Smoke & Sunshine

There’s a favorite classic piece of music I like. One version is by Henry Mancini, it’s called Smoke gets in Your Eyes. Beautiful and romantic. I am thankful that here, in my neck of the woods in Alaska, it’s just in the sky and not my eyes. So far! We’ve had some gorgeous days, almost too hot, because the entire area is on a fire burn ban! I’m not sure how large the nearest fire is, but it has changed the sky. Our sunsets are orange, with a hint of mauve. Pretty, but I miss the blue skies.

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I have been sorting and tossing the last few days, mum’s church is (this is so kind, it makes me want to cry in gratitude!) hosting a craft fair sort of thing. Jake nicknamed it SABLE, Stash acquired beyond life expectancy. I’ve had so many ask if this sale will be all her belongings. I laugh and gently tell them, “No, this one will be like a Joanne’s basement sale.” It’s definitely a stash! The last thing I’ve found today, all in the same carry bag, was a read aloud story she told at a local story telling gathering about a fishing trip. There also was a publication of poetry and prose, one of the teachers in my high school was in it, and a couple of special photos all by themselves in an album from a long ago trip to Hawaii. (Do you recognize him?)

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One thing KK said to me about tossing, eventually you just get so tired you just throw it all away. He was right, I tossed out things today I would have saved awhile ago. I have asked Jake to come out and get help or get stuff, but she’s pretty busy. I have a few others lined up. (I’ll need more flexible bodies than mine to get stuff up from the basement, I carried a few totes up the other day and it was not pleasant. Dragging them down the stairway was much easier than carting them up!)

It’s not all work, though. In the evening, about 5pm, I have been going outside to sunbathe til 7. (It’s been that warm out!) It’s absolutely apparent which portions of me are more visible to the elements. (No, not showing that photo!) I do keep a cover up near, the road has a lot of traffic about dinner time! I’m probably overly cautious, I rarely get visitors and most of them text or call first! (And Jake milks goats at that time!)

I’ve only been out in the kayak once. It was to retrieve a dead duckling in the weeds. I didn’t like leaving it near where the others usually roost, but I hope to get out soon. I was surprised yesterday to discover it was the weekend, it was as if the week melted in the heat! I’m looking forward to meeting with high school friends Sunday afternoon. Some of us haven’t seen each other, except online, in over 30 years. I wonder if I can look 98 pounds again? (photos: Shadows in orange sunshine and just me!)

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Offline and, perhaps now, On!

I had started a note on my ipad, but realized I needed to add pictures. So, I’m going to write a sum up and add the photos later, when I can get online again. I did post a family blog post while at the laundromat, but since I only did one load, I didn’t have time to write for anywhere else. I am not ‘gone’ or too busy for writing (Last week I was too busy!). I’m just not able to use the internet at the moment. Let me ‘splain.

I have MISSED this blogging world!!!!!!

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Squirrel who climbed into feeder on window in ’17. 

Mum’s been feeding squirrels since we moved to this house in the later 70’s. I’m not sure when the fuzzy tailed rodents decided to move into the garage attic, but it was at least a decade ago. (Probably) So, the work the guys were going to do got slightly derailed as they cleaned up a spot we had no idea needed that much work. (they took 3 truckloads of destroyed things to the dump!) The attic had become a subdivision. Complete with an empty karaoke box partially filled with nuts, bread, and pine cone bits (party house) and a sign asking for votes for a certain individual to become mayor (squirrel politics?). They even did some dubious house flipping by fully insulating the first floor of an unfinished doll house.

My ancient extensive boxed gerbil habit trail had been put to some use as well (more than likely it was a playground for the younger squirrels). They’d also partially filled an old food saver box (Cache?).  I know they had been eating gourmet. Not only did mom feed them a variety of seeds and nuts (the latter which do not grow locally up here), she had collected pine cones from all over the United States (most of the cones were stashed in the worn out old greenhouse). (I could envision a squirrel potlach with jolly dances mimicking the first snow and the sharing of tasty treats from all across the nation. ‘Mabel, try this one. It is from Colorado.’ And ‘Do brush off the insulation from your whiskers, Sammy. You’d think we were pigs and not rodents!’)It astounds me how humans cannot be around insulation without serious consequences, yet these creatures have lived in the stuff for years and are perfectly fit.

