Monday, April 23, 2018

Trees and Knees

Life as I know it these days is pretty darned good! And busy -- in a fun way. Last weekend we enjoyed an Italian Cork Poppers. I'll have a post on that soon with some of our favorite new tastes from Italy.

Remember the tree-removal situation a few posts back? Well, they came the other day to take some pine trees at the back of my yard. They were very tall and overshaded things -- I wasn't going to miss these guys. But I wanted to be sure they didn't overtrim the bushes or my ginko. True, the bushes in back have no leaves now, but they do provide privacy from the neighbor and that ginko is special to me!

It's pretty fascinating to watch these daredevils shimmy up these enormous trees and hang there from a rope.

That tree on the left -- they cut the top and pulled it down with ropes. When it fell, you knew!

They weren't too keen on my being out there without a hard hat but I kept my distance and used the zoom!

One guy seemed to be a little freaked and another guy went up after him. He was on the ginko which isn't exactly a tree with sturdy branches on which to get a foothold!

I will say they did a good job. I have more light in the yard which means I might even be able to grow things. And they actually were the ones that brought up replacement of my hydrangea they trampled on during their last visit and asked what I would like. So far, follow through is good. But it's still too early to plant things so I don't expect to hear from them for a bit. Still, I'm happy.

In other events, another Harry sighting. Actually, word at the Ditch is that there are two herons so I'm not sure if this is the same Harry as the last post.

Does it matter? Not to me.

I have to say, he doesn't have a friendly look, does he? I wouldn't want to mess with him in a dark alley!

This one?

The alley cat has turned into a marshmallow that purrs.

And what does all this have to do with knees? Well, I was finally moving a broken antique desk out of my garage with the intent of smashing it to pieces in the driveway to fit in my trash can. One of the legs fell off as I was carrying it (and it was solid-wood heavy!) and it went down and I went down with it. Nothing broken, though I was worried about my hand when the cut finger seemed to have affected the whole hand but all is well now.

Meanwhile, the fact that I could consider doing this outdoors is due to one big factor -- Spring is coming to our world. Slow but sure.

Just ask this one! He's been on the lookout!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Look Who's Squalking!

Harry the Heron is back!

Actually, he's been back for awhile. My first sighting was earlier this month. However, every time I had my camera with me, he was elsewhere. But a small detour on the way home from the dentist brought a sighting. I had the camera with me so I quickly parked and tried to follow him up and down the ditch. I almost missed him!

He was far from the footbridge and blended quite well with the environment.

I love a zoom!

He posed rather dutifully for awhile...

...and then he took off!

I never am ready when he starts to fly -- between digital delay and sometimes not having the camera on when he goes, I usually miss it. And he often goes the other direction! (Check out that wingspan!)

But today he was on sport-shoot and I followed him along! (Fuzzy pix -- it's hard to hit a moving target!)

I wasn't quite sure of his path, but hey, no complaints!

When Harry returns, it means spring really is here... matter how brisk it is!

Sharing with: Viewing Nature with Eileen   

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

One of Those Weeks

A little bird told me it was time to come up with another post!

I've been juggling things around the house and decided to rearrange the living room furniture. (And what a mess when moving the couch from against the wall. Lizzie has a whole new menagerie of cat toys that were underneath that sofa!) I've also been reading (up to book 24 now!) and painting, too! I need to do a wrap up one of these days!

My good friends Linda and Larry Stone were in town last weekend. Lin used to be my theatre teacher in high school and after graduation we formed a wonderful friendship of peers. Larry just received an award from Michigan State so we're attended the awards with them. (By the way, take a look at this display the caterers did with those IKEA modules. They had different snacks on each but what I liked was the baskets on the end. This would be a great idea for a craft room or art studio.)

On Friday we went to visit MSU's theatre scene shop. When both Larry and I worked on shows, he in the '60s, I in the '70s, we were dealing with a very small, tight construction area, poorly ventilated and lit. There's a new shop now and we really enjoyed seeing what these students can work with. All kinds of equipment...

...and room to paint! Some of the scene painting class projects were in progress and that was extra fun for me to see.

When I was in school, it was anything but state of the art. Now, it is that and more! For me it was extra fun to see some of the scene painting projects students are still working on. Plus, they've really emphasized the safety elements. That's our chair, Kirk Domer with me and Larry. Two of the best guys I know!

The awards, of course, were fun. They were at my old TV station and it was fun to see my colleague Ken Merley's EMMY-winning set for the station's political show, "Off the Record." Larry and all the others gave great speeches.

It was a fun event but even more fun was breakfast with Lin and Larry, their son Bob and his family, Jennifer, Kate and Ben. I love these people!

The weekend included meeting up with another blogger -- but this time it was Rick's blog friend, although I have read and admire the writing of George the Cyclist very much. George has cycled all over the world and wild-camps most of the time, carrying everything on the back of his bike. He was a real inspiration for Rick's bike hikes! He's also a serious film goer (who cycles to Cannes every year, among other festivals) so there was movie talk, too. Rick made his wonderful buccatini pasta recipe and I offered up salad and dessert. Dessert was Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. (Cookie recipe on package made large; big scoop of French vanilla and rolled in nuts!) Super easy and really good! Rick, George, a couple other cycling friends and I saw enjoyed loads of good conversation!

The weekend brought enough rain to float an ark -- and ice too. I call weather like this "basement water watch." (No problems!) But there are signs of spring -- not many but you grab them when you can. Mini-daffodils in the yard...

...bigger ones from the market.

