Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Widder Lady: Swiming at 80!

Widder Lady: Swiming at 80!: Being 80 (which is only a number for God's sake) now means further fixating on disciplined choosing. Each morning offers another chance ...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Swiming at 80!

Being 80 (which is only a number for God's sake) now means further fixating on disciplined choosing. Each morning offers another chance to choose a few more hours of doing something that furthers "good health" or doing nothing at all, just nothing. However, choosing to do nothing is actually doing something isn't it?

I've mentioned my daily doings which I list and share each day with my Facebook "Homemakers' Encouragement" group. We start off with someone listing their "things done - item by item" and the next person follows with their completed tasks. In my list I include: swim 10 laps, did water exercises.

I do some morning arguing with myself deciding whether or not that I "feel like it" - feel like slipping into the cool and sometimes very chilly pool water. The water welcomes me. The flowers around the pool say "Hello, It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"
The Pool and The Cottage

There's a CD player on the cottage porch which I use to play music of Caribbean steel drums, classical guitar and/or boogie woogie piano. Music helps.

Looking at the huge trees on the horizon helps me count each lap. I like seeing he bright open sky (sometimes without clouds - just a swatch of cerulean blue) which may signal a clear day. Other days there are varied cloud formations which may be an indication of rain "later". Then, there are the times when it's fun to swim as big rain drops splash down and around me. (I choose not to swim when it's lightning, of course).

After I complete my morning swim routine, I am chilly unless I take a hot steamy shower. It takes hours to warm up, but the "whole routine" does wake me up and gives me "a better mind-set".

I label myself as a "swimmer" because it's been the exercise I have been doing for a lifetime. I'm a casual swimmer, not an athletic swimmer. I swim because I like swimming. I like water. Mama started us off by taking us to the local swimming pools in Glendale and Wyoming, Ohio. We had lessons at the YWCA on 9th Street in Cincinnati. I took swimming lessons at 4-H camp and at Ohio State University. I even had my Red Cross Life Guard certificate! So, I definitely am a swimmer!

Later in life I've enjoyed swimming at a local gym, in hotel pools, lakes (not Lake Tahoe, too cold) and the Caribbean waters. The challenge now is to "keep on swimming"!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Widder Lady: Sunday!

Widder Lady: Sunday!: It's Sunday morning! In the past, I "went to church". Church was meant to be a time to learn a lesson from the Bible. Church m...

Sunday, August 13, 2017


It's Sunday morning! In the past, I "went to church". Church was meant to be a time to learn a lesson from the Bible. Church meant seeing friends and neighbors dressed in their "Sunday Best". Church meant music and prayers. Church was when we reviewed our behavior and promised to "do better" to "do good" for another week.

My "religious" life has included several different denominations: Christian, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, plus a year of Catholic school and all the associated events at its associated church across the street. Zen and teachings of the Buddha inspire me, too. CD's of Yoga Chants are often calming. I like watching television church services, too. I'm not Catholic but I do watch Easter and Christmas Vatican celebrations. It's all so amazing to see so many different religions! I even watched a Russian Orthodox program - people stand throughout the entire ceremony.

Way back in the 40's at the beginning of WWII, we lived in a beautiful home on a sloping hill. I remember the sunlight pouring in the windows. I remember wearing long white socks that snapped on with garters and shiny black patent leather shoes. We went to church. When we came back our home was filled the wonderful warm smell of  beef pot roast. I remember lying on the floor and reading the funny paper. And, often the record player was playing big band songs that Mama would whistle to.
*Note: Found this "treasure" at Valley Thrift Shop. Serendipity! It's a square tile "etched" in black.

After "things went South" and a lot of "stuff" happened, we were in a rental two family in east Walnut Hills. That's when I went to Assumption school for the second grade. We attended a  Presbyterian church on Madison Road (now demolished for a condo development with only the steeple part left). Then, with Mama pregnant, we moved "out to the country" to a tenant farm house with the outhouse and a well for water.

