagged into the shopping cart.

Now it should be noted that I always do this anyway as my personal gift to the cashier.  

I never thought I was obliged to do it.

I actually think I am helping a hard working person who has to do it all day.

 And the cashier always chips in to help me too, with heavy or bulky items.

 It is  a friendly sharing and we even chat in the process.   

This worldly concept of peace and harmony did not overwhelm Charlie.

Charlie stood, arms folded, waiting.

He was waiting for an almost-elderly lady with a sickly pallor to move heavy items from his carousel back into the shopping cart.

Could this be true?  Could Charlie be so callous?

My foggy phlegm-filled brain slowly began to register CUSTOMER NEGLECT.  

It certainly did not register CUSTOMER SERVICE.

And with each  heavy item I loaded and as I tried to fit giant rolls of paper towels into the cart, I got madder and madder.   Can a person be screamingly silent?  I was screamingly silent but kept on working while Charlie waited.

The frown lines I had long been wishing to erase (with happy facial exercises) came back as deep, permanent etchings.

And in some mysterious way my otherwise docile charming personality evaporated, leaving an aggrieved sickly ogre.

Gripe th Gripe

When all the items were transferred BY ME (out of the shopping cart) onto the moving belt and then transferred BY ME back into the shopping cart, a young lady checker joined Charlie at the register.  And as I was writing out the check, they began bitching complaining about the nasty attitude and stupidity of a previous customer.

THAT DID IT!

“I am just curious,” I said with a grim grin and in my most charmingly sugar laced voice. 

“You, young man, have not lifted a finger to help load these groceries. 

Are the BUYERS in this establishment now EXPECTED to load all their groceries without help?”

And to my astonishment, the girl answered, “Yes, that’s the way we were trained.”

WHAT?

“You were TRAINED not to lift a finger to help a customer?”

Charlie did look a bit chagrined but he obviously had no idea how to answer the ogre in their midst.

I then turned to the lady behind me in line who had a case of colas in her cart.  “Let THEM lift it,” I said.

The ogre in me was so mad I could no longer engage in conversation and simply left the store muttering vows never to return.

Do you think Charlie and his friend were actually trained not to do anything to help a customer?  If so, how very unfortunate for future generations.

Maybe new young employees have never even heard of Customer Service and never will.

Maybe Charlie had a cold too.

After loading the car, I began to feel sorry for ignorant Charlie and his future progeny.

I am still slightly disturbed at the process though.

Here is what I believe Charlie was taught in store “training.”

  • Customers are the enemy.
  • Say, “Hello,” if they say it first.
  • After  the customer’s groceries are bagged, he or she MUST reload them (without help) into the shopping cart.
  • NEVER assist a customer in any way, even if the customer complains.
  • Always maintain a blank faced decorum.
  • Never apologize.

I realize of course, that Charlie was being confronted by the menacing side of me.

It was a day when “I shoulda’ stood in bed.”

Maybe it was a day Charlie shoulda’ stood in bed too.

“I shoulda’ stood in bed” is an idiom that was often quoted by my Hungarian father.
It means I should have stayed in bed.

 

 

 

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