Friday, December 16, 2016

12/12/16 December Deadlines!

I'm looking at the clock on the shelf above this computer set-up. In a very few minutes I will be leaving for my WAG Writers Accountability Group Meetup meeting at The National Exemplar in Mariemont, Ohio.

We meet in a wood paneled room with a rectangular stained glass window which brings "light on the subject" to our gathering of similar writing interests. (Stopped herewith this post in order to attend  our writers' Meetup).

As we entered The National Exemplar we were welcomed with "Christmas" everywhere. A huge tree in the lobby was decorated with small wooden nutcracker figurines. In the dining room was another glowing Christmas tree. A beautiful Christmas centerpiece was placed on the huge wooden table.

We seated ourselves around the table and waited for our waiter, James. He offered us fresh water and other beverages. I ordered iced tea and added a packet of my Vitamin B12 to it. Then we took our time looking at the large menus (found out there was no "Soup of the Day"). We usually have 10 to 12 members show up, but this time we only had seven in attendance.

Our orders were taken. I ordered the burger (without the bun). The National Exemplar has other "chains" in other cities, too. The omelets and fritatas are quite good, too.

Our organizer, Susan Ellerhorst, brought the Meetup group "to order". Each person shared and continues to share her progress and success with her own particular writing project. Some of us are "bloggers". Others are poets. And, some are published authors! Susan brings in interesting speakers, too.

I continue to learn a lot and enjoy all the sharing that takes place. It is a great Meetup group and an opportunity to improve our writing skills.

Thank you so much, Susan and to all of you who are part of our WAG Writers Accountability Group. See you in 2017.  I keep setting up my goal to keep on writing my blog (s). I'm happy to report that I met this month's goal: write another Widder Lady post! Onward!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Plumbing Challenges! October 9th, 2016

Plumbing Challenge!
It's FALL already! It's time to do the "walk around" to prepare for the cold months ahead. There are check lists available on Google and other Facebook sites, plus a coupon-filled booklet from Angie's List. 

I know (now) to shut off all outside faucets from the inside of the house first, then open them to let out any remaining water. Then I cover each faucet with it's foam "cap" which takes a bit of skill to install. Slip the plastic loop thing over the faucet handle and then maneuver the foam cap into place while holding the plastic slip thing taut. Pull the slidy thing tight against the cap to complete the task.

Even though I did cover all of the faucets last year, I found a broken pipe under a bathroom sink which I had not used for awhile. One day when I was cleaning under the sink, everything on the bottom shelf was sitting in water. It hadn't leaked all the way out the cabinet door to the floor, so it was hidden from discovery. I have since stopped using that sink, figuring I'll get to it "soon enough".

The other sink that I use "all the time" is now defunct, too. What happened? That sink wasn't draining very well for a long time. I dropped one of those gum brush things down the pipe and hadn't been able to retrieve it, so I figured it was a cause for the slowdown of water draining  from that sink.

To jump "way ahead" to serious plumbing issues with this house, clogged pipes have always posed a problem especially at the "new" end of the house. Having a major pipe plugged with the roots of the huge magnolia tree has cost a lot and has been an endless challenge for figuring out what to do about "the plumbing".

Major digging and replacement of old pipes by the back patio walk was a huge investment. The opening to that drain is a landmark! Sometimes English Ivy covers the pipe and I'm again faced with pulling ivy away and away until its top appears.

This past week I called Roto Rooter and asked for help to open up the main pipe by using "the snake". The guy gave me a break with the $99 coupon but only found a few tree roots in that line. He drug "the snake" into the house to try to reach whatever clog was down the toilet and shower drain. He removed the toilet and replaced it again using a new wax ring. He said "the snake" that he had couldn't be used after all. I wondered if he knew what he was doing because other Roto Rooter guys had figured out where the clog was. This fellow wanted to bring in "the camera" and use some sort of  power jet to move the clog out - wherever that might be!

Shower drain hole!
I told him to just stop and I would call my own plumber to see what he could do. In the meantime I have used about a dozen packets of Green Gobbler clog remover, poured down vinegar over cups of baking soda, squeezed Dawn liquid down the shower drain and into the toilet that drains into the shower drain.

I've studied my plumbing guide book, Googled and checked out eHow. I now know a lot more about plumbing diagrams, plumbing tools and plumbing parts - pipes and such! I took apart the p pipe under the sink that was draining slowly and found a clog! It was a lot of gunk of hair and that gum brushy thing! Got that out. Tried to put the pipe back on, twisted my back a bit. Used a (Lanicain patch which worked to relieve the pain.)Went to the hardware for a new pvc replacement pipe. The guy who helped me, sawed off the extra pipe and showed me what to do. I tried and failed!