And frozen ones from our ice storm.

Yes, more snow and ice. To my friends in snowy and icy climes, I feel your pain.

So do the birds!

And I have to say, they've been packing away the food lately.

Although, maybe this guy is partly to blame. I heard if you mix cayenne pepper with your bird seed it will keep the squirrels from eating it and not affect the birds. Half of that premise is right -- the birds are fine. The squirrels seem to have genetically mutated to take cayenne with a grain of salt. Or pepper, as the case may be.

By the way, my blog buddy Tristan Robinson Blakeman (Enchanted Revelries) is retiring and closing out his art design business -- and while doing so selling off some fabulous mixed media supplies on his Ebay page HERE. This is a great opportunity to get a good deal on supplies -- many of which are unused and looking for a good home. I'm sorely tempted...!

I leave you with loads of thanks to those of you who went over to Modern Creative Life to check out the link I included in my last post titled Meeting My Old Self in the Photo Albums and leaving heartfelt comments there as well as on the Gypsy post. Many of us had different versions of a shared experience and the comments and some of your follow-up emails really touched me. I'm behind in replying to comments on Gypsy posts (if I have your email address) but they are so very much appreciated. And I replied at Modern Creative Life on the posts there. Thank you.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Meeting My Old Self...the Ultimate Selfie

For whatever reason, I can't seem to get my blogging act together this week. But I have been writing over at Modern Creative Life and I invite you to link over there and read about "Meeting My Old Self in the Photo Album."

The theme of the Modern Creative Life issue in recent weeks has been "Selfie." And boy, it was pretty tough to look back at the past and how it made an impact on my present, especially when it came to battling weight, an overbite and an introverted personality in an extroverted profession. Let's just say, I let it all hang out.

Oftentimes writing about ourselves can bring up baggage that we thought we'd checked at the door, only to realize we are still carrying it around. Most of the things I write on this blog are pretty happy -- and that's because I'm a pretty happy person. And I also consider myself one of the luckiest people I know.

Four years ago when I was very ill, I told Rick that -- I was one of the luckiest people I knew -- and he thought that was very weird because for all purposes, there seemed to be little right with my life. I was horribly sick (but I had docs that were on my side and good meds); my job that I had loved for years had taken a drastic downward turn (but I had a job); my house was a mess (but I had a house -- and a cottage). Most of all, I had wonderful friends and Rick right there by my side. Luckiest girl in the world.

Another round of IVs in February 2013. Retirement followed seven months later!
So, instead of showing you the yummy-looking ice cream sandwiches I just made, the mini-daffs in my yard that are a real sign of spring or tell you about several of the really good books I just finished; instead of sharing something new I painted or something crafty I did, I'm going to share with you what may (or may not) be my greatest accomplishment.

Coming to terms with myself. C'mon over to Modern Creative Life and check it out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Life in My Hood

Just another old schizophrenic spring here in Michigan. One day it's sunny (not warm, but sunny). The next gray and gloomy. Then it snows. Then it melts. Then it snows some more. I look at old photos of the lake, flowers, summer, just to remind me it does exist. Then it snows again. Just enough to be annoying.

 The birds are hungry, socking down food in their feeders like they're expecting a lockdown of undetermined length. I had to move one of Lizzie's main feeders because Bushy the Squirrel (the big one) chows it down at an abnormal pace. (So does his little, smaller squirrel buddy with the cute white belly but he's a lot lighter!) So, Lizzie has had to switch to a slightly different viewing space, made all the more complicated by bringing the outdoor flowers inside!

But she's most attentive.

Last week I had a bit of a snit with the Board of Water and Light's tree trimming service, Wrights. Their motto should be "Wrights: It's All So Wrong." They're trimming (read that cutting down) trees all over the neighborhood that might go down on power lines in an ice storm. (Yes, we can get those in April, but you'd think they would have done it a little sooner). A few days ago they were taking down trees in my neighbor's yard. I happened to notice this when I noticed their workers in MY yard, throwing all the branches that fell from their trees.

Did they knock? Ask if they could be there? No.

Did they tell me when -- wait for it -- one of the big limbs that came down took down a four-and-a-half foot hydrangea bush I'd been nurturing for two years?

Nope. The neighbor's yard went from this (with the tall trees on the other side of the fence)... this.

Well, I can't help what they do to the neighbor. The trees were near the power lines and if they'd cut them down to clearance and left the tall trunks, that would be ugly too. But I did have issues with the hydrangea and called, really expecting to get not response. I sat back and waited!

I have to say I was pleased. The same day I called, the site supervisor and his boss came out, looked at the hydrangea and said they would replace and plant it. I asked them not to replace till they dealt with the trees coming out of my yard and I wanted to be present while they were working. We'll see. But I felt the response was more than appropriate.

I have been painting a bit -- trying to get a friend's dog just right.

Not there yet! But close. And hitting the theatre and one of my favorite small towns, Chelsea, last seen HERE. The occasion was seeing "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes and the Elusive Ear" at Purple Rose Theatre with a group from MSU Friends of Theatre. This professional theatre company was started by Chelsea resident and actor Jeff Daniels. They're known for doing wonderful productions and this one did not disappoint. A special highlight was a talk-back with director Guy Sanville and the excellent cast of this premiere comedy.

Our field trip included a the bus and lunch at the wonderful Common Grill, and MSU prof Dan Smith provided context for the play en route and a lively discussion on the bus ride home.

Now onward to a new adventures!

Sharing this week with:  Let's Add Sprinkles    /   Share Your Cup  

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