Our church was Withamsville Baptist Church. It was primitive with its stove heat and outhouse, too. Lulu Hall played the piano and sang, too. I loved the old hymns and still do. My folks got an old push pedal organ where I played those hymns, too. I sang in the choir for awhile and taught Sunday School. Sometimes we would go to the Wednesday evening services, too. Eventually I was baptized Baptist. The "dunking pool" was at Linwood Baptist Church on Linwood Avenue. That church is still there. (Two doors down I purchased a home as an investment - to rent and eventually sell). I still have some memorabilia from that home - a picture of Christ knocking at a door.

After our Baptist days, Mama and Daddy joined a Presbyterian church. I married Harry H. Garrison at Westwood Methodist Church and then during that marriage attended Walnut Hills Methodist Church where I also taught Sunday School and became Methodist. (I think my church affiliation is still Methodist). After the divorce, I didn't attend church. After remarriage, I didn't attend church either. My spiritual development has become more attached to nature, to creating, to life itself. It evolves with each passing day. It arrives with energy, hope and acceptance.

Maybe it's just being "older" or maybe even being happy with "life as it happens" that puts my church-going days into perspective. I know and I know. I live and I live. And, with this knowing, I understand and accept that "all is well". That's my "church message" for today. Tomorrow a new page will be turned and new lessons will be revealed. In the meantime, it's Sunday everyday!

Monday, July 10, 2017


"Waste not, want not" is an admonition passed down for several centuries to "we people" who believe it is wise to conserve, to save, to protect "whatever".

Being frugal and/or thrifty is a mindset passed down through generations of our ancestors who knew the value of "making do" or "do without". Continuing with this embedded thought process, many people today are choosing a minimalist lifestyle. There are many books, blogs and Facebook and Meetup groups available to those of us who are making frugal and thrifty choices each day.

Reaching back into my own family history, it's evident that many of our ancestors practiced a "thrifty/frugal" lifestyle not because of "want" but because it was required and imposed upon them by two world wars and "The Great Depression", There are Great Depression cookbooks and plenty of recipes for SPAM!

My mother's parents "made do" and died in their 40's. Seven children were orphaned and split apart. The oldest daughter (Mama, now Angel Lois) became the surrogate mother to her younger siblings. Her sewing skills kept all of us (including three of her own children) well-dressed. She herself was always well-groomed and elegant in her own "designer " outfits. We were "poor" and often without funds. After the war our home was a tenant farmhouse without running water and an outhouse. We finally had running water, but never an indoor toilet at that home.

Our history of "second-hand" would mean that clothing would be passed down from person to person, family and friends, included. We would remake garments into something "new". I remade a winter coat from my Aunt Gretna as one of mt 4-H projects. My sister and I were wondering what happened to our beautiful  prom dresses and other incredible garments made by Mama. Conclusion: they were "recycled" down the family line or to next-door neighbors and friends.

Daddy worked at Cleveland Wrecking and Liquidators during our years at Potter Farm Lane (1945 to 1955). He was an inventor, too. He would bring home items that became furniture. Old army cots were used for our relatives' long summer visits. Daddy made beautiful furniture from piano lids, end tables and a dining room table, too. I still have one of his "door" and "pipe leg" tables at my art studio. It served as my desk for years. And, here in the cottage, I have a beautiful wooden office chair that came from one of Daddy's "recycle stuff" employers.

Mama, too, ran our local "Heart Mart" on Route 125 in Withamsville, Ohio. It was wonderful! I got a winter coat for 10 cents. I still have a crystal amber necklace from a button box! The green crystal one was stolen years ago and I've tried to find one like it for my entire lifetime. Thrift store shopping is an adventure and entertainment as well as SAVING by not buying retail!
Mama restored this buffet.

Our parents knew how to take something old and save it. Mama "rescued" an exquisite buffet from a porch. She restored it and found a marble top for it. I have it and enjoy knowing that Mama saved it from a trash heap.

