Saturday, November 27, 2010


I got an email the other day, well, I have had many of them over the years, on “the good old days.” I did not remember a few of the things, occasionally it predated me – imagine that! Anyway, this email had pictures of the cars from the 50s – remember the years of the FINS? And the old dial phones – I have one still in working condition… Often the emails talk about how much better things were in those days back before all this technology took over the world and our kids. How much simpler things were does not always mean better…  Because, if it were not for today's technology, you would not be reading this, would you?

I guess it always seemed better back when - I remember Grammy saying how much better things were... But, OH MY how she enjoyed a washing machine she did not have to fill and empty and did not have a wringer! And a dryer on rainy days.

I still have only a few channels on TV - who needs to pay all that $$ to watch filth, lies, and violence? With my antenna I can get 4 PBS channels, CBS and usually NBC and ABC, sometimes a few of the “extra channels”. What more do I need? We get 110 channels on the TV at my house in PA, and more often than not, we turn it off because there is nothing we want to watch.

I do love my lawn tractor. I do remember seeing the old push mower in the barn, but my Grandfather was the first in the neighborhood to get a power mower. You did walk behind it, the sit down version came many years later, so I don’t remember the lawn being cut with the quieter push mower.

My Toyota looks like any other year and like any other van, but I don't care. No style, but today one needs a van to carry all the stuff and as many people as we used to get in an ordinary sedan. I can still name the car and even the year for cars in the 50s and 60s. After that, they all kind of look alike, smaller and smaller, more alike than different.

The emails mention old timey food and ways of cooking. I still cook like Grandma - fresh food - organic... almost never any packaged crap. I am sorry I never learned how to can stuff. I remember bushels of peaches, tomatoes, string beans. All I ever got to do was shell peas and baby limas, or cut the tips off the wax and string beans. But I don’t have all those electric gadgets, electric knives, coffee bean grinders, espresso machines… nope, not in my kitchen.              

I do have an electric can opener. I use it to sharpen knives. I open cans with the can opener on the wall. You’d be surprised how many cans I opened for my neighbor when the power went out last year.  I still do not own a microwave. I do not want anything in my house with radiation warnings or that would make a hamster explode. Trust me.

My dishwasher is located at the end of my wrists… 

Telephones... geez. Having spent time in a wheel chair, I have PHONES... in this little house I have 9 working phones (landlines) and a cell phone usually left in the van. One of the phones is "hardwired" to an old jack and you have to DIAL it. Wow, huh? It was in the house when I moved in. But, it still works better and the sound is clearer than all these new things I can stick in my pocket and carry outside or put on speaker while I peel potatoes so I can talk and keep working at the same time. Didja ever have a conversation with someone and you can hear the computer keys clicking away in the background? That is not just multi-tasking, that is just plain rude.

The email mentioned how kids today cannot count. How true! In high school I worked as a waitress on week-ends and cashier during the week... I can count frontwards and backwards. I can add bills up in my head and the change in my hand without even looking at it. Grammie used to make me add up a column in the Wall Street Journal – in my head… and usually my answer was the same as hers. She always beat me. Kids today do not know how to make change if the bill is $4.12 and you give them a 5 dollar bill, a dime, and 2 pennies and they already rang up that your change will be 88 cents while you were fishing out those 2 pennies. They are completely baffled. They may be able to text message 54 people in a half an hour to tell them they just saw the dumbest old woman come into the store, but that $5.12 will blow their feeble education out the window. No wonder we are now ranked 25th in the World in Math.

I really don’t remember all the rest of the stuff in the email… but, having lived in parts of the world where so many things we take for granted in this country, no matter how poor we might be, I really do appreciate what we consider the basics, running water, hot water, central heat, a roof that does not leak. I still think my washer and dryer are luxury items, but I still prefer to hang my clothes out on the line. However, I recognize the joy of not fighting with king sized sheets on a clothesline.

And then there is this contraption, as G-ma would say, in front of me. I can hear from my friend in Japan in a second, and “talk” to my friends and family all over the world all at one time. And even though my house looks like a branch of the library, I am glad I can do research sitting here in my slippers and jammies if I want to. Technology. Its not such a bad thing.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Here it is, almost Thanksgiving and the temps are in the 60s again today. I know it cannot last and I remember how we were caught so off guard last year – when the cold hit, it hit with a vengeance and leaving many of us with chores undone. It has always been a challenge to keep a fresh tomato from the garden for Thanksgiving dinner, but this year I will have a fresh pepper, a small cucumber, several tomatoes… but I doubt this zucchini will be big enough by then. Can you see it on the pink paper?

