| About 6 weeks since I picked my first ripe tomatoes from my plants. Those plants are pooping out. Granted their fruit was so sweet and delicious, but now I'm down to 7 or 8 tiny green tomatoes that will probably never ripen, and may not get much bigger. I water regularly and make sure they're getting sun, but I think they've quit. I've heard from more avid gardeners that their crops have quit. I guess it's time.
Funny how they can vary in taste. All of mine were sweet and juicy. My neighbor gave me some yellow tomatoes and some mini Asian pear tomatoes, also yellow, and they were sweet like candy. Someone at church gave me red cherry tomatoes that actually tasted a little bitter. But they're all a big step up from those plastic-like tomatoes at the store.
My grandfather used to talk about carrots. They were sweet, according to him, or bland, if the soil was "sweet". I guess he was referring to the acid levels of the soil. We didn't have sweet soil at our house, and neither did he. He did not allow for different varieties or breeding; just the dirt made a difference.
Although, I am glad to end the 90 plus degree weather and the humidity, I am sorry to see things stop growing. I have already started gathering the seeds from my miniature marigolds. They are turning brown in both leaf and flower. I save the seeds every year for the next. Same with coneflowers. I have discovered by accident that begonias can be saved from year to year, depending on the variety.
It makes me sad to discover these things so late in life. My age, my failing health, make me think I won't be doing this many more seasons. If I move to an apartment or an old folks home, I won't have space or outdoor access. Or if worse things happen, I just won't be able to dig in the dirt and save seeds no matter where I live. Of course, if I die, I'll garden in heaven, without deer or groundhogs as interlopers in my flower or vegetable gardens. At least for now, I can pretend that my "summer" will go on forever, and tend my flowers and herbs.
| Well, I got my first red tomatoes off the vine! Oh, joy. The thrill of growing your own. I ate one small one already. No cherry or grape tomatoes this year. The plant labeled yellow tomato was mis-marked. It's rendering very red tomatoes.
That's all I'm growing. I did plant a potato, and the plant looks lovely, but I don't know anything about harvesting a hill of potatoes. Someone at my volunteer workplace brought in onions and kale. The kale looked great, so we split it up. The onions had washed up in all the downpours and many were mushy. People took one or two that looked good. I took all the mushy leftovers, cleaned them up and now have a bowl of onions. Gotta find some recipes using onions because they won't last in this condition.
I've got a pot of cooked kale steaming on the stove. Yum. The best part of summer is the home grown produce from your friends and neighbors. I did get one very small garlic bulb, dry at that. And something green that smells like mint. I'm not sure what to do with that. I miss the days when my dad brought in squash, zucchini, beets, green beans, pumpkins, etc. That freshly picked crop brings back memories.
| I feel like we have barely survived the last round of campaigns, and now they're starting again. I screen my phone calls. I delete half my messages.
I hesitate to state my thoughts for fear of backlash. However, I want to say it somewhere. I don't want anyone who has ever been president now or in the past to do it again! The next problem is that no one has much of a chance of winning other than the two noisy front-runners, both really bad choices. If I vote/ cheer for someone I like, my vote and energy will be wasted. If you don't back the power houses, you're backing losers.
I have just completed a course in The Constitution, and have learned that the separation of powers has been gone at least for the last 100 years. The president since FDR has been another legislator with a different set of rules. I have listened to people campaigning and making promises, and I wondered, "How can you promise that as chief executive?" Now I understand. The rules aren't what we leaned in school, and people like me foolishly believed them. No, they can make outrageous promises, then do what it takes to enact them.
In the meantime, it seems like the most important things that we, the represented, can do is to elect good legislators. Take that more seriously than the presidential runs. Then study history for ourselves, not just the kids. Read a book by someone we don't like. Stop getting our political thoughts from Facebook. Watch a variety of News shows, but only occasionally. Mostly, watch local news or business/farm news. There are free classes online. Adults should take advantage of these in economics, history, civics, government, or basic law.
