Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cannon River Winery

Here we are at the winery. We tasted, then purchased, wine. It was a great outing, as they have all been. Stay tuned. A fall color outing is being planned for October.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

State Fair Outing

First Day of the fair, and we had a great time. We loved the Minnesota Winery Exhibit, so much in fact, that we're visiting the Cannon River Winery tomorrow. Two outings in one week. I'm going to be, actually I already am, exhausted. I'm not sure whether I'll walk the dogs this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Loose ends & Future plans

For those of you (if any) who have been wondering what I would be doing about my shiny spotted dining room and living room walls, you shall be in suspense no longer. I will be repainting them, and I am today going to make the final paint decision and purchase the paint. (see Dilemna, below) In the interest of sharing every boring tidbit of my mundane life, I shall, after the transformation and in true HGTV style, publish these shots here on my blog. Such a momentous event should not go un-promoted.

September is coming way sooner than expected. We usually expect September to arrive after interminable weeks of hot, muggy weather which prepare us to appreciate the cool fall days that begin in September. This year has been an exception, as we have had comfortable days for much of the summer with only a few days that hinted of real summer. Some folks have regretted this unprecedented comfort. I am not one of these. Still, I look forward to September.

In September I will resume my dog training, but I will not resume showing my pretty Lily in the breed ring. Life continues, and we move on to other things. I shall also repaint my living room and dining room, or did I already mention that? Outings in September? Of course! I think some drives to enjoy the fall color and pleasant lunches in beautiful Minnesota places should be high on the list of things a senior citizen should do before she's too feeble to do them without a personal care assistant. No, I don't think feebleness is imminent, but it's never too soon to use its potential onset as an excuse to do things one loves to do.

Monday, August 24, 2009

No cobwebs on the basement steps

It's hard to believe that I've lived in this house for 23 years this month, and this is the first time I have swept and washed the basement stairs. In fact I am looking at my home in a somewhat different way these days, as I have to watch for areas where cleaning is needed. It's not that I haven't always lived in a clean house, but that for over 40 years, I have depended on someone else to do it for me.

So today, just days since I finished the "big" cleaning that took about two and a half weeks to finish, it is time to vacuum and dust again. It was also time to take on the basement stairs. They don't look much better unless you can conjure up a picture of them with cobwebs and dust accumulated at the edges of every one of them. I found it very gratifying to dump the mop bucket and watch the filthy dirty water wash down the drain. Perhaps that's the reward for the work -- that, and the fact that I can once again walk barefoot in my own home.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Science Museum of Minnesota

A great outing, and, like the good tourists we have become, we had our picture taken. These are some of my outing friends. Left to right: Sue, Deanna, Faith, Me and RuthMary.

A couple more outings and then it will be fall. I've promised myself I'll put some discipline back in my life beginning in September.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The quest is over

After weeks of analyzing and tinkering and asking questions on the Internet about my computer software problem, it is suddenly and somewhat inexplicably solved. I ask no more questions, but they persist in my mind.

What does it matter? It doesn't. I have my favorite game back, and I'm getting back into the groove. I have to rebuild my amazing score record all over again.

There was a time when I wasted a lot of time solving computer software problems that needed to be solved in order for me to carry on my work. Since my work now consists of keeping my mind active with word games, this frustrating experience is surely comparable. Still, this outcome will not yield additional income. Oh well!

Cleaning in bare feet

It's the strangest thing. I dust, I sweep, I vacuum and I scrub. The floor should be pristine, and yet, as soon as I step on it again in my bare feet, I manage to step on a small stone, or sand, or dog hair or whatever (don't ask). If there is one small stone like dirt item in the whole room, that's where I my foot lands. That's the problem with cleaning in bare feet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Once upon a time, a long time ago in a place far away, I learned that traveling by myself wasn't bad at all. If I were in the mood to wander and, perhaps, get lost in a strange place, I had no one to account to but myself. Should I wish to stop in an eating place that appealed to me, have a beer or a cocktail in the middle of the day, and/or splurge on the whole endeavor, I needn't worry that someone with me might not enjoy it as much as I, or, more pertinent, might believe that since we couldn't afford it, we shouldn't do it. On occasions when I felt a particular event or activity or place to visit would be interesting, I never worried that no one else would want to share it with me. I just went ahead and did it. Sometimes, even often sometimes, I would meet interesting people in these endeavors and have quite interesting experiences, some of which I have shared and some I haven't.

