Friday, September 25, 2020

Random Thoughts of Fall, Winter and Exercise - A Bit Blah, But That's Life Sometimes

It's Friday, and that makes me very happy. No really good reason, it just does. It's not that I won't have to work today and tomorrow, but the idea that I'm one day closer to Sunday - my day to sleep in a bit and work on things other than the shop - well, it's all good. LOL Today is also one of the final hot days of our summer. Tomorrow we start a quick slide into autumn temps, losing our high of low 80's today to a high of less than 60 on Monday. It's roller-coaster temperature time, with Winter lurking around the corner, held off by the brilliant colors of the Fall harvest. 

Winter is lurking. Right now, he's quite a ways 
down the hallway, behind a door or two. But like 
a bad memory, he's just waiting to spring out and 
frighten you. As he gets closer, I need to try and 
remember the small beauties of that season, not 
just the cold and the endless shoveling of the 

DH has been doing a 2X daily regime of prescription eardrops since Monday. It's a one week regiment, and I'm the one who has to drip four drops of the EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE medicine in every morning and night. I forgot yesterday morning - was out of the door a bit early to get to the bank and the store in the rain and get the bank out of the way as soon as possible. He wasn't extremely happy that he had to self-dose (and admittedly, it's a lot easier to have it done than to do it yourself). Now there's a sign on the door to the garage reminding me to do the eardrops before I leave. 

The structure of the ear lends itself to being
flat when trying to get drops into the 
ear canal. It's really hard to self-administer 
effectively. DH will need eardrops 2X a day 
until Monday morning. 

I had a real struggle to get my two miles in on the treadmill this morning. Normally I just lose myself in my audio book and before I know it, my distance is complete. Today I was fighting through every half mile - not really a lot of fun (although the treadmill is NOT my favorite in any case). My gym is resuming my 5:00 am opening time again on October 1st, and I'm so tempted. But I know I can't resume my activities there until we're either out of business or there is a vaccine that effective. I can't take the chance, just because I'd rather be in the water than on the treadmill. My time in the water will come again and my friends will still be there, or there will be new friends to make. 

I miss the pool and I miss my friends. I get a great all-over 
body workout in the pool, where I mostly exercise my legs 
on the treadmill. I'll start incorporating my Barre back 
into my workout routine again next week and see how 
my pinched nerve behaves. I miss my Barre days. 

So on this Friday, as I look ahead to a day filled with computer keyboarding work (sigh), I wish all of you a glorious day. Enjoy the day fully, do at least one thing that brings you happiness, and please, be kind, stay safe, and wear your mask. I'll be back tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Growing, Autumn and Voting - It Was a Busy Wednesday

It's 5:00 am, pouring rain, and DH has already bustled into the computer room to grab the flashlight and umbrella and go outside to take a look at his drainage, trying to make sure it isn't overflowing or doesn't need tweaking in any way. Of course, he also scattered the last of this year's grass seed on the bank only two days ago, and a good rain may well sweep all of that away with the water. I'm hoping not, since we're not going to buy more grass seed until next Spring. 

We've talked about using a grass seed blanket 
on our slopes, but they're expensive. So we still 
bought grass seed to scatter instead. We might 
look at a blanket for some of the steeper slopes 
next year, but for now, we'll stick with the 
old fashioned way. 

I took the time yesterday to fill out my absentee ballot and then drove over to the Library to turn it in. The line of people waiting for early voting was quite long - it's nice to see that people are still concerned with democracy and anxious to have their say in the direction of the nation and the state. Fortunately, since my ballot was filled out, I was able to go right in, show the election official my sealed and signed ballot envelope, and deposit it into the locked bin for ballots. I picked up an "I Voted" sticker for November and headed back out. 