So now, I'm shutting down that bathroom except for the shower. I may put a potted plant in the toilet and just clear off the bathroom counter top. I've already moved most of my stuff down to the bathroom down at the other end of the house! It's a better view out the window. It's got "good energy", too!  Onward!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September, Sunday 9/11/206

Sunday, September 11th, 2016 

Here it is (or was) another September Sunday. It's been an incredible day - weatherwise, skywise and otherwise. The sky was a bright clear blue filled with huge, drifting white clouds. The sun was out, too. Such a day!

Such a day offered the opportunity to push procrastinating behavior aside and give way to energetic urges to get something done!

 And so the day began "regular" tasks (explained in an earlier blog) while listening to WGUC's Sunday Baroque and sipping on Kukicha green twig tea. I had purchased a cinnamon twig broom awhile ago and just this past week found that it is terrific for sweeping! It's slender twigs easily reach into the crevices alongside the breezeway floor. I used it to sweep down the greenhouse steps and to remove many spiderwebs "everywhere".

  I laundered the breezeway entry mats and brought the "recycled" tire mat inside after leaving it to be cleaned yesterday evening's heavy downpour. I also wiped down the doors and threshold with GP66 Miracle Cleaner. Items that had been sitting against the walls and in the corners of the breezeway were put away. I wiped off the "recycling station" (a recycled bar cart). I toss recycles into two black trash bins (paper/cardboard in one and plastics, glass, tin in the other) before taking them out to the large outside bins.

This Tuesday, Bacher's Window Cleaning service will be here to disassemble and clean the glass panels from the breezeway doors and go on throughout the entire house (including the greenhouse and garage) to clean windows inside and out. Bacher's is at the at the top of my list" for doing great work!
Breezeway West View
 I chose not to watch TV all day. Instead I chose to "do something that needed doing". I'm still remembering those who gave their lives on 9/11 fifteen years ago and never forgetting,  Never forgetting! Onward!
Breezeway East View
Recycling/Project Center
Outside Bins

Trash & Recycles (ready for pickup)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August Moments 8/18/2016

August Moments! 8/18/2016

Each and every day something incredible "happens" around here!

I look outside the family room patio doors to witness "critter activity". Current update: one young mother deer and her one fawn enter the yard to check out the crab apple tree's booming crop of crab apples. They spend a lot of time scooping up mouthfuls of small red fruit. Their tails in down position flick back and forth when all is "safe" Their tails "alert" to "up" position if some other critter (meaning me) knocks on the glass patio door. Off they go to scout out the entire neighborhood for more evening deer fare!

In "all the years" here (nearly 40) I have never seen a ground hog! I couldn't believe it! A ground hog! Angel Lois had a big ground hog at her home on Carterway Drive, Milford, Ohio.  She took pictures of her ground hog and fed him, too.

"My ground hog" seems to be a youngster. At first I though I was seeing a big squirrel, but its fur was brown and its tail was shorter than a squirrel's tail. It was sitting at the edge of the patio in front of a large grass plant. It didn't move and was giving me "the fish eye". I finally moved and it saw me move. That's when it jumped off the patio ledge and disappeared. I hope it has a cozy home nearby and keeps company with all those chipmunks that live under the patio, too.

For my contribution to the butterfly population, I've planted butterfly bushes and milkweed. All are blooming nicely and plenty of butterflies visit these plants. I hope a few monarch butterflies find the leaves of the milkweed to be a comfortable wrap as they go into their next phase of development!

For those who believe in "Spirit", I call the little white butterfly that follows me around, Mrs. Garrison (my late mother-in-law, first marriage to Harry). Mrs. Garrison loved butterflies! She really LOVED butterflies! She had butterfly "this and that" everywhere! And so, I figure that little white butterfly IS Mrs. Garrison.

The cone flowers (Echinachea) are prolific this year and offer plenty of seed picking opportunities for Gold Finch (Angel Loise loved gold finch and purple finch, too). The finch seed that I used to put into feeders dropped to the ground and grew into a huge "garden" of thistle! The thistle plants were removed - they are just too thorny!

There are other creatures of nature that do a lot of buzzing about around here, around this time of year: locusts (cicada - not the 17 year ones), bees, hornets, wasps, dragon flies and some no-see-ums!
There are plenty of crickets, tree frogs and bigger frogs, toads and other creepy critters that surround this neighborhood that I call "home".

I certainly know, for sure, that I am not here, home alone! Not for a moment am I alone!


Monday, August 8, 2016

Motivate! Inspire! Just do it! 8/8/16

I'm tempted to slow down to a lazy pace and just absorb life, moment by moment. But, something "inside" says "get with it"! It's the constant, it's the demanding, it's the requiring of myself to do what needs to be done in spite of the urge to stop, just stop and give myself a break! (How's that for a lot of cliches?)

Each morning I add a few more check marks to my daily list of "to-do's" Sometimes I give myself a "star" for a "job well-done". I'm following my mother's habit of list-making. (I wonder if her mother was a list-maker, too.)

My daily "to-do" list is logged into a Mead 5-Star notebook about 5"x5" square. I now have stacks of these notebooks. They serve as a good record for tasks that I have accomplished - household and personal.