The Craftsman was determined to replace the board they’d chewed exit and entry holes in, but needed to get to the back of the garage. There were years of twining baby trees, mosses, and bushes growing up next to the building. And at least 3 black cables about 100 yards long hidden inside the forest litter. Those cables were for mom’s TV and, later, her internet.  One was clipped during the pruning, thus making us a bit more off the grid than I’d prefer. I had imagined I could live without the internet, I have before. In 2014 when I was here, I drove all over seeking wifi nodes so I didn’t muck up mom’s dial up with trying to do anything too exciting (like log onto FB). But, I wasn’t in charge back then, or incredibly busy cleaning (and looking for the pen I’d put down a second ago), nor did I have almost all the bills sent to me electronically. (I paid my power bill a day late because I knew, for the most part, when it was due, but I always got a notice in my emails and since I can’t check those, I wasn’t positive. Thankfully, the cycle hadn’t twigged me yet and I got in just in time!)  I also realized how seriously annoying it is to be on hold with a company and have the automated voice tell me to go online to access my accounts for faster help.

So, that is what is going on up north. I do have my phone, so can get texts and calls. I hope to have the internet fixed by Wednesday night (if not, I’ll drive to town and post this from the library!) and then I’ll share this from here, as is!  (NOTE: it appears I do have internet for the time being. The cutting cord fried the router, so was sold a new one of those. The modem is also spotty. He’s working on getting me another one. It will be awhile-no one in the state has extras!) The guys are back in Oregon, the place is a bit emptier, they were a tremendous help and I was entirely thankful they were here, and I’m not looking forward to my own return sometime before the cold. (I was glad I sent them out fishing, so they had a bit of a break from the drudgery at the house!) The septic line has a break, hoping to get it fixed soon, I found one of my favorite story books from days gone by (Raggedy Ann and Andy),  and there is a darn eagle looking for a snack of young duckling diving onto the lake as I type. When the kid arrived on the 8th, we had so many babies on the lake. One mom had 11 and she was down to 4 earlier today (June 25). Nature and the neighbor’s dog are both rough on littles around here. I wish I could figure out how to share the kid’s videos. He took some incredible fun fowl footage. Nonetheless, here is a still he took of a bathing loon.

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Cat in the Hat Kind of Mess

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The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss

I have been incredibly busy this last week. Little Bear arrived on Saturday last and we have been busy getting stuff sorted. In spite of the several bags of clothes donated, more than a dozen carrying sized boxes of books (or grocery tote bags), and MANY large bags tossed in the trash, barely a dent has been made. I’m sharing photos so you can see what it looked like on Friday, June 15, 2019. Our original plans were to get a Ubox crate thing and the guys would get it ready to haul to the states. I’m pretty sure we won’t be able to do that. We are having a fabric, craft, yarn sale in July, which will help in the house debris immensely. I wanted an estate sale after that here at the house, in spite of the difficulty in finding it! But, I’m getting tired and I’ve not even been in Alaska a month yet! Having the youngest here has been helpful, in spots! He’s mostly motivated, but has a tendency to get side tracked.

He found some old VHS tapes (ok, that was redundant!) and is having so much fun watching life before he existed. (oddly, I’ve also realized how very similar my dad was to my youngest. They are not genetically attached, the last time they saw each other my youngest was almost 12, and they have the same kinds of humor and way they talk. Even Little Bear noticed it as he watched his Papa discuss juke boxes. ‘Mom, Papa sounds like I do when I record my shooting videos!’ They are both dry and amusing.) I have to rein him in when he wants to toss things. He’s learning to ask first! Lol

However, when his dad arrives, they have several chores to do. A part of the garage roof needs fixed so the squirrels won’t nest up there (see photo! Little Bear noticed they took at least 7 feet of fiberglass insulation and moved into the bottom half of an unfinished doll house. They are also gourmet squirrels as mom collected pine cones from all over the US and it looks as if they have been snacking on many of those finds!) The dripping sink still needs addressed. The kid did fix the screen door cuz it was driving him nuts (it wasn’t on my list, but I am more than happy it is done!). I need to find out if any of the juke boxes work anymore so I can sell them (they did in the tape Little Bear found!). We need to rearrange things so the house isn’t a disaster, which will not be easy!