I've voted Absentee before and always feel pretty comfortable 
with the process. The ballot is exactly the same as the one 
I would fill out at the precinct. I filled it out, folded 
it back up, and put it into the "Secrecy Envelope" which 
then got sealed. That envelope then went into another 
envelope which identified me with a unique ID, and 
I also had to sign that and provide my ID number 
(in this case, my Driver's License number). At that point 
I could have put it into the final envelope and mailed 
it back, but I felt better about actually dropping it off. 

My grocery bill yesterday was slightly over $100. ACK! But understandable when I looked back over the invoice and realized I had spent $20 on grapes and $10 on blueberries, not counting any of the other groceries I had chosen. I do love my fruit, and this late in the season, I'll be getting my oranges soon, which will have to carry me through until April or May. I'll pay for fresh fruit when it's the good stuff, and the grapes (which are washed and in the refrigerator waiting for me to indulge) are absolutely lovely - large and sweet. I'm hoping my weekly shop will be a bit less later in the Fall and into the Winter. 

I adore fresh blueberries. I have them with my morning 
oatmeal, and often on my evening salad as well. The 
berries I got yesterday were HUGE! Soooo tasty! 

I spent the rest of my day doing boring things - housecleaning (not too much this time, I was still a bit overdosed by my marathon cleanup on my sewing closet), laundry, and grabbing the chance to weave another row when I could. I probably should have washed the kitchen floor, but gave it a solid brush instead. I was running short on time by then - needed to get the dinner into the oven and wrap things up for the day. I think I ended up getting at least five rows woven. I have a total of 900 threads for the shawl, and I finished the first 100 yesterday at some point. Progress ... LOL. 

I took this very autumnal photo of my front yard fencing 
yesterday to share with all of you. I just love the colors 
I get during this time of the year. 

Have an excellent Thursday. It sounds as if our rain has already passed over and we're back to silence once more. DH said the drainage was working well, except for pine needles, which we can't really do a lot about. He's concerned about the drip line on the back of the shed, but hopefully it will rain again during the day today and he can get a better look in the light. I hope your day is one of fulfillment and happiness. I'll be back tomorrow with another episode of "Random Thoughts". LOL 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Welcome to Autumn (or Spring, For My Southern Hemisphere Friends)

I received my Vote by Mail Ballot in the mail on Saturday. I can fill it out and mail it back, or I can take it to one of the Early Voting locations, fill it out there, and let them submit it for me. I might do that today. The closest Early Voting location is my local library, so it would be a good opportunity to revisit the library and do my civic duty, all at the same time. 

This shot from 2016 was taken in early October. I
remember driving on some unfamiliar roads to get 
this vivid red swath across the greens. So pretty. 

DH is adamant - he will stand in line on Election Day at his assigned polling location and cast his vote in person. I think that's fine, but I have no intention of freezing while waiting to get into the doors of the church where we are assigned to vote. I voted by mail for the Primary Election and I'm pretty comfortable with the process, having voted by mail several times over my lifetime. He's concerned that a vote by mail won't be counted. I think it will be just fine and will count just as much as one placed with frozen fingers after standing in a long line. 

In 2017, I remembered the Autumn golds of my youth with
the golden Aspen trees in the Colorado Mountains. Here is 
a photo I posted of Autumn at Maroon Bells close to 
Aspen in the high mountains. My summers were always 
spent in Aspen from the time I was a small child until 
I was graduating from High School. There are times I 
miss my mountains intensely, but I love the lakes of 
my Land of 10,000 Lakes too. 

Yesterday I forgot to welcome everyone to Autumn (or welcome Spring for my Southern Hemisphere friends). I have the not-so-good excuse that I had other things on my brain. It's actually true, but no real excuse. So, I wish all of you a good turn of the seasons as we progress through our year. May it be a kind season to you and your loved ones. 

In 2018 I shared this photo of the colors of Autumn. I 
didn't take this photo, but when I found it, I knew I needed 
to share it with my readers because the colorful 
progression from deep maroon to summer-darkened 
green was so lovely. It deserves to be showcased once 
more as we celebrate the Autumn of 2020. 