I start with the date on the left side top line and draw a smiley faced sun or a somber cloud to represent each day's weather. Today it is overcast, so I will draw a cloud with the sun peeking out behind it, or maybe do it in reverse order.

In the blank space above the date, I put "key" events. Today I will be attending a Meetup group called WAG (Writing Accountability Group) - so I will write WAG in that space.

Here's my list layout:

B_L_D_   (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                V_(vitamins)
EM/FB _ (email/FaceBook                               T _ (tea)
PCA _ MB (put clothes away, make bed          W - (water)
TT_TTB_RO (trash trashed, trash to bins         SWIM _
                         recycles out)                              WALK_
DI_ DO_ RD_ (dishes in, dishes out, run           PILATES _
                           dishwasher)                              PMT_(put me together)
CC_ (counter cleanup) SPF (sort, pitch, file)      T/G_ teeth/gums

The rest of the page is left to describe further important tasks:

I also report in on my Facebook group called Homemaker's Encouragement where we list our tasks by number and add onto each other's list as the day goes by to see how many tasks we can complete. I am amazed by how much we all accomplish and how much we encourage each other. Having a place to share the "daily doings" helps me to realize the importance of being a "home manager". It is business, a business of managing and running a home from daily maintenance to major projects.

We share ideas and give each other loving support when something happens that "throws a monkey wrench" into our daily lives. We've shared news of new babies being born, health matters and death.
We've complimented each other on our progress and successful completion of long-term goals.

Today I have already had breakfast, vitamins and green tea. I swam ten laps, "put me together", scrubbed my teeth, put on makeup, made my bed, trashed trash, put dishes in the dishwasher and now I am writing! I am writing because I like to write and consider myself a writer!

Now I can go to the WAG Meetup group and report in that I did WRITE something this month! And, I certainly hope to do more writing before next month's Meetup!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Widder Lady: Cleanup! 7-17-16

Widder Lady: Cleanup! 7-17-16: Cleanup! Sunday 7/17/16 Sharing - Pictured are my currently favorite cleaning products! Scrub Daddy, Bar Keepers Friend, Magic Erase...

Cleanup! 7-17-16

Cleanup! Sunday 7/17/16

Sharing - Pictured are my currently favorite cleaning products!

Scrub Daddy, Bar Keepers Friend, Magic Eraser, Green Gobbler, Fly Lady's Purple Rag

Remembering "way back" to my young self doing housework, way back to the forties at Potter Farm Lane. Mama divided up the household tasks between my sister and myself. I don't remember if Allan (our younger brother) had any specific household task other than being responsible for cleaning his room.

My job was to clean the kitchen and living room each week. It was not a quick swish and swipe assignment. Mama was definitely a "clean freak" and I suppose she learned this from her own parents and from being the eldest child of a family of 7 and then orphaned early (age 18) and married young (19) and a mother of me before she was even 20.

Cleaning meant dusting and wiping all woodwork - baseboards, window sills, trim, doors, etc. Windows were usually done by Mama sitting on the windowsill while precariously balancing outside the window, holding onto the bottom edge the lifted window. We eventually learned how to clean windows, following Mama's example.

In the kitchen I emptied out the refrigerator of everything, then wiped everything clean using baking soda and clean water. If there was defrosting to be done, then the freezer part would be cleaned, too.
Shelves and bins would be removed, cleaned and put back in place.

Cleaning the stove would be a challenge, too. We used "Easy Off" to clean off the spills and built up gunk from many baking projects. When we lived on Route 125 in Withamsville, Ohio I took the entire electric stove apart - even undoing all the wiring under the burners! I wonder to this day how I put it all back together again!

Then, I know and knew what it is and was to scrub the linoleum kitchen floor clean. I used two buckets - one filled with Spic & Span water and another with clean rinse water. I used a scrub brush with the Spic & Span mixture on the entire floor. Then, this was followed by using a rag dipped over and over again in the clean water to wipe up the dirty "gook" of wax and debris. Eventually the floor would be clean and dry enough for me to apply two coats of liquid wax. (I can still smell that wax).

Instead of buying new linoleum, we painted it with three color dobs - yellow, red & green "all over". It was part of my 4-H Kitchen Re-do project. I chose a color scheme of dark green walls and woodwork and we made french cafe curtains - white with red, yellow and green ribbon stripe trim. Part of the project required that the kitchen be organized efficiently - "zones" for specific tasks and storage. We had a Hoosier cabinet which 'housed" the baking supplies and provided a porcelain pull-out table/shelf for rolling out pie dough. The kitchen table was big enough for our family of 5. It sat in an alcove.

For awhile we didn't have running water. Instead there was a hand pump at the kitchen sink. Eventually we did have running water! But, we never did have an inside toilet at that house!

I was also in charge of cleaning the living room. Luckily we had an Electrolux sweeper which I think we got from Uncle Charles (who may have been selling them). I used all the attachments to clean all the woodwork and upholstery.