Early this summer when I decided that it would be good for me to start doing things I've always meant to do, I told some of my now many and interesting friends of my plan. Considering my home is actually a senior citizen's home, I defined my plans as outings, and set about to schedule a number of them. To my great delight I have been accompanied on these outings by one or more of my many and interesting friends all summer. Tomorrow there will be two or three of us going to the Minnesota Zoo. A couple more outings and we're into September.

This week I have begun to realize how very much these outings and socializings (no, it's not a legitimate word, but . . .) have meant to me. I awaken each day with something to look forward to, either on that day or within the next few days. This happy time has spurred me into activity to tackle a number of mundane tasks that I heretofore (once a lawyer, always a person who falls back on archaic language from time to time) - I heretofore frequently chose to ignore. With many tasks still awaiting my attention, I am hoping this period of good behavior will continue. If not, I am still pleased to have accomplished a lot this summer.

Best of all, I have been blessed in more ways than I can count with the company of good people and really, really good friends. My thanks to you all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Recently while cleaning my dining room, I spot painted some scuffs and stains in the wall; however, as I noted, I had used a semi-gloss paint, so these spots are now shiny. I found the flat version of this paint; however, it seems to be a teensy bit yellower than the rest of the wall. Should I leave the shiny repairs as is? Or should I paint them a teensy bit yellower? or, heaven forbid, am I now stuck with having to repaint the whole room - which would also require that I paint the whole living room as well. I am wallowing in indecision.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


In my frenzy of super cleaning, which means that nearly every day I tackle a room or area of the house and do a thorough cleaning, I yesterday tackled the dining room. The rug is in the car waiting to be delivered to the rug laundry, and I have noticed that my paint touch up of nicks and marks rather shine, as I used semi-gloss paint. I have, fortunately, located the matching flat paint in the basement, so I'll be doing these over today. Makes for a rather odd look to see these shiny patches in various places along the wall. Obviously, not quite ready for company. And besides I still have the living room and upstairs to do. By then, it will be time to start over again in the TV room. A woman's work is never done.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ellen's twisted string circus

It is possible to walk three dogs at the same time on flexi-leads, but it is not particularly dignified to do so. If they were to all walk together in an obedient grouping by my side, I could look pretty cool. If they were to all walk out in front of me in a relatively orderly manner, I could look somewhat cool. But, in fact, they run in circles, sometimes in different directions and at differing speeds. I do not look cool. The kindest description would be that I look a bit silly. That is when the only glitch in the system involves unwinding and untying the twisting ropes. The real truth is that I look ridiculous, and sometimes I get a rope burn on the backs of my bare legs as one or another of the three run around behind me. It could be worse. I could trip over the ropes or a dog or over a bump in the sidewalk. That would look even worse than ridiculous and could, potentially, hurt much worse than a rope burn.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Learning about plants

My first foray into adult learning at the Arboretum today went well. I may even have actually absorbed some new information. At least it seemed that way when we walked around the gardens after the slide presentation and lecture. We'll see how much I retain as time goes on.

Almost missed the garden tour portion of the class as I was delayed in the rest room and the class was out of sight when I emerged. Couldn't see the class and seemed to be in the middle of a group of "families" with screaming and running children instead. I momentarily feared my first attempt at a learning experience was to end negatively, but soon spotted my group and charged purposefully after them.

Learned about gayfeathers, sea lavender, naked lady/autumn lily), lungwort (once thought to cure lung disease) and naked man. Learned that sometimes hybrids evolve from nature, as plants sometimes cross breed/fertilize and new species develop of which we do not know the parentage. A really racy course, as you can tell.

There was a brief joking reference to the value of baneberries in situations where the children didn't quiet down and stop racing the halls. Sound harsh? The temptation could arise should one be exposed to such noise and annoyance for long periods of time. Actually, I jest, surely. Baneberries are, I understand, poisonous. Perhaps just a warning/a little mumbling under one's breath?

Probably should not joke about such things in these troubled times. Some people are not joking, and that becomes a tragedy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sickos speak out. Sadly, some listen

It is a long time since we lived in warm & fuzzy times, like the 50's, and, though there was much to improve upon during those times, I find myself yearning for their return. At least a return to the simple sense of decency and, yes, innocence, that seemed to prevail in that seemingly simpler time.

A "good news" event this past week was surely the return of the reporters who were being held in North Korea, and yet, the vicious and the small minded, the guttersnipes who pretend to be important public voices will say what they think, no matter how despicable the thoughts, in national venues.