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My sister came and got the table, buffet, and hutch. But, as the kid said, she had a box of stuff and only took the box and now we need to find spots for the stuff. I have cardboard boxes of mom’s mismatched china, assorted glassware (she wanted the silver coated china from my grams and is going to hopefully try to sell the crystal), and a bunch of dishes. She came out three times to get each large piece. The first time, she was miffed at my son because her table got scratched (Little Bear was unimpressed. It did get scratched, but it can be buffed over and she’s going to keep it covered with a protector and tablecloths anyway. Then, he said, ‘It isn’t as old as she thinks it is. There are staples in the paper underneath and plastic bits on the drawer slides.’ I think he said they are probably innovations from about the late 50’s). The second time, she jumped out of her large F250..or is it a 350? And hurt herself. (once again the kid was unimpressed. She’s shorter than you mom and she’s not got a step on the truck. Of course she is going to land wrong sometime when she jumps out.) Anyway, she’s now on crutches and was told not to do very much. (since she is more my mom than I am, she will milk it and do beyond what she’s told. She also said her daughter has no muscles and her daughter proudly raised her bent bicep to prove her mom right! Which also didn’t impress Little Bear. If she wants muscle, she needs to use them to make them.)

This third trip out, she brought her spouse. Who spent most of his visit sitting in a chair on his phone. (granted, he had apparently not eaten and our dinner was in the crock pot. Pork, which is not on their menu, since becoming Jewish.) At any rate, Jake was picking up a few things. A white dresser she, for some unknown reason, had chosen at a yard sale years ago for mom to put in her room to hold fabric (see first room photo, which has changed a bit from when I showed a picture of that room earlier. It has a smidge of floor space now!)  and the hutch. Music Man was not thrilled at all with the ‘armoire’ Jake wanted back. He told Little Bear it was going to get donated (it was pressboard, but fairly sturdy until it encountered his hammered fists. Music Man didn’t want it anyway and he was irritated with his beautiful wife who was moving old furniture into their house when they had no room.) His daughter was scared, Jake was wet cat mad, and Little Bear and I were very glad to see them drive away. He took the doors off the hutch, which was odd. They latched closed and a blanket could have been put on top to protect it since it was flat on its back on the covered pickup bed. Instead, the doors were off and wrapped in a flannel sheet. (Little Bear was also unimpressed with that. Music Man stripped some of the older screws and as said, he could have transported the hutch in one piece. But, it isn’t his responsibility and after they left we had our pork and watched ‘Milo and Otis’.)  The second photo is totally different now. The dark shape is gone (that is the hutch) and the card table has dishes and vases all over it that I need to fill boxes with.

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are a part of the family room and the store room. I’ve not touched those rooms (except to take out a LOT of books from the family room) and Little Bear is sleeping on the hideabed  now. As to the Ubox, the guys want me to put anything I want to have in the states in that box by Thursday of this next week. It will leave for the Northwest the next week. Little Bear was shocked when I told him I didn’t want to have everything there. I want to stay here. And honestly, WHY do I want to move some of these things anyway? I can live in Oregon perfectly fine without most of them. Just cuz some of them are things I’ve always liked or wanted doesn’t mean much. It is just stuff. (note: I did find 5$ in the stuff I sorted today!) I’d rather leave it here. And if we do not take the box this summer, we’ll have to do it next and it would be much more efficient. By then, I’d have things sold off a bit easier and maybe even figure out a way to keep it! (I’ll talk to the financial guy next week, too)

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The darn skeeters were all around me! 

UGH! This is really long. I’ll stop now, but I’m not sure when I’ll get back to blogging. We didn’t go out (we also didn’t feed mosquitoes. Little Bear thinks vampires like mosquitoes since vampires also turn into bats and bats are huge mosquito predators. I think if vampires eat mosquitoes it is more like a sunflower seed where they suck out the inside and spit out the ‘hull’…)  tonight to watch the sunset, which turned the lake to fire. We need to leave mid-morning to get The Craftsman from his journey north and we are both very tired. I also think I’m getting a cold of some sort. My eyes are all goopy.