Daddy had made some beautiful end tables from piano bench and piano tops. I dusted those with a rag and something oily for a protective shine. The floor was dusted and swept. I don't remember if there was an area rug, but it seems an important finishing touch to the room. I loved the roll-up bamboo shades and turquoise walls. I remember enjoying many incredible sunsets from those west-facing windows above the couch. The living room would be shut off during very cold weather. For awhile we had an old pump church organ that I enjoyed playing. Eventually we got a piano which I played a lot. We took lessons, too.

All this leads from an early introduction to housekeeping/home making to a lifetime of tasks, doing again and again, the never-ending tasks that fill up "to-do/done" lists/booklets and constant thinking of how a housekeeping task can be done more efficiently or delegated to someone else!

I now have my Meetup group called "The Society of Too Much Stuff" which encompasses many challenges of "keeping house". I'm writing this today, to remind myself that, "Yes, I have done it well in the past and will continue "doing" until I can't do it any more. Onward!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July, 2016!

Happy 4th of July, 2016!

It is a rainy Monday, 4th of July here in Indian Hill, Ohio. I'm happy it's raining - keeps the grass green and gives all the blooming flowers an extra boost of energy!

I celebrate Independence Day by changing the mailbox flag to something patriotic and am sure to keep Old Glory on display at the front of my home. During this weekend of celebration I've worn Star-Spangled beads, an American Queen (the steamboat) t-shirt and big star earrings. I've shared many 4th of July posts on Facebook and listened to a lot of patriotic music - from the Cincinnati Pops at Riverbend with my son, Marshall Garrison to Sirius on the car radio and WGUC's offerings.

I set out a display by the altar for loved ones - a red gladiola with a daisies in a clear, small vase with a small statuette of Uncle Sam - especially for Harry Garrison who would dress up as Uncle Sam for many patriotic events during the sixties.

When we were married, Harry would stand at the bathroom sink and coat his mustache and goatee with white stuff (looked like the shoe polish which I put on Marshall's baby shoes). The red satin neck scarf was shiny, bright. He wore red and white striped pants and had a blue vest and matching blue coat. His hat was an Uncle Sam top hat. He was Uncle Sam for sure!

Our 4th of July celebrations included picnics out at Mama and Daddy's home on Carterway Drive in Milford. Big round tables were set outside and topped with festive and delicious 4th of July "fixin's".
Many relatives and friends arrived with their special pot-luck sharin's. Mama's German Potato Salad and Hunt's Meat Loaf were always a big hit!

Fireworks preparation was done down at the end of the property. Harry would bring fireworks which would be dropped into big metal mortars that had to be sunken into the ground. (Those mortars were still in Mama's garage many years "after").

We celebrated all afternoon and then settled into a
Happy 4th! Acrylic Abstract by Karen Kelly
viewing mode. Harry was in charge of the show. One by one each fuse was lit by Harry who then ran fast as he could away from the zooming bomb as it shot high into the sky, boomed loudly and then burst into a fiery blast of sparkling, dripping magic crystals!

This year's fireworks at Riverbend were booming, mostly singular displays searing into the blue-black sky. Loud music - mostly movie themes - John Williams "in particular" - added to the excitement. Marshall and I had attended the earlier USO tribute by the Cincinnati Pops in the covered arena. To see the fireworks we climbed steps to get to the walkway behind the lawn patrons where we leaned against a couple of pillars to watch the show.

As the show was ending, a small spider dropped down and would have landed on me if I hadn't seen it! I figured that small creature had "had enough" and was "getting out while the getting was good".

We walked back to our car and slowly made our way home, peacefully and happy to be an American, "Home of the Free" - "Land of the Brave"!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Iris! May 8, 2016


It's May! Finally it's May even if it's cool and damp, it's still May!

My "calendar year" follows the cycle of blooming flowers. Earlier spring flowers have bloomed. Crocus, snow drops, daffodils, tulips and other tiny ones have put forth their "smiley faces". They are gone now and are storing up energy in their bulbs for next year's display.

Now it's time for iris! My love for iris  goes "way back" to my childhood days on Potter Farm Lane where my folks rented a home from "The Potters" who owned many acres of farmland, woods and a pond which we called "The Lake".

Our home was bordered fences - a fence by the corn field, a fence by the orchard, a fence to keep the Herford cattle in their area and a fence alongside Potter Farm Lane. We learned how to climb through those barbed wire fences - by holding up the second wire and crawling through to the other side without getting snapped or catching our clothes on a barb.

I don't remember the front fence being made of barbed wire - but it may have been a square pattern of wire. I know that it was a perfect place to plant Iris - on "our side of the fence".

We went to Withamsville Baptist Church where we had many special friends including Grandma Gregor. Grandma Gregor was definitely "Grandma" for those of us who knew her. She lived on Nine Mile Road in a home with a huge cast iron stove and a room full of indoor plants. She wore cotton aprons. And, she raised chickens. This was a time when everyone had an outhouse, too!