Today is my "Day Off" and my roster is quite full, so I'm going to call my blog finished for the day, put in photos of the beauties of Autumn, and yes, I'll put in some scarlet leaves just for my friends who don't see much of the red and orange hues of Fall in their areas. We're not at full leaf-turn for another three weeks, but I'm certainly seeing the beauties of this - my second favorite season, and I love to share. Have an excellent day, be safe, stay well, and please wear your mask. I'll be back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

I Need An Escape - How About A Tiny Treehouse?

Some mornings are harder to get up for than others. Today was such a day, I actually slept until my alarm awakened me at 4:00 am, usually I wake up anywhere from 30-60 minutes before and just get up. I guess the temperature was perfect, and maybe my dreams were good - I have no idea on that. But, at least I got a solid 6+ hours of sleep, so that was good. 

I'm populating today's blog with a Kickstarter 
campaign I want to support and think that you 
might also enjoy. is their 
website and they have wonderful, detailed 
mini treehouses to hang or to add to your 
houseplants. Take a look at the few I've 
put in today's blog, and visit their website 
to see the range. There are some wonderful 

I pushed through and got my full 2 miles on the treadmill - once again NOT my favorite exercise. I'd much rather be in the pool, but I don't think that's going to happen until next year. I just don't see myself being brave and going into the midst of other people fearlessly for a while yet. So, I trudged my way through my fast walk. Thank goodness for audio books - I'd die of boredom on the treadmill without my favorite books to listen to. 

There are some wonderful structures that they have 
in production - I just chose a few to share with 
all of you. Little structures like this can help the 
imagination run wild, offering up alternatives 
and giving safe spaces when needed. And these 
are clever. Beautifully designed. 

Settling down at my computer, I handled my email, checked my mail orders, and generally did what I had to do before settling down to write my blog ... and realized that I really had nothing to say today that wasn't negative or horribly boring or ick. Since I refuse to post ick (we have enough of that in our daily lives these days), today's blog will be short. But that's OK. Not every day has to be a winner. 

In their photos, they also have a few shots when the 
roofs are removed, showing the detailed interiors, 
not just the wonderful exteriors. I'm in love with 
these small structures. Take a look and let your 
own imaginations run wild for a little bit. 

I guess I'm just a bit depressed about the world I'm finding myself living in. I'm watching my nation and the world around me heading towards disaster. I'm seeing human rights so hard-fought for in the past within a knife's edge of being thrown into the trash, and I'm looking at a lot of angry and isolated people striking out an anyone because they feel powerless. All I can do is try to effect positive thoughts and actions within the small circle of people I interact with. And that's all you can do too. So please, today, try to brighten someone's day. We all need it. Have an excellent Tuesday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

What A Surprise for Le Tour de France, and the Woodshed Is Complete

Who could ever have guessed that the entire Tour de France would be altered so dramatically with just a time trial? Time trials are usually a part of Le Tour - both individual and team, sometimes both and sometimes just one or the other. This time trial, held on the day before the procession into Paris, had a steep end climb for the riders and two friends and countrymen battled it out on the slopes. 

From the left: Primoz Roglic, winner of 2nd place in this 
year's Tour. Tadej Pogacar, winner of Le Tour after an outstanding
time trial where he picked up more than 57 seconds on Roglic, 
and Richie Porte, 3rd place winner, who said his only goal 
for this year was to have a photo of himself on the Podium in 
Paris. Well, here you go, Richie! 