I’ll leave you with a pretty photo from this week!

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Aging

I am a tad disgruntled this evening. I was out shopping. I wore a short skirt and I felt like I looked nice, even with the teddy bears on my top. (they were not overly cute, just colorful and on either lapel) Being friendly, I was sharing my need for purchasing windscreen fluid. I noticed the little light was on and thought I had some in the garage. After a couple of days, I went to get it from the garage and realized I didn’t have any. So, it was on my list to get the next time I went to town. She laughed and said, ‘Suburbian Mom Emergency.’ (I felt decidedly matronly when I heard that!) Then, I was putting away receipts and found on a fast food one, I was inadvertently given a senior discount. (I’m fond of discounts, but I didn’t think I looked all that old yet!) Anyway, I’ll wear a more modest skirt and the rest on Sunday to church. With the advent of my family. , I’ll need to wear more instead of less.

We’ve had some super nice days lately. As many of us remark, our week of summer is here! We’ll see how next weekend looks. It is the Fun in the Sun festival (I’m collecting stuffed animals because I was told they make good awards for the kids in the events), but it almost always has at least one day of rain during that weekend! I forgot this weekend we are in now is the River Festival, I’m too tired to go. Little Bear will be here Saturday and the house is a mess. I had four ladies sorting Friday. One purchased a bit and next time I’ll make sure she spends more money, I was being nice and gave her several free things. (But, at least they are gone! And if Jake wanted them, so what.) Anyway, the place is a wreck of bags to get donated, bags to keep (yarn was all bagged and it does take up less space that way! We are hoping to sell it the second weekend of July at one of the churches.), full trash bags were taken to the garage, and I have to tidy the basement for the kid. As TnT said, ‘you often make a bigger mess before you get it all cleaned.’ I did find a passel of Beanie Babies in what I think was mom’s hope chest. I’ll look thorough them later, there are a few I’ve never seen before. (I’ll wait til Little Bear can manhandle the chest from where it is sitting in my sister’s room, I can’t get the darn thing open all the way. There are also some really scary looking angel things, too. I’ll post pictures when I finally am able to get into it.)

I was to take mom’s machine to the fabric center, but I’ll do it on Monday. I need to find a box and I am betting it is in the storage shed, that was where one Husqvarna (I’ll be jiggered, spell check didn’t underline that, but WP did!!) box was. Thus, I surmise the other is in there somewhere. I’ll look when I have someone spotting me in case I end up buried! I’ll also take in some golf clubs to the local golf course(Thank you SSC) and the stuffed stuff to the Rec Center.

I’m looking forward to showing Little Bear Alaska when it is light almost all the time. He’s only been up in July or September. So many amazing sights up here. Right now, a jet is overhead and his trail is pink from the sunset (it is almost 1 am). I finally got out in the kayak this week and was fortunate enough to see a mallard family. (by the by, it makes me giggle to know GH is actually a Duck!) Later, I was reading and heard smashing sounds in the woods. I turned the kayak and spied the young bull. He was headed to the lake and wasn’t impressed by the orange ‘log’ with the odd thing in it! I was a bit sad, a moose in the lake would have been a cool photo.

I think he (or the older one) was splashing in the lake around midnight. I did dash down to see if he’d stepped on the kayak while it was beached on shore. (we had that happen to a rowboat one winter. Dad had overturned it and the snow covered it and the moose walked over, on, and IN the plastic boat!) Thankfully, it was ok. I’m seriously going to get more silver and aged keeping an eye on things around this place!! (I was eating a couple of Kit Kat snack bars this evening. Each one has two small bars stuck together. I realized I’d eaten half of each one, which is why I opened two! Lol) At least none of the wrinkles I’ll get in the next couple of weeks will be from sunning! (I’m not showing my topless part and I’m using a towel in the lawn recliner if I’m able to get out again!) I kept thinking what Gaz has said about too much sun, but living up here, I’m betting I won’t have the same experience he did growing up in Australia.

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Midweek

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One of the two things I did on Saturday was attend a Relay for Life gathering. I was disappointed in the turnout, but was told it has dropped in the last couple of years. (some people don’t like participating because of who the money goes to, corporations and not the people. However, much of the stuff raised here stays here.) I did pretty well til the reading of names. Hearing ‘In memory of my mum’ was hard. (even if I am mad at her!)