I can't solve any problems. I can wish a new, vital, open-minded, intelligent man or woman would step forward with a heart set on the country's welfare. (We all know anyone who would want to be president is not operating with a normal mindset.)
Don't call me. I won't answer.
| Years ago I posted a romance that didn't end well on this site site. A reviewer told me I should have a happy ending as required by the genre. I couldn't go back and redirect my characters. They had a life of their own. I have mulled this over ever since, noting in Nicholas Sparks stories they usually "get together", even for a bittersweet ending, I finally concluded that this was not my genre, and stopped trying. I hadn't given much thought to it before then,
I concluded that I could not write romances with happy endings because I had no real experience to lean on. I've only had bad relationships, and a very bad marriage. Why would I think I could write a romance except as a fantasy?
Then last night, while I was sick and unable to sleep, I watched the 1937 version of Prisoner of Zenda. Holy Moley! A romance with a very sad, if noble, ending. This started the ball rolling. What about Romeo and Juliet and all those great classic operas? No happy endings there. So I checked it out on The Web. It turns out to be a big controversial topic. You get into "feminine" versus "masculine" writing. The great romances are usually classified with another genre such as history or adventure. It turns out you don't have to have a happy ending unless you're catering to the cheap paperback audience.
So if you want your romantic leads to go astray, commit murder or move to separate countries, go for it. You're just writing about real life.
| It's definitely spring. My eyes are stinging, and sometimes watery (when the med runs down). The car needs cleaning daily. The jonquil blooms are gone, the dogwoods are blooming, and the peonies are shooting upward. Finally, my closely watched elephant ears have appeared. The clematis at my back door blossomed overnight. I have more at my mailbox on the street, but it only has 2 blooms.
I have been doing a little spring cleaning. So I moved flowers from inside the garage out to the patio yesterday. Only a few didn't make it through the cold of winter in an unheated garage. I did have lights for them, and watered them regularly. Today I moved the gardenias and other things from my spare room by a sunny window to my back porch. How much nicer the porch looks. Those flowers fared very well. I have a few flowers in pots coming up from seeds that I saved from last year's flowers. I leave sage, strawberries, and chives in pots on the porch all year, so now they have pretty company.
I have done some weeding in flower beds and in the cracks in the driveway. I don't feel like my budget will allow me to do any fix-ups, no matter how badly needed. Nature is beautiful, but it requires so much of us if we are not really wilderness people. Subdivisions do require some maintenance. As long as I am able, I will just have to keep working at it, a little at a time, so I can enjoy it.
| My church has run a soup and desert cook-off for years. It stopped during the pandemic. I started it up again with some changes. Originally, only men were permitted to cook. There was a small group of judges, and prizes were given. I took out the competition and opened it to women. And the rules did not require the food be homemade. There was entertainment. In the past, we had a cruise theme, a "Grease" theme, so I took a TV western theme.
It was so much trouble. Whew. It's over. Fortunately, someone with a special touch volunteered to decorate the tables. I found a blanket with a Southwestern look and draped it over a small table, and placed some western items from home just for atmosphere. I had two autographed photos from actors on The Virginian with my name on the notes. I framed them and took those, too. Lots of other little things went on the piano and books about Indians on music stands.
We had more than enough food volunteered. The fellowship committee set up supplies and washed platters and made tea, coffee, and lemonade. Someone made hardtack. I tried it--inedible even after soaking it in soup broth for an hour. Hard enough to break your teeth. Lots of people helped clean up. I had a tall guy who plays guitar come as Roy Rogers. The music director sang harmony to Happy Trails as Dale Evans. She also led a sing along.
Password was less than perfect, but it entertained an easy going crowd. I had a young person write the words on a dry erase board, so that the people on stage couldn't see. No one cheated, but they didn't understand the format. After a lot of time passed, I declared a winner with only one round. I also had Trivia quizzes on the table to get them talking, but that wasn't necessary even with guests. The room buzzed with conversation, but they did want me to review the quizzes with them. I didn't realize I would be doing that and didn't have my glasses, so that was the weakest part of the evening. I do think they all shouted in unison when the answer was "Rawhide"!