As I take inventory of all the "stuff" around me, the stories (provenance) of these items are more important to me than the item itself. Each item has its own story even if it no longer has someone to pass the story down to another person. Walking along the aisles of a thrift shop makes me wonder about whose dishes were those? Who painted that picture? Who read this book?
Detail of Mama's restoration work.

Little by little items accumulate and eventually reach the point of "time to return and recycle to the universe".

It's an on-going process. Having my "Society of Too Much Stuff" Meetup Group has helped me know what to keep, what to pitch. And, remembering what Edgar Gibson says, "Keep only those things which have special meaning." I know that it's time to rethink such thinking.

Now what do I need? What do I want? Nothing more today!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 5/14/17

Happy Mother's Day! 5/14/2017

How does this "widder lady" spend this Mother's Day?
Mother's Day Poppy 5/14/2017

Our original plans to go to Swampwater Grill on Kellogg Avenue were scrapped due to Marshall's not being well - having the flu/cold bug again. He also didn't want to expose me again to any more "bugs" either. And, it certainly would be putting others "at risk" from a possible germ-laden sneeze.

Today began with my early morning (5 a.m.) breakfast of blueberries, almond milk, soft boiled egg with a couple pats of butter. I usually drink a bit of water and then return to bed for more rest.

I checked my cell phone for email, Facebook and Twitter notifications. This morning I was alerted to a "LIVE" broadcast from China BARF (reestablishment of the old Silk Way). I watched an incredible LIVE performance of Chinese ballet, contemporary opera singing, Libestraum played by an "awesome" pianist, acrobats and traditional Chinese opera. The staging and sets were spectacular.

And right there in the front row was the Chinese president, his wife and Vladimir Putin, himself!

I was amazed to realize that I was just one of the few 700 or so people signed up to watch it my phone!

Morning progressed. I watched more morning television and received a special phone call from my sister in Florida. Happy Mother's Day!

Finally I "put myself together". I had a morning snack of a hard boiled egg and some celery sticks. I put some laundry into the washer. Then it was soon time for my chicken salad (from the health food store) and Kukicha green tea. I enjoy having my salad in a wooden bowl which gives me a "sense of Zen".

For today's gardening project, I dug up Vinca vines and put some into the window boxes alongside my home. This is an on-going project. I'm looking around to see what plants I already have around here that are deer proof perennials. Some 4 o'clocks have come up from last year, so I transplanted five of them into the big pots on the patio.

Later I watched a PBS Sunday "soap". I charged the battery on my camera and took a lot of pictures of this year's Iris, peonies, poppy and roses. The huge white Iris didn't bloom this year. Maybe it's a biennial!
So now, I'm writing this blog and will add a photo of the poppy in celebration of this special Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! 


Monday, May 8, 2017

I've been sick! 5/8/2017

It's been months since I've felt 100%. I usually am a high-energetic, productive human being!

However, this winter I caught "the bug" that was "going 'round" and I do believe it got the better of me in spite of all the daily healthy choices I make each day. I'm not a "pill popper" nor do I subscribe to the yearly flu shot. I figure my own immune system can knock out anything if given the chance.

When I'm sick, I rest. Chicken soup works, too. I get my weekly B12 & B Complex shots at our local health food store. I also get a magnesium shot at least once a month. I stay away from sugar and stay grain free (Wheat Belly Lifestyle). I exercise by walking laps around the driveway, doing arm pushups, lifting light-weight bar bells and sometimes I use the Pilates machine. I also go to the acupuncturist once a month to keep my system "in balance".

Usually "all is well" with me. After recovering (or so I thought) from the flu bout, I developed an on-going case of vertigo. It remains, but I am adjusting. I have friends who  have friends that have dizziness, too. I ask a lot of questions about their experiences with it, what advice they've received from doctors, etc. I know that it is gradually subsiding and isn't debilitating for me. I just am careful about how I move my head about and don't do any quick bending. My friend will be bringing me copies of her exercises to help, too.

When I turned 80 in January it seemed logical to get my eyes checked. I hadn't gone for an exam for several years, but my glasses worked "just fine". The ordeal of changing glasses started with getting an exam at Walmart's, where my former optician no longer worked. I was told by the employees that that doctor had taken his records with him and so they had no record of my past prescription. Fine!