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Later in the day, I took another photo of the old bull (you can see how his antlers are starting to look better!). He’s the old bull since just a few car lengths down the road was a young bull!! Much less, ummm,…worn and he just looked younger. Then, on my way to the inlet, I saw a LIVE porcupine. This isn’t all that common, generally there are corpses on the side of the road. So, I was excited to discover this critter scurrying along.

I also caught a couple of gulls on a different day, the landing one I’m pretty impressed with. I take no credit for it, the sun was in my eyes and I just wanted to snap a couple of photos of gulls, so I did.

I’ve been going through more of mum’s debris. Cards sent to her over the years and the like. I’ve found several books of stamps, lots of old pictures (many of people I don’t know, some I hope to discover the history of. Like is the lady in the turquoise in white and the beehive hairdo, mum eons ago or someone else???), and a small booklet I opted to read.

Every so often, life tosses things in your way and you have the choice to see them or not. Well, this one, I saw. It was rather along the lines of things I’ve read from Rhapsody, Collette, Amanda, Jack, GT, and many others. As you know, I tend to accept what is in front of me as the way it is. (too much 70’s music in my past?) Let it be, Que sera, sera..(OK, Doris was much older than the 70s), and to try and look on the bright side of life (When was MP and The Holy Grail??) while still being certain that nothing I want matters since it probably won’t anyway. The author Patricia Briggs said in one of her books, ‘All things happen in their own time whether we want them to or not.’ BUT, as I was reading this little Guidepost booklet in mom’s debris, I also realized I need to actively accept that miracles can happen to me and will if I let them. It was sort of rather startling, in a way. Granted, I need to do what I can to make change. Yet, if I can believe that I am worthy of good things happening, that they will happen, then, they will happen.  There is evidence this is true in other lives. We’ll see it happen in mine.

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photo I took while writing to Rhapsody-about 1030 pm

I never make goals or extended plans, yet yesterday I decided I needed to. The first thing I wanted to do was manage a fishing trip for the guys when they visit. I did and ended up chatting to reservation lady for quite some time. (we knew some of the same people) On Monday, I met with mom’s accountant. Not a whole lot was accomplished (at the end of our visit, the IRS lady hung up on mom’s accountant. Something that was not only highly rude, but startled us both. Mum’s accountant was asking a question and the woman kept repeating her rote answer and not actually answering. So, when the accountant asked for the lady’s name, asking her to speak slowly, the woman hung up! She may have been having a bad day, but no one on our end was being mean or snippy…although, I imagine when mum’s accountant went back after lunch to reach the IRS with the lady’s ID number, some snip may have been involved!!), but we did a few things. Later, I managed to get our bank account put in just my name and chatted with TnT and made several phone calls to get help on Friday. So, things for the next few days might be hopping. I also talked to my sister and asked if she could come by on Sunday to get some of the things she wants. Jake said yes, then asked if I wanted her to come by on Wednesday or Thursday. (I guess the syllable for ‘day’ threw her into confusion, she is going to be here on Sunday. Probably!)

All in all, there is hope. Throw in a stack of pancakes and life is pretty darn amazing!

Although, when I found this card in mum’s stuff with the words ‘Get well soon’ inside, I kind of wondered. Those eyes are NOT health encouraging!!!!!!!