Grandma Gregor would come to visit us.  I believe she was our "baby sitter, when Mama was working "outside the home". Grandma Gregor brought plants from her home to share with us. She taught me how to plant Iris along the front fence.We also planted some polyanthus! She showed me how to clean the shovel, pitchfork and hoe in the small stream that ran through the back ditch down to "The Lake". 

I remember the patch of orange road lilies that came up every year by the corner of the house. I also had my own small garden on the east side of the house with three moon flowers (Datura) that came up every year. *Note: I had these flowers in pots on the cottage porch when Mama was here during her last years. She and I enjoyed the moon flowers  "again" as memories of  Potter Farm Lane.  I learned how to make a "hot house" to raise some lettuce. And for Easter 1945, Mama gave me a small book about flowers which I still read and enjoy. I've made line drawings of  some of the flowers from that book.

Today I have many iris (at least 20 different varieties). The first to bloom this year was a yellow/rust combo followed by another white one edged in purple. For die-hard iris lovers there is  Facebook page called "Iris Friend" where pictures are posted almost every day of one incredible Iris "after another". For awhile I tried to remember the names of my iris plants. Now, I'm just happy to see them in bloom

If any of you ever want some iris rhizomes, let me know. I'm glad to share!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Madeira Art Show - May Day 2016

May 1st, 2016 - May Day!

This was a very special day, indeed! Be this an essay or a diary entry, I'm happy to share this day with anyone who enjoys being "around and about".

Madeira is our local community for "togetherness". It's history begins with a railroad depot in the middle of town. The depot  survived various incarnations over the years - an ice cream parlor (twice), restaurant "Choo Choos" with walls of railroad memorabilia and an antique toy train running around a suspended track. It is now Depot Barbeque with the train tracks still intact but there is no antique toy train running around the edge of the upper walls.

I loved sitting in the bay window area of Choo Choos to see the tracks and sometimes even witness a train roar by. Going to Choo Choos meant special service by neighbor Jackie whose sister (I believe) had ownership in the place.

Today was the annual Madeira Art Show which has been in existence for many years - maybe as many as twenty-seven years (overheard someone say this) where talented people exhibit their art, jewelry, stained glass, pottery, clothing, toys, wood objects, soaps, lotions, stone oil lamps, garden decor and many other items - too many to mention.

My friend, Mary and I met at Coffee Please before we ventured down the street across the railroad tracks into the exhibit area which filled both sides of Miami Avenue between Railroad Avenue and Euclid Avenue. The weather was "perfect" at 11:00 a.m. Having a sunny, clear day was a "blessing" after having heavy storms all day and evening on Saturday, April 30th, 2016.

Quartz Nail File
We purchased some items, too. Especially nice is the quartz-bladed nail file - which we each purchased and probably will wish we had bought more to share with friends! I now have another square stained glass panel (my third) from the fellow whose business card is "around here, somewhere". The pottery business card holder "took my eye" - so I "just had to have it, too"! Then, I couldn't pass up the jewelry lady - who had a bracelet and earrings with a starfish and shell design - something that "matched my outfit" (and other outfits, as well).

Stained Glass Panel
So it goes - a wonderful time and my wallet emptied out of maybe $100 (haven't counted yet).

We stopped for lunch at A Tavola's outside patio. Beautiful! Wood tables, great service and delicious food - roasted cauliflower with balsamic dressing and asparagus salad (fresh) topped with a meatball (by special request by me). I only spent $12 plus $3 tip! And, I have enough leftovers for supper!

After a very pleasant time discussing topics that were of interest to both of us, we headed home. Mary bought some hosta plants from the local garden club ladies for twenty-five cents each! What a bargain!

I unloaded the car and have hung the stained glass panel, put the bag with the business card holder near my cart to take to my studio and am enjoying looking at the bracelet - on the kitchen counter.
The nail file has been used several times already. It's amazing!

Yes! This was a May Day to remember!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tadpoles! 4/29/16

Froggy! (watercolor by Karen Kelly)

Tadpoles! Millions of tadpoles!

Each year the cover to the dark blue pool cover fills with water and leaf debris. As winter melts away, spring days bring sunny rays that warm the pool top pond.

I look at the calendar and realize I had not signed up to be one of the "first" customers for having the pool opened. I'm hoping I'm not "too late" - hoping that I won't experience another TADPOLE episode!

Days passed and I didn't check the pool pond, but I did call Pool Boys (Rodney Hoskins) to be put on his schedule.

Spring flowers popped up and disappeared. Spring shrubs bloomed, too. The giant oaks dropped fuzzy strings "everywhere"!

The purple finch returned and built another nest under the eaves of the cottage. Their offspring grew without my help and are now flying back and forth over the pool top pond.

With the help of Angie's List, I have Gutter Boys come out to clean the gutters and downspouts. The Gutter Boy who was here and I discussed gutters and gutter covers and . . . TADPOLES!