The holder of the Yellow Jersey and assumed winner of Le Tour, Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) was the final rider. Just before him was the young phenomenon and fellow Solvenian, Tadej Pogacar. They rode for different teams, but were best friends, and Pogacar's 22nd birthday was upcoming within a few short days. Pogacar had already managed to nail down the King of the Mountain Polka-dot Jersey, as well as the Best Young Rider's White Jersey, but he rode like a man possessed, with an incredible ride that ended up giving him the trifecta - The White and Polka-dot, of course, but also the Yellow Jersey and the absolute win of Le Tour de France this year. Roglic, who had worn the Yellow Jersey for eleven days, ended up in second place, with Richie Porte of Ireland coming in third. Fabulous! Absolutely fabulous! Sam Bennett of Ireland ended up beating long-time rival Peter Sagan for the Green Jersey (Sprinter's Jersey). 

Here's what the woodshed looks like fully loaded. I know 
several people have asked "Why the staggered roof line?" 
DH wanted to make it more Frank Lloyd Wright style 
because it's more visually interesting and he knows that 
I adore Frank Lloyd Wright. I'm not arguing - it's 
absolutely beautiful. Now he's planning some above-
ground planting boxes for my strawberries, closer 
to the creek bank. 

I wasn't watching the final day - the ride into Paris. We were busy loading the truck up with wood for the compost yard, taking the wood out there, and then doing a final clean-up of the patio area. Later in the early afternoon we took a break from watching the US Open Golf and some really bad football and sat on the patio for a while. It was cozy and nice and seemed a bit alien - I've never sat there without the wood stacked all around me before. It was oddly exposed. Of course, we have a large maple tree that overhangs the entire area so it's a place of high-shade. That will make choosing plants for next year quite challenging for DH. 

Looking North, to my left as I sit at the patio table, it's
a far different sight than I'm used to. There's open dirt 
instead of stacked logs. The plants, that had been pushing 
up against the logs, now look sparse. DH will have lots 
of planting to do next Spring. 

Looking from a different angle, you can
see all of the open space that once held
wood. All of this will need to be planted
with shade-loving plants. It'll keep DH 
busy over the winter while he figures 
out what might be best. 

Dinner was wonderful, as I had planned. The ribs cooked up perfectly and the potatoes and cole slaw were exactly what I had wanted. All in all, it was a very pleasant Sunday, topped off by "Van der Valk" before sleep. But today I dive back into routine once again. Have an excellent Monday and enjoy your day. Be safe, be kind and please, wear your mask. I'll be back tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Le Tour, the Woodshed and Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Le Tour de France for 2020 wraps up this weekend with a personal time trial on Saturday and the ride into Paris with the final sprint to victory on Sunday. I haven't watched as intensely this year, but what I've caught has been excellent and the intense COVID preparations have all worked out. The crowds have been smaller, but the spectators were still there to cheer on the riders, and the commentators, although distanced, were excellent - clicking on all cylinders. I'm quite pleased with this year's Tour and am delighted for Slovenia who, with only two riders in the Tour this year, managed to put on a splendid show. I'm sure that small country has been glued to their media during the Tour. 

Saturday's stage of Le Tour de France is an individual 
time trial with a steep run up to the finish line. Here's where 
a Tour can be lost. Time trials rarely determine the 
winner of a Tour, but a fall or a bad ride can certainly 
determine a loser. 

On Sunday the Tour wraps up with the traditional 
ride into Paris and sprint race around the Champ-
Elysees. I'm not sure if I'll be watching, I might be 
helping DH move wood into the shed instead, but 
I'm amazed and delighted that the Tour managed to 
be run this year of COVID. The changes worked 
and the riders and spectators were kept as safe 
as possible. Well done to all! 

The woodshed is almost 100% completed now. DH finished putting the side boards on yesterday and after he puts a couple of back braces on today, he can start moving the wood over from the garden (where it's been stacked for more than a decade) over to its' new home. I'll probably be pulled into helping him on Sunday, but hopefully he can get a lot of it done today. 

The woodshed is 99% completed now. He wants to 
put a 2x4 back brace behind each of the two end 
sections to strengthen them, and then the wood can 
start getting moved from the piles into the shed. 