So I got my exam and new lenses put into my sturdy frames. Being generous, I donated my extra pair of glasses which I never worn for the Lions eyeglass donation box. And, I didn't ask for the lenses back. So I was stuck with the new glasses and immediately having problems adjusting to the new prescription. Now I'm sitting close to my computer screen and adjusting to shadow letters. I did go back to double-check the status of these glasses, but everything came right back at me - same prescription, but further request for me to check out a growing cataract! What next? I ask, What next?

Not satisfied with those results I immediately called Lenscrafters where I used to get my eye exam and eye glasses. Because it was a "slow Tuesday" they could examine my eyes if I could "be there right away". I went and repeated the exam with only a slight difference in the prescription. And, again, I was told to go and get a consultation for the cataract situation. And, so, it went! And, so I will call for the consultation after asking several friends for recommendations for their best referral.

To top all this nonsense, I developed a UTI! To "go" further into all the details of horrible pain and suffering through two rounds of antibiotics, etc. I finally got "relief" by asking for help from friends at our local health food store - d mannose, oregano oil and advice. I seem to be "on the mend" with all the input from family, friends and doctors. Finally! Finally!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3/21/2017 Riviera Reversible Food Cooker Warmer

Years ago, we lived at Uppaway Estates, Glenbrook, Nevada (Lake Tahoe). Our home was in the mountain range of Sierra Nevada up in the clouds about 6000' above sea level.

The house was called "Max's Barn" (named after Max C. Fleischmann). It overlooked Lake Tahoe. We could see across the lake to a mountain that had a cross of snow that never melted, even in the summer.
Huge pine trees surrounded the 44 acre property. Those were the early years of our marriage 1971 - 73.

Being "Out West" was "different" from living in Ohio. Different, indeed!

To get beyond the isolation of living in the big house with caretakers and housekeepers, I would drive down the mountain to Carson City, the capitol of Nevada. There were a few shops, an art gallery, the new Ormsby House Hotel (now defunct, I hear), the Capitol building and casinos. Helga Steffee ran the Carson City Nugget. She became a special friend and often "house sat" when we came back to Cincinnati.

On one of my shopping adventures I found this (pictured) incredible Riviera Reversible Food Cooker Warmer. It can be turned upside and downside with two sized grills. The Sterno container flips over, too.
I bought it. It was something I thought would be great to use at Coco Point Lodge, Barbuda to make Crepes Suzette and Cherries Jubilee.

Riviera Reversible Food Cooker Warmer

I bought a big crepe pan to go with it and took it all through airports, customs and finally to share with the Spanish Chef, Juan and Chef Norman Beazer. It was used awhile and I do not know where it eventually "landed". It could still be there somewhere on a shelf in the pantry of the lodge kitchen!

Copper Crepe Suzette Pan

I decided to bring the big copper skillet back home again. I haven't used it. It looks like it has been "relined" so it's ready to use again.
Recipe Booklet

The other day I decided to "google" Riviera Reversible Food Cooker Warmer. I had the kept little recipe and instruction booklet for many, many years so I knew what to "google". I had tried to find one on eBay but never had any luck. This time! Boom! It popped up on Etsy. I hit all the required buttons and soon it arrived at my back door, carefully packed. 

I did rationalize my buying it by saying to myself that I can use it in an emergency when the power goes out! It was a NEED not a WANT - message for myself to next time remember to NOBUY2017!

I opened it and was totally amazed! I set it up and took pictures to share with my readers here.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

3/19/2018 Coco Point Lodge - Juan, The Chef

Juan, The Chef

I found this small picture of "The Chef" and a baby lamb. My memory of (The Chef) is that he was Spanish and that his first name may have been Juan.

Juan, The Chef and a baby lamb (tail down = sheep, tail up = goat)

Various chefs "arrived and departed" from Coco Point Lodge, Barbuda. We always had our local Barbudan and our own famous chef, Norman Beazer who established himself as a memorable icon for Caribbean fare which he and his staff prepared and served for many years.