Yep, I resisted the urge to yank this little plant out and, bless its little heart, it has been blooming away. So, when I walked out to do a few chores this morning, I saw this nice big bloom and thought I just might take a picture of it. So, camera in hand, I looked around for a good shot – and what did I see? Back in the house for a piece of paper and the date – I mean who ever heard of a zucchini this late in November HERE?  DSC_0751 Check out the tomatoes? The red ones were for lunch yesterday. No pictures of them! But I will pick these before the cold weather hits in a few days.DSC_0752

We have had several frosts. One zapped the coleus just a bit, so I cut them down but left the strobilanthes. The frost has not hurt it one bit. Can you see St Fwankie down under the leaves? This plant is over 4 feet tall.  DSC_0763

The fall azaleas are still blooming nicely and the camellias are earlier than usual. Everything is loaded with blooms.DSC_0759DSC_0733 DSC_0757DSC_0668

One amazing little plant has been blooming ever since my friend Bobbie gave it to me – ages ago. Gosh, I don’t even remember when. It is a type of Bleeding Heart – the wild version? It is dripping with dew, we had a heavy fog this morning.  DSC_0754

The red camellias that usually bloom just in time for Christmas have started – 2 blooms today. Most of the leaves are down now and I  never posted the pretty colors. Oh well, guess that happens when you get too busy. I hope it is pretty at your house and you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


No, I did not misspell that… these seals are on the rocks next to Fort Gorges, an old fort in Casco Bay, not very far off shore between Peaks Island and Portland. And , yes, it is pronounced, gorgeous.PeaksFortG

Gorges is a strange looking thing sitting out there in the middle of the water on what was a small island – there are lots of them in the Bay… small islands, that is. fort gorges

Can you see it sitting out there in the Bay? This is from the webcam at Portland Head Light.

Gorges is the only military structure on its own private island, but there are lots of ‘fort” type structures – military bunkers, spotting towers and fascinating tunnels and other military “stuff” on most of the islands. I say fascinating, tho I don’t really mean it anymore. They were fascinating when we were kids because they were forbidden territory. Small wonder, they were and are even today, dangerous, especially for small kids. We, of course, visited them more than once, climbing around and exploring most of them, swearing an oath to each other to never ever tell Aunt Kathryn. Funny, I don’t remember her ever hitting any of us, but I do remember her picking up a ping pong paddle and LOOKING at us. I memorized the LOOK, and it came in handy when I became a teacher. Stop ya in your tracks! LOL!

Anyway, I only remember being on Fort Gorges once when my boy-friend of the month “borrowed” his dad’s boat and we went exploring in the old fort. The fort was not as interesting to me as the seals that flopped around on the rocks. They did not like visitors. seals gorges seals 2 Gorges seals

The seals are easy to miss to the casual tourist – they seem to blend into the rocks. These shots aren’t the greatest, they were scanned from a couple of shots my sister took on our trip in 2003.

Yeah, this shot is back at BaHaba… the last pic taken of Luanne before we headed for home. Just had to post it before I pack up all the old shots and put them away again…  Luanne BH

OK… I have packed the pictures up… they will go up on a shelf, probably never to come down again. Some things are just too hard to do. Maybe I will get back to Maine… maybe…

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


A mechanic was removing a cylinder-head from the motor of a Harley
motorcycle when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in his shop.
The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come and take
a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the Garage, 'Hey Doc,
want to take a look at this?'
The cardiologist, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was
working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on
a rag and asked, 'So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the
valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finish,
it works just like new. So how come I make $39,675 a year and you get the
really big bucks ($1,695,759) when you and I are doing basically the same
The cardiologist paused, smiled and leaned over, then whispered to the
mechanic...  'Try doing it with the engine running'


Life has been exceedingly busy lately… phew! you just wouldn’t believe! But there is always time for a good story. My 80 year old Uncle sent me this… I remembered it was one of my old favorites… maybe you will remember it, too, and smile.

An old prospector shuffled into the town of El Indio, Texas leading an old tired mule.

The old man headed straight for the only saloon in town, to clear his parched throat.

He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule to the hitch rail.

As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes,

a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?"

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance ... never really wanted to."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger  grinned and said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna dance now,"

and started shooting at the old man's feet.

The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet.

Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger,

still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun,

and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.

The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly.

The silence was almost deafening.

The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin 10 gauge barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir ... but... I've always wanted to."

There are a few lessons for us all here:

Never be arrogant.

Don't waste ammunition.

Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.

Always, always make sure you know who has the power.

Don't mess with old folks, they didn't get old by being stupid.