He said, "Looks like you have a lot of tadpoles!"

A lot of tadpoles! A LOT OF TADPOLES!

OK! I know I heard frogs croaking nearby awhile ago! But, how long ago? A month? Two months?

Whatever! It doesn't matter when! What matters is that the pool top pond had many thousands of tadpoles swimming and swimming around in the warm water. I felt remorse and guilt! These poor creatures would not live much longer - that is - just maybe if they swam their way to the neighbors' back lake they might, maybe just might make it.

Just as I came in here to my computer to write this "story", I see that Rodney has set up the drainage equipment to remove the water and the tadpoles!

As my counselor, Mr. Edgar Gibson, says "Mistakes are lessons. Problems are opportunities".

No sharing jars of tadpoles with home schoolers or children. No Japanese tadpole soup (my idea). No tadpole fertilizer for my plants!

Reminder to myself: Ask Rodney to put me on his early list for 2017!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

1974 Teflon Coated Minds

As I continue to sort through stacks of paper memorabilia and more "stuff" I often find something I've written and forgotten about. I wrote this "essay" for myself in a very small purse-size spiral notebook with orange pages.

Instead of saying, I "want, I want" shall I now say, "I give, I give" and keep giving until I am exhausted from doing so? I will give, but in ways that I can give best - the essence of my life, my soul - not fearing criticism of those about me for that is my greatest fear up until ow - criticism - fear of words and my son asks me "What are words?"

Words are nothing - so true - it is only by assimilating a series of words - thought - therefore - response, action - hopefully giving meaning to words.

Shall I write about fear? Fear of what? Mainly death - no not the hereafter, etc. It is fear of pain in those last moments,  but would it not be similar to being on the operating table - coherent - speaking, communicating with those preparing my body and then suddenly - instantly not here any more and surprised upon awakening finding oneself alive?

That must be death - gone - asleep and then awake in some strange new place, a new form and hopefully, amazingly - a greater intelligence to see and understand the reason for one's existance - how one fits into the total plan - the endless infinity - into the energy of it all.

Fear - of not being part of the universe. We are part of it. We are a functioning member of it all.

My only concern is looking and observing the cruelty - the primitive punishment animal behavior - for the scramble to survive at the expense of one another - those who are so afraid and always saying, "I want, I want".

I have said it, too and still I say it. I acknowledge this wanting! I want to know everything. I want to feel - to be. I want to sooth - to heal - to show how it is to be a complete force of energy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Rainy Day! 4/11/16

What to do on a rainy day - a rainy, rainy day?

Stop! Listen! What's that sound?

Here in the cottage office are skylights which bring in much needed light and also serve as percussion instruments - for the drumming of raindrops. The rhythm changes from light to heavy with variations "in between".

Rain fills the pool cover once more. The other day I looked out to see major ripples along the edge of the "pool cover pond". It seemed, maybe, that some critter may have been struggling to get out of the water. It wasn't a critter at all! It was the wind "blowing up a storm"!

Water fills the ditch alongside my neighbor's driveway and makes its way to another neighbor's small lake. There are several major drainpipes that take water from the gutters, down spots and drainage network around my home, back to the lake.

Having plenty of rain brings water for local wildlife, too. We have deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, coyotes, groundhogs, birds and sometimes a snake or two that have made their home in our shared "green spaces".

This year the flowering shrubs and trees "made it out" before the snow returned. The daffodils survived, too. It's been a "Celebration of Spring"!

To see buttercups and red bud trees blooming in the wooded areas beside our "country roads"  has made "just going to the store" a special trip. For fun, I put the car windows down to hear the birds chirping in the trees!

I'm glad it's Spring! I'm so glad it's Spring!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Opening Day!

Here it is again! Opening Day! Parades, music, food, people everywhere - people dressed in red - all for The Cincinnati Reds Opening Day! Play ball!

I'm wearing my red sweater and viewing all the happiness and happening on my iphone via Twitter and Facebook and also by watching updates on our local TV stations.

All this excitement has triggered another "can't believe I did that" memory!

Time: back when Jerry Ford was president

Place: Cincinnati, Ohio

Characters: 3 (attractive) female friends, dressed "to the nines", big hats

Vehicle: Blue Lady - a '72 blue Rolls Corniche convertible

Deems (thinking that was her name) had been friendly with Butch Knowlton who I believe was invested somehow with the Cincinnati Reds. She was a decorator and he was her client. (There's probably a lot more to that relationship but I do not have anything here to share.)

Martha was a beautiful blond lady who had been a mistress to a fellow over in Highland Towers (thinking now that they both may be deceased).

Karen, just me, was without supervision by husband Bill who was a "travelin' man" to the West Indies and Lake Tahoe - one or the other place - every three weeks.

I will not place any blame on any one of us for our behavior on that particular Opening

We decided we wanted to go to the ball game. We had no tickets. We had no invitation from Mr. Knowlton who had a box atop the stadium! The "no this, no that" didn't matter to us!