This memory, however, is focused upon Juan, the Spanish chef.

Juan and I were on the small airplane coming back from St. John's, Antigua, WI. He had been gathering up various food items for the lodge. Juan had put large cardboard containers of frozen ice cream under the passenger seats and in the back of the plane.

Usually the trip would be fairly smooth and without incident. But, on this particular trip, the pilot took off too soon behind one of the big jets that was leaving the main runway. We were caught up in the jet stream and tossed crazily about.  The cardboard containers of ice cream were flipping and rolling "every which way". Juan was grabbing the loose cargo "left and right". Knowing me, I was hanging onto the straps of my seat belt, praying!

It was one scary time for all of us and the pilot finally leveled our small plane and continued the flight to Coco Point's grassy runway.

I had brought a Riviera Reversible Cooker to share which I found in a gift shop in Carson City, Nevada. it was definitely reversible for bigger or smaller pans. I had also brought a big copper crepe suzette skillet. It was something I thought could be used for special desserts.I don't remember if Juan used it, but I do remember his making Cherries Jubilee over a something that may have been a can of Sterno.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

3/18/2017 Coco Point, Barbuda, WI Years Ago

2/18/2017 Years Ago at Coco Point Lodge, Barbuda, WI

I've set up a memorabilia room at my home just for photos, photo albums, movies and slides. Some of the photos bring back forgotten memories. Such is the following photo:

Barbuda Belle at Old Dock, Coco Point Lodge, Barbuda, WI

When I met William (Bill) Cody Kelly in January, 1971 he mentioned "his island". I had also heard the same "his island" from a woman who was determined that I must meet this person who might take me to "his island". All that aside, I met, dated and dated Bill Kelly.

He was in the midst of untangling himself from his second and bothersome marriage. I was a teacher and was busy with my life as a single mom to one young son. The details of meeting him can be explained later.

Somehow I was able to arrange a trip to Coco Point and I took my son with me. It was a trip hat would lead to many future trips to a place I had never ever envisioned to be part of my life. Now, at age 80 I have no desire to ever return. I have memories enough of it.

The picture shown is of Barbuda Belle at the old dock. It's long before beautiful signage was installed. I have photographs of "The Belle" when she was built in Hong Kong. She was a sturdy, incredible motor sailing vessel. She took many trips out for deep sea fishing. She would motor out to an area where it would be possible to catch big fish from Caribbean waters. Such fish might include Baracuda, yellow fin tuna, etc.

Part of the evening cocktail conversation would be about who caught the biggest and best fish, too.

I do not think "The Belle" is being used now. Another boat was added to the fishing fleet. For those who liked to fish in shallow waters up at the village of Codrington, Barbuda there were smaller boats available.  Coco Point originally was designed to be a hunting and fishing lodge. It evolved into a Caribbean gem.

Friday, March 10, 2017

3/10/2017 Almost Spring!

Yesterday the temperature made it above 70 degrees! It was a glorious day! I wore jeans and put on white socks and sneakers.

I haven't walked or explored the very back corner of the property for years. It is usually covered with heavy brush throughout most of the year. It's a thicket for critters. Several sad-looking trees are on my side of the fence, so it "gave pause" to my thinking whether to just let them "be" and not disturb the "natural order of things".
Back Corner Thicket
Back Corner View
Old Willow "hanging in there"
The old willow has undergone another major shaping surgery this fall. Pruning out the dead wood has given it new life. Thoughts of  "The Wind in the Willows" are triggered as  breezes blow through its tender branches.

There are a few forsythia bushes in full bloom. I'm always amazed by their brilliance and happy they can be counted as survivors for another year.

I didn't think there would be any crocus this year, but a few did pop up after all (purple ones and some white and purple striped ones, too).

The daffodils are doing well. I did bring in a bunch last week when another cold snap came roaring through. I appreciated my son sending me a message via Facebook alerting me to the impending danger to daffodils!

