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October

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” -Anne Shirley

For the last few months, life has tumbled us around until I feel I barely know which way is up.  Just when I’ve found my feet, the floor is upended beneath me.

Outside my window, autumn at last has the landscape all to itself.  Summer was brazen and persistent this year, but autumn went about its work quietly, gently, using summer’s sunniness and warmth to highlight its jewel-box colors.  Winter is cruel and comforting by turns; spring is a celebration; summer, carefree; but autumn is content.

I have been re-re-re-(etc.)reading the Anne of Green Gables novels.  They are a welcome escape, a place where most problems are resolved to their rightful conclusions. Anne rejoices in each season at its turn, and I join her; but I have a special affection for autumn.  There is something about it that deeply satisfies me, like eating a good meal after you have been hungry, or snuggling down under clean sheets after a hard day’s work.  Autumn fills up my soul with peace and contentment.  It reminds me that however bewildering my circumstances are, there is still constancy in the world.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
~Maltbie D. Babcock

 

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You Look So Young: Incredulous

The cashier at the grocery store had to ask for my I.D. during check-out today.  Knowing that I will probably be carded until I am age 90, I had it ready.

The cashier looked at my birth date, then at the photo, and then up at me, clearly disbelieving.  He looked down at the photo again, back at me, back at the birthdate again, and back up at me.

I was about to ask if there was a problem when he shrugged and entered my birth date into the computer.  He sighed as my purchase cleared.

“Well,” he said, “You just barely made it.”

Even official documents do not spare me.

(Also…how does a margin of six years constitute “barely making it”?)

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The Log Book: June-July 2016

Latest Projects:
-Planning a vacation to Acadia National Park in Maine!
-I’m still shuffling things around to my new studio on the other side of our duplex.  On the up side, the two spare rooms on our side are starting to look like rooms and less like gigantic piles of stuff.
-My first major knitting project is still unfinished five years later (this is a chronic problem for me).  I’m making a final push to complete it, once and for all.

What’s cooking?
Camping food:  Hot dogs and s’mores, hamburgers, tinfoil meals.  Oh, and lobster boiled over a campfire.  It was MAINE, after all.

Reading:
Everywhere Present by Stephen Freeman
The Lost Boy by David Peltzer
The Martian by Andy Weir
Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
Redwall, Mossflower, and Mattimeo by Brian Jacques

Other happenings:
Basically, this comic:

Where Did June Go?

We’re more than half-way through 2016. Maybe my head will stop spinning by the time November does its fly-by.

July has gone by at a more leisurely pace.  We spent the first part of the month on vacation in New England.  I had my first real camping experience at Acadia National Park.  It was fun, scenic, and tiring–and it drizzled most of the time.  Vacation was capped off by attending the wedding of a dear college friend.  The rest of the month was spent trying to  beat the heat and watching my lilac bush droop from lack of rain.  August is looking pleasantly busy from here….

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Aftermath

With a week-and-a-half of vacation behind us, we drove from southern Maine back to our home in New York State.  It was an eight or nine hour trip that stretched to eleven, thanks to a lack of distinct road signs.

Relieved to be home, we hobbled stiffly out of the car and onto the back porch, fumbling for the house key.

I glanced in the back door window to our kitchen, and then looked again.

“Oh, no.”

The trash can was overturned.  Strewn around it was an array of cat food tins, lids, and the remains of the trash bag, now ripped to shreds.  Some unidentifiable sort of internal cat waste (it turned out to be a hair ball) was visible among the wreckage.  As if on cue, Juniper sauntered up and sat down with great dignity next to the mess, staring at us placidly as we gawked and struggled to open the back door.

Once inside, we stepped gingerly over the trash as Juniper minced out on to the back porch, hardly giving us a second glance.  I headed for the bathroom, which is just off the kitchen, and was again brought up short.

The cat food bin was overturned and the lid was off.  There was cat kibble all across the bathroom floor.  I bent to right the bin and noticed pieces of dry egg noodle mixed in with the cat food.  I followed the trail of egg noodles to the pantry shelf where I keep dry and canned goods.  About a half-dozen cans and boxes had been knocked off the shelf.  The bag of egg noodles was ripped open neatly from top to bottom, spilling its contents over the shelf and onto the floor.

I called to Shaun and showed him the mess.  “I’m afraid to venture any further into the house!”

He assured me that the only other damage was that the cats had pulled down a curtain hanging on a tension rod and slept on it.  “It could have been a lot worse.”

“Oh, I know!” I said, and got to work cleaning up trash and cat kibble and egg noodles and hair ball while Shaun unloaded the car.

Juniper pointedly ignored me for the rest of the evening, making a show of preferring Shaun instead.  Only after I fed her that night did she come twine happily about my ankles.  I took this to mean that I was finally forgiven.

–Just as long as I never go on vacation ever again.

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You Look So Young! Except not…

As I was getting out of my car at the post office today, two teenage boys drove by.  One leaned out the window and yelled to me, “Hi Mom!”

Clearly you skipped your optometry appointment, son.

I would almost think that this means my days of being mistaken for a fifteen-year-old are over–except last month, someone thought I was Shaun’s daughter.

There is just no escape from the awkward here.

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The Log Book: May 2016

Latest Projects:
Keeping us fed and clothed.

What’s cooking?
I cooked from scratch THREE times this month.  I never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss cooking….

Reading:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Three More Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
The Underdogs by Melissa Fay Greene

Other happenings:
-We bought a pick-up truck!  We’ve been limping along on one vehicle for almost five years, and getting a second was long overdue.  The new vehicle was supposed to be mine, but once we decided that we were getting a truck, it quickly, mysteriously, morphed into being Shaun’s vehicle.
-More visits from family and friends!
-We are excited to have a new niece!  She is adorable.
-On Memorial Day weekend, we traveled to Virginia for a family reunion.  It was a short trip, but fun.  Although I have to say, we both REALLY hate driving in PA.  Orange construction barrels must be their state flower.

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The Log Book: March-April 2016

Latest projects:
Recently we took the other half of our duplex off the rental market.  We like having our yard and house and driveway all to ourselves. 🙂  And now we have a little more room to spread out–six more rooms, in fact.  My “studio” is in the process of being moved over to the kitchen on the other side of the house, and all seven bins of Army gear have been relocated.
-On the de-cluttering front, I got through all the books that are on our bookshelves, but the ones in storage will have to wait for another time.  Look out, paperwork.
-Spring cleaning.  I’ve already done two “pre” cleanings, but now it’s time to really get to work–moving furniture, washing ceilings and walls, swiffering the radiators (why does the using the word “swiffer” suddenly make it sound like this will be an easy job?).

What’s cooking?
My kitchen has been seriously neglected of late, except for my blender.  It has been working hard making delicious fruit smoothies every morning.

Reading:
Mini-Farming:  Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett L. Markham
Dream Home:  The Property Brothers’ Ultimate Guide to Finding and Fixing Your Perfect House by Jonathan and Drew Scott

Other happenings:
-In March, Shaun won two cook boards (which are a test of an Army cook’s knowledge). Although he was still jr. enlisted at the time, he competed at the NCO level.
-On April 1 (no joke!) Shaun promoted to SGT.  He worked hard for this promotion, and we are really proud.
-Spring must be here, because friends are asking to come visit me in the wild north again!

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Deep in My Heart

Saturday, 20 June, 1942

“I haven’t written for a few days, because I wanted first of all to think about my diary.  It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I–nor for that matter anyone else–will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.  Still, what does that matter?  I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.”

~Anne Frank:  The Diary of a Young Girl