Here's a section of the article in today by Joe Conason entitled Clinton Derangement: North Korean Strain

"Here was an effort that exemplified the best of America -- a society that values the lives of its citizens enough to send a former head of state, with all the power of government behind him, to the aid of two women in distress. Here was a happy reunion, bringing wives home to their husbands and a mother back to her little girl, that surely uplifted the spirit of anyone who actually believes in family values. Here was a moment of pride and joy.
But not for Gordon Liddy, the demented felon and radio bigot who cackled about "Ling Ling and Wee Wee being locked up for nine hours in an airplane with Bill Clinton." Not for Rush Limbaugh, the obsessive guttersnipe who wondered aloud whether Clinton "hit on those two female journalists on the long flight home." Not for Andrea Peyser, the curdled tabloid columnist who insisted that "the whole shebang was nakedly scripted and staged as a device to help rehabilitate the image of former President Bill Clinton" (and who neglected to mention that Clinton did not speak to the eagerly waiting press corps and has given not a single interview on the North Korea mission). Not for Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who predictably seized on Clinton's mission as an opportunity for gratuitous and ugly insults to his wife, weirdly imagining that the prisoner release was "some clever North Korean revenge plot, giving the limelight to Daddy to punish Mommy." And not for the editors of the Huffington Post, who posted a very strange headline -- "Bill Upstages Hillary ... Once Again" -- on an Associated Press story that didn’t mention her at all."
Find the complete article at

I commented to a friend yesterday that, since my retirement, I've been reading more and am much more current with what is going on in the world and the issues we are facing. Yet, I wonder if that's a good thing. Crap like this make me wish I could find more ways to fill my time that would block out and ignore the world entirely. I'd truly love a return to simpler times, but alas, the best I can do is block out the present times and fantasize. Oh, if only I could develop selective memory loss.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My spoiled kids

Dogs,you may not realize, can and do know the time of day. They are especially diligent about meal and/or treat times. Walk times too, but in our household, these times vary more than meal or treat times.

I recall mentioning some time back (on Facebook, I believe) that someone had spoiled my Lily (that's the dog, not the huge, overgrown flowers in my front yard). No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for Lily's spoiling, but I am living with the consequences. The sweet faced, innocent looking Lily will at various times of the day sit at my feet and give out a little yelp. I glance down and there she is, simply waiting to be waited upon.

These helpful reminder yelps, I have noted, come at certain times of day. There is the morning yelp to remind me that I should be fixing breakfast where she and, of course, the rest of the pack, are expecting little bits of cheese as a bribe to let me eat my breakfast in relative peace.

Mid morning finds my little reminder dog giving me a small yelp to to say it's time to put on my shoes and take her for a walk. Later in the afternoon, she is simply available, as her Uncle Bert assumes the responsibility to bark gently, but repeatedly, to let me know he's ready for his evening meal. Occasionally, I glance up from my reading to see the whole pack lined up in a half circle in front of me waiting in anticipation. These events are always reminders to me that I may have forgotten one of their regular treat events. Sigh!

The moral of this story is: Once spoiled always spoiled, and there's no peace until the spoiled ones get their way. I wonder if my parents ever had that feeling about me, but they did tell me I was worth it. I guess I feel pretty much the same way about my pack of "kids".

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dr ?

Dentist on TV the other night advertising Colgate toothpaste - named Dr. Joyce Fang. Really!

Monday, August 3, 2009

So, How's your summer?

My cousin in Phoenix mentioned that she was looking forward to her swim. Temperature there was 115. Here we were in the high 70's. Hard to imagine living there year round, but some folks do.

These cool days fuel my relatively moderate ambition, including a desire to clean my house. This is the thorough, compulsive cleaning that moves furniture and things on shelves to vacuum and dust behind and beneath. So satisfying when it's finished. It meant that I cleaned the bathroom, including a hands and knees scrubbing of the floor. Wash down the walls, move out the cabinets, etc. Suddenly, as I was brushing my teeth yesterday morning, I glanced down at my bathroom cabinet and saw a streak of something on the side of the cabinet. Being on a tight schedule, I skipped my flossing and grabbed the sponge and towel to wipe this down. It's what we compulsive people do.

We have sidewalks again in my neighborhood. That stuff dries so fast there was no chance to put a dog paw print in it. Probably I wouldn't have done it anyway, but probably it's also a good thing there was no real chance of getting by with it. The inner child never leaves.

The beeping is constant today as they are smoothing out the grassy areas to receive the new sod and preparing the roadway for the return of asphalt streets. Progress is being made, slowly but surely. And here it is August already.

As our temperatures continue to be moderate, I have the energy to clean the house, am saving money with open windows instead of air conditioning and walking the dogs for regular exercise. Life continues to be very, very good.