Fortunately, for me, they were lovely patient people who love to eat. So they seem to have had a good time. Maybe next year. Maybe I'm retiring.
| As an older person, I sometimes see older performers or bands. Most aren't as good as they used to be. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an exception. The lead singer sounds like he always did. His son has now joined the group. The others have joined in or replaced someone over the years. They gave a great show. They give a little history, like touring with Willie Nelson, or recording a song that didn't sell, only to have Rascal Flats make a hughe success of it a few years later.
The older audience loved them, I saw them in a very nice venue. They commented on how much nicer it was to perform in an elegant atmosphere with no flashing Budweiser lights blaring at them. I highly recommend that you catch them if they come to a place near you.
| Today would have been my little brother's birthday. He was hale and hearty except for mesothelioma. It cut him down while he was still active and productive. He could get more done while he was sick than an average healthy man. He loved ball room dancing, motorcycles, his grandchildren, and remodeling old houses.
He collected old rugs, Oriental style. He was opinionated, outspoken, and very funny. He played high school football, which he lived over and over. At one time, he was very active in a downtown church and drove the church bus. The kids would come by his house on a Saturday and ask to help him do chores around the house or yard, just so they could spend time with him.
His daughters remain close to me and my other brother. We share our holidays, and babysit. I have no grandchildren of my own, so my brother's fill in. I love his grandkids dearly.
Today I have both sad and happy feelings. I still feel the void left by his passing. I am so grateful for all the things he did, all the times he made me laugh, and even for the times he was just a PIA kid brother. Life was richer because of him.
| I refuse to make another resolution only to disappoint myself. Weekly goals are as far as I care to reach.
AARP tells us not to resolve things about achievement. Instead, we are told to think of single words that we want to describe ourselves at the end of 2023, They don't give examples. I thought of thinner or lighter. Richer would be a good one. Stronger, healthier. More grateful. Loving. Etc. You can can come up with better ones. No one is going to describe himself as angry or mean or short-tempered, so it's doubtful that anyone would think of "pleasant" or "patient" or other forms of kindness. We're advised to think of words that help us develop who we want to become, rather than what we want to achieve.
So I'm setting no goals. I'm going to work on personal development to become a more secure, calm, peaceful, fulfilled person. We have a year to see how that works out.
| I had finished my Christmas shopping when I discovered I would have two extra children for Christmas Day. It's not just a meal, I can always feed extras on holidays. But they would be there for family gift exchanging which already included 7 children. I was busy. I had to put candles out on the street, sing in the choir Christmas Day and had much cooking to do. So I would not do any last minute shopping. Needless to say, I am ashamed I had no gifts for a 7 year old and an eleven year old. Fortunately, my brother, who lives in another town, has a ten year old son who thought of it, and who made his parents buy something for him to give them. At least they had a little something to open.
Then my 5 year old great nephew was tired and went berserk when they arrived at 3. He wanted to open every present he saw and threw a screaming tantrum. His mother held him to stop the crying much much later. He went to sleep in her arms, so he missed the rest of the family doing gifts in the family room. When he woke, it was almost as bad, just not loud crying. We had finished dinner by then. One family hadn't shown up, so their gifts were still downstairs. He got into them. We caught him before he got far. But he would not come back down to open his gifts. He wanted them upstairs. Now you can't discipline someone else's child. But we will not repeat this next year! My mother would have spanked us until we had the fear of God. This mother is not that stern, and "negotiates", instead of punishing.
Nothing went as I had planned. All that housework and furniture arranging to accommodate everyone at once. Trying to have the food warm all at once, etc. What a waste. The kids played outdoors, which is good in that they were tearing up the yard instead of my house! They even played in the dark, when it was in the low 20's. I ended up with my wheelbarrow near the front door. My brother, who is 12 years younger than I, braved the cold yesterday to straighten what he could. One of the non-related children had pulled out some heavy wire (coat hanger thickness) and I got it tangled up in the wheels of the trash can Sunday night.
Maybe next year, is I'm not broke by then, I can go on vacation for Christmas!