I drove Blue Lady down to the entry gate of the stadium. The guy at the gate didn't question us when we told him we were the wives of the players (or was it the owners?). He ushered Blue Lady and us right on through into the stadium underground parking area.

We found our way into a secured area with Ford's secret service people. Again, somehow we were
allowed to proceed to the top level of the stadium where we located Butch Knowlton's luxury suite (box). We were welcomed with food and drink and friendship! And, we watched the Opening Day Game! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Writer's Accountability Group! Many thanks to

I may have mentioned that I am an organizer of five groups and I belong to several other groups, too. The latest group is "Writer's Accountability Group" which can be found listed under the main group "Women Over Fifty" which is me and "then some"!

I've attended two Meetups with other women writers and am learning what it means to be "accountable" as a writer. I do believe it means hitting the keyboard more than three times a month! It's not that I lack ideas for what I want to write and share, it's the "other stuff" that beckons my attention and energy. I'm thinking maybe if I would write "first thing" in the morning - before I start my daily "to-do's" ticking them off my list and reporting into Facebook's "Homemaker's Encouragement" group.

By the time I've completed my morning routine, I'm ready for lunch and a nap! Then, what energy is left is enough to propel me into the creative cosmos!

Today! Yes! Today will be different... After one more tall glass of cool Kukicha (brewed fresh) and a bit of fun pulling away fall/winter leaf debris around the herb pots, I finally am here with "pooter" listening to a lighter version of clicks (missing the sound of my old IBM Selectric keys).

I considered using Dragon Speak (relearning it all over again) to make this typing stuff easier, but thin I remember all the correcting of weird misspelled words. I do speak into my Iphone to save time, but I still get ridiculous words that need to be replaced by typing tiny keys!

Having mentioned my groups at the beginning of this post, I am particularly pleased with my Wheat Belly Lifestyle group (listed under the main group - Cincinnati Cuisine Club). We meet at my home on the first Monday at noon. For now, it's a small group of four. I set the table keeping a "theme" in mind. Yesterday, I chose green place mats, green napkins, green glasses and a Rosemary plant in a cobalt plastic pot for the centerpiece.

We enjoyed a fresh salad with avocado, green lettuce leaves, walnuts, pistachios, olive oil and balsamic vinegar topped with fresh black pepper & sea salt. One of the ladies brought fresh vegetable beef soup. She brought some grated cheese as a topping for the soup. For dessert we had a bit of Faye Greek yogurt with homemade peanut butter cookies (sugar and wheat free) from the Wheat Belly 30 Minute Cookbook.

 I had the tea bar set up with hot water in the "punch the button on top" thermos. And, I provided ice water in an antique - keep it cold - carafe.

We shared. We experienced a wheat free (really grain free), sugar free meal together. We discussed the improvements we feel when we follow WB Lifestyle and the consequences of being "wheated".

I will continue with my groups and continue to be inspired by the incredible opportunities offers to its community of active participants! Many thanks!
Many thanks, "Writers Accountability Group", too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2/16/16 Writings "Found Again"

As I continue "Doing the Sort" I often find something I've written tucked inside pages of books, calendars and stacks of unsorted papers. I was going through old diaries and old "Teacher's Notebooks" trying to find some medical information (have misplaced the Master Medical File). The search didn't lead me to finding anything medical - at all.

However, there was a stapled stack of writings which led me on another "wondering" adventure. The stack of paper is filled with brief, typewritten essays. I'm thinking they are from some long-forgotten writing assignment - from the University of Cincinnati's Evening College. The "where from" is not on my priority list of "just write, just share" on this Tuesday morning of February 16th, 2016.

So it shall be - me sharing with thee!

Music in the Elevators

Every elevator should have music - especially the elevators that go up many floors. People in elevators are funny . . .especially in the Terrace Hilton . . . when one patron who obviously thought there was a velvet covered bench that goes to the Panorama Room and Gourmet Room . . . moved carefully to the corner and proceeded to sit down on the bench he that was there.

He sat.

To his amazement there was none (no bench) and he ended up sitting on the floor in the corner, causing all who were there to find some common means of communication. It was funny and they laughed.

*Note: This may have been written in the sixties when I was married to Harry Garrison. We often went to the Gourmet Room (Harry was a "gourmand" - meaning he loved food and showed it). I remember wearing a "kite" dress - a funny-looking black and white striped "number" that had bat-wing sleeves. The Terrace Hilton sits empty in downtown Cincinnati. 

There was a long cocktail lounge alongside the windows facing sixth street where we had a "Grasshopper" - a minty, cream drink. There were "star" maitre de's who knew your name and made the evening incredibly special. The Miro painting that adorned the curved wall of banquette seating is now at the Cincinnati Art Museum (first floor - across from The Terrace Dining Room - wondering if that's why the name "Terrace" is repeated - or did they not think of the "serendipity" of it all....).