Daffodils - 3/10/2017

Daffodils last awhile and sometimes give off an interesting fragrance. As they gradually die away their blossoms turn into tissue paper remnants. I scatter them out into the flower graveyard among a bed of English ivy.
Daffodils - 3/10/2017

New plant catalogs keep arriving in my mailbox. I continue to toss them into the recycle bin. It's the NoBuy2017 challenge on Facebook that keeps me from sending in another order for more daffodil bulbs.
However, I do think a row of crocus along the edge of the front flower bed would make next Spring quite special.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

2/19/2017 Spring Yard Cleanup


The Snow Drops are in full bloom. A few crocus sprigs are peeking through, too. Daffodil  sprouts have pushed up and will soon be double in size and then ready to bloom, bloom, bloom! I planted fifty daffodil bulbs last fall "all over everywhere". I am looking forward to this Spring's spectacular show here around my yard.
Snow Drops
Daffodil Sprouts

The yard guys from Kharma, LLC (nice name for a landscaping company) were here last Wednesday to do the Spring Yard Cleanup. Many bushes and shrubs received their annual pruning (haircut). The huge prairie grass plants are now stubble. Butterfly bushes are neat again. The iris beds are free from piles of oak leaves. And, roadside day lilies (the orange ones) are pushing up through the brown earth.

Today I used the leaf blower to clear away spruce branch debris off the cottage porch. I also scattered a nest of strange beetles that have made their home in a wooden crevice. They look like lightning bugs, but they aren't lightning bugs!

Madison Tree Company toured the property to schedule this year's feeding and spraying of the evergreens, mughos, crabapple trees and oak trees. They were even able to save an ash tree from destruction by an ash tree borer. They also removed several burning bushes and old shrubs. Every year the deer would chew off the leaves! Maybe this year I'll win!

I emptied out nine window boxes. The grass plants may be replanted "out back". I will be putting plants in the window boxes by myself this year. It will be fun to go to Denny's Bloomin' Garden Place and choose plants that are serious survivors.

There is a lone willow tree at the back corner of this property. It has survived several major "trims". Its thin, wavy sprigs of yellow green leaves will fill in the empty spaces between an abstract trunk.

I am hoping, too, that the tiny "slip" of a dogwood tree will make it through Spring and all through this year. Living among the living is why I love being surrounded with "growing things". Seems Maude (from Harold & Maude) knew what life is all about, after all.


Monday, February 13, 2017

2/13/17 Beyond the Pale

Hello again!

I have finally emerged from the "awful" bug that has attacked many people this winter. It lasted three weeks! I was able to breathe and didn't have serious stomach issues. My temperature hovered around 98 degrees. I welcome this gift of "feeling normal again" with a big THANK YOU, DEAR GOD!

I didn't get the flu shot. I heard that this strain of the flu or cold wasn't covered by this year's flu shot. All I know is that I was sick. So, I went into full gear for dealing with each physical challenge.

Some people use a Netti pot. I have a syringe thing called Nasaline which sucks up a mixture of nasal rinse powder and warm water. It clear out sinuses very well. And, a warm salt water gargle helps, too.

Supplies: plenty of Kleenex or other brand, Vicks Vapo Rub, pan of steaming water, clean sheets, cough drops, decongestant, and Umcka (a syrup).

Having a steam shower is one of the best investments ever! To sit in the steam with eucalyptus essential oil percolating up to the ceiling is definitely "healing".

A trip to Dr. Robert M. Letscher, for an acupuncture treatment helped me feel better, too.

Reorganize activities: Cancelled housekeeping team - didn't want to spread my germs to them and didn't need to clean the house anyhow.

Main activity: REST!

Entertainment: Dumb, numbing TV programs. First 48 Hours (crime stuff).

Intake: TEA, more TEA - Sencha green tea and peppermint tea. WATER, more WATER. Chicken broth! Scrambled eggs, soft scrambled eggs, fish.

Today  I am so much better. I will update this blog, but wanted to get it done before our WAG meeting! WAG = Writers Accountability Group. (Updated at 6 p.m.)