Just to remind you of why he built the woodshed, the 
entire back of the castle walls are stacks of cut wood 
from trees we've pulled down over the years on our 
property. It's our hope that we'll actually be able to 
get our chimneys checked out, re-flashed and get 
chimney covers, and then have fires in our 
fireplace in the den once again. We've certainly 
got the wood for it. 

We decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary on Sunday and DH left the menu up to me. He bought the food yesterday and is already complaining about my menu choices. What did I choose? I wanted ribs that I could cook in the crock pot (easy, minimal fuss), Au Gratin potatoes - the kind you bake in a casserole dish in the oven and cole slaw from our grocery store's deli. He grumped that he would have preferred corn and mashed potatoes, but I wanted something that was lower carb. I'm quite happy with my choices and I'm looking forward to my meal. 

I wear my Ruth Bader Ginsberg shirt often, and I'm wearing 
it today in tribute of a great woman who was strong and 
took no nonsense. Her presence on the Supreme Court 
will be sorely missed. 

Of course I can't end without saying how very sad I am at the passing of a great woman - Ruth Bader Ginsberg. RBG was an inspiration for so many, a steady voice for civil rights and the rights of the individual on the Supreme Court. Now we have to hope that filling her place won't be done by the current President because that could be frightening. Cross your fingers - we need the position filled, but not until the elections have been held and the after-election fights have ended. 

On that note, I'm out of here. Have an excellent Saturday and enjoy your weekend. I'll be back on Monday - at least, that's the plan. Be safe, stay well and please, wear a mask. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Le Tour Starts Towards Paris and the Shed Nears Completion

Only three days left for this year's Le Tour de France. Today we leave the Alps behind us as we have a hilly day heading out. Tomorrow we have a personal time trial, and then Sunday it's the ride into Paris and the final sprint around the Champ. I'm rather amazed that we managed to get here. The various postponements, the changes of dates and many options/paramaters that were put into place because of COVID, and the general thoughts that it just wasn't going to happen. But it did, and it was glorious, as ever. I hope you had/have an opportunity to see at least one stage of this year's Tour. It's going down in the record books as one of the hardest tours ever. 

Today's stage of Le Tour de France is hilly, but we're 
really away from the big mountains of the Alps and 
we're starting to head towards Paris. 

DH finished the shingles yesterday, put up the flashing, and then started putting up the side panels. After he finishes the sides today, he'll start moving wood from the various piles we have throughout the upper yard into the shed, clearing out lots of space for new plants next year. It's all full shade, so we won't be able to plant flowers that need sunshine, but he's been researching possibilities for us. It will be nice to have the back walls just a little lower once the logs have been moved. 

The shingles are on, the flashing has been applied 
to the fronts and he's starting to put up the side 
walls. We're doing slats for the walls because we 
still want air to be able to circulate. 

DH is leaving our choice of menu for Sunday up to me - a minor but delightful Anniversary gift. I think I want crock pot ribs, baked potatoes au gratin and some cole slaw. Add in a beer or two and it might just be the perfect day. I might even get a row or two woven on my shawl. 

It looks darned good (even with the misc boards 
still strewn about). We have some clean-up to 
do - pieces of shingles that were cut off, bits 
and pieces of tarpaper that need to be put into the 
trash, etc. Then we need to load up the wood that 
we've had stacked behind us as castle wall 
extensions. It's sturdy and it's quite lovely. 

I've been pretty good - getting at least one row woven on my shawl every day so far. Of course, there are hundreds of threads, so at the rate of one per day, it'll be more than a year before it is finished. Still, it hung on pegboard or was stashed on the floor for more than three decades. I don't think more than a year to finally finish the project is asking too much. LOL

On that note, I'm putting in two photos of how the shed looked when DH was putting things back late last night. It's hard to believe that it's almost completed, and I'm thrilled with the look. He's done a great job. Have an excellent Friday and I'll be back tomorrow. As always - be safe, be kind and please, wear a mask.