As the song goes . . . "Those Were the Days"!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy 79th Birthday to Me! 1/17/206

Well, Happy Birthday to Me!

 I have completed seventy-nine years on this planet as of January 17th, 2016 at 2:32 a.m.  I often tell people that I was born "A Hundred Years Ago" (the title of a song which we played on an old '78 record years ago).

 For inspiration, I really am glad people are posting Facebook pictures of many centenarians - people who have survived much and have many life lessons to share - especially encouraging thoughts and advice.

Karen Lucile Brown - Garrison - Kelly @ 79 years of age!
As I've aged, I am very comfortable with the fact that there a lot of "no more have-to's" which I thought I "had to do" during my "growing up years". Now, I know from constant counseling with Mr. Edgar Gibson of The Strategy Group - that it's behavior that "is everything" and knowing it's the phrase "I CHOOSE" that's energizing to "Spirit" (Soul) - the real me!

So now, instead of being compliant and co-dependent, I know I can choose. In the past, I often chose behaviors which did not "fit" who I was - but it seemed (at the time) the "easy way out" to escape the possible encounter with a combative foe! This is not to say that I didn't battle my way through many absurd situations brought on by circumstance - sometimes beyond my own "choosing".

I know now, that many of the idiotic and chaotic years were spent with sick, sad people. I thought I could "rescue" them! After many, many years of counseling with various shrinks, Family Service, Al-Anon, Co-Da, etc. and finally now with Mr. Edgar Gibson, I have reach the "age and stage" of being "all grown up" and still leaning how to assert myself in ways that do not hurt me or others. I'm learning to "respond and not react".

Thinking back on all those "challenges" which took away my energy and time from a possible career as a serious writer and artist (I still write and paint), I realize that I learned a lot and now can put those "mistakes" to rest. And, thinking, too, how many of those anger-provoking souls are now "at rest" - not even here on this planet, but still floating in the back folds of my brain!

Today - it's a wonderful day to just have time, time to myself. I love a quiet day with nothing "particular" on my schedule except to do "what I want to do" - write, paint, putter and read. I like listening to music as I sit at my computer - clicking keys.

What did I do on my birthday this year? I celebrated my 79th birthday with my son, Marshall Garrison at Embers restaurant. Marshall gave me a beautiful set of snow tires and installed them, too. And, he gave me a funny birthday card!

I also appreciate all the birthday greetings on Facebook, cards and special gifts - handmade soap and chocolates. Thank you all - so glad to be with you here - "Sharin' With Karen"! Onward!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snowy Day! Hooray! Jan. 12th, 2016

Snow, snow! Beautiful snow! Yes, snow is beautiful especially when it's outside and I'm inside here in the cottage poking the keys of "pooter". I've had great intentions of writing more often, but the daily task list usually wins over giving myself permission to write - just write!

Maintaining a "rambling ranch" presents plenty of "to dos" each year, each month, each week, each day. I keep an on-going list in various places - notebooks, bulletin boards and planners. I created "The Society of Too Much Stuff" Meetup group to keep me (and those who attend the Meetups) moving forward to the goal of having an organized, clutter free home.

"Project Cleanup" has been on "the list" for many years. I know I've made progress. And now, with Facebook I have various groups that help me "keep on track". I especially like "Homemaker's Encouragement" where we are sharing our daily progress and building long-distance friendships. Flylady continues to be an inspiration, too. I have followed her plans and know "the vocabulary" of living a life built on her book "Shine Your Sink".

I sit here in a small, compact area that feels like the cockpit of an airplane. There is a wall covered with a dry-erase  three-month calendar where I list upcoming events. Below that is another dry-erase "board" (a reversed year calendar) where I have listed "Stuff for Whom". As "keeper of the key" (keeper of other people's stuff) this list keeps me aware of inherited items that may or may not have historical or family significance.

Then, on the same wall is a bulletin board filled with favorite memorabilia - cartoons, pictures, postcards, drawings and sayings that my mother saved. I love it! And, I love the hand-hooked owl rug that Mama "finished" (something started by someone else). Owls mean a lot to us. We wrote "Hoot 'n Holler" for several years - a small publication that we sent out to family and friends. It was "much-appreciated" and worth doing.

The rest of this u-shaped "nest" is filled with a label maker, a Neat scanner, a scale from, and old Sony clock-radio of Mama's (clock doesn't work, radio does work), a printer, files, books, papers and more papers.

What I could be doing with my time this morning is jumping in on the 14-Week Challenge on one of my FB pages (Mary Organizes?). Our laundry room was the first week's challenge - I "got 'er done"! Next challenge - our kitchens - pulling out all items from shelves, wipe shelves/cupboards, sort/pitch/donate. Take "before/after" photos - share - receive compliments from each other. Move on to next challenge!

So, here I am again - nearing my 79th birthday, Sunday, January 17th, 2016 still "kicking" and planning to do more during this "Happy New Year"!