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Learning Goes On

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I feel like poor Ned in the Dr. Seuss book ‘One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish’. I don’t know what to do! I kept putting things off so I can talk to the accountant, but really, I just need to dive in and get the debris packed/sold/gone. As much as it breaks my heart, I cannot keep this place. (I’m starting to cry as I write) I cannot feasibly afford it and it is like experiencing my dad’s death all over again. (oddly, not mom’s. Mom left me with so much of a mess, I miss dad more right now. He brought us to this house and was our dad and it was home.) Yet, it isn’t the actual house I’m going to miss so much, or the lake (although, I will miss that. Dad’s ashes are in it-I need to add mom’s sometime), or watching the saga of life unfold outside the window (there is a fight commencing between two male common golden eyes for the same lady!). It is this amazing place where I belong. Once I actually leave, I can only return as a visitor. And, honestly, I’ll have no real reason to. My sister isn’t a large enough of a reason (she didn’t come south for anything in my family, although she might since her daughter is in Seattle and that is fairly close to where I live down there). This place is in my bones and blood. I may have lived in Oregon for most of my life, but not much of it counts for anything other than a place to have and raise the boys. There is a line in the book of Ruth-‘Your place shall be my place and your people shall be mine’ or something like that. I used that in my wedding, but my mindset wasn’t right. I was always the interloper, the outsider, the one who came in and stole a town icon and even the town icon seems every so often like he got into something he didn’t expect (of course, most marriages have that tendency!!!!!). Another thing I’ve learned, being up here, in my own house, I can act and do exactly what I want without having to worry about how people see me or gossip and I can dress in the way I want to. (small towns are very knowledgeable. In fact, out here, there is a giant network of information-right or wrong-, but I’ve not found it as wearing.)

This week has been educational in many ways. I’ve realized being alone is incredibly peaceful. Walking on the beach, spying a very young eagle overhead, and chatting with a fisherman who has a house with many of the same problems mine does! (must be a thing out here!) He has a wife who is dying, has 8 kids (that isn’t the same as me, thank goodness!), and goes to the inlet to find rest.  Although, he takes a pole and I just look at the mountains and find rocks.

I went to a bridal shower and found it entirely too loud! (I also thought about how different showers were in the late 80’s. Or at least mine. Mine was guested by mostly older women who gifted many utilitarian items that were doubled or tripled. Not a speck of lace unless it was on a throw pillow, or silky stuff or gift certificates for anywhere. Not a smidge of anything even slightly inappropriate!) This shower had things that made the older than I am bride to be blush like a full blown rose all mixed in with utilitarian. I admit,  I didn’t take one of the cupcakes. Mostly because I’d had a sliver of cake and was trying to keep the carbs down. I was also given a bag of kisses and a lovely cookie on my way out the door! (the elegance of the candies on the glass plate with the cupcakes nearby made me laugh!)

Friday was pretty busy with running around. I finally got the estate check (I hope) taken care of, I don’t know if there are any other checks in Oregon that might be estate. I hope not. (no one has notified me of any mail I might have gotten. I know I got an invitation to the wedding this weekend, but I’ve not been told yet. Thankfully, I asked what time it was while at the shower!) I also found out how very horrible technology is. Let me ‘splain. Mum had an expensive sewing machine. (If the price she wrote down is any indication, it was around 5 thousand US dollars) She didn’t use it much. (I found out later, my sister used it after it was purchased and broke something with the needles-of course. I believe it was fixed, as mom used it a few times before she died and  I was told that sort of thing happened often.) When she was in the hospital that last time, she kept telling me to sell it. l found out today it might be worth $500. Just before 6 pm, I called the Fabric Center where it was purchased and after exchanging more information, found out it might not even be worth that. You see, when mom purchased this, it was new and top of the line (that is actually in the name!). However, part of the fancy technology was computerized. Floppy disk computerized. If it had a USB port, that would make it more user friendly for today, but as my youngest said, it will need remodeled for the new era.

(OH! UPDATE: there is one male golden eye bobbing in and out of the water right near where I sit when I am down by the lake! I don’t see a lady. I wonder if he’s the spurned lover? Or perhaps he’s showing off how well he can dive in the same spot? I see the other male across the water, but the female is not visible. Of course, she’s not in bright white and black!)

One of the best parts of Friday was meeting an author. Patience Griffin not only creates chaptered designs with words and syntax, but she creates quilts and (I believe) the fabric she makes the quilts with that go with her books! I was honestly glad mum wasn’t with me, she’d have purchased all of Patience’s books and fabric and patterns online! (Actually, there may be some of the novels in mum’s stacks and boxes….) I need to find one to read. AFTER I get done here. I’m taking ages to read anything I have with me. Crazy!

The very best part of today was seeing twins. I think they were probably a couple of days old, I wasn’t able to snap their photograph. Babies even the size of a tiny horse move fast! I did take a fleeing photo of a single baby with a mom on my way to the wedding shower. I’ll work on getting better photographs of babies!

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