Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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I am a Blue Star Mother

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
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  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
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  • Grace
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  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
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  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
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    Real Music
  • Copia
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  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
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  • Nightfall
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  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
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  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
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    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
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  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
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    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
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  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
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    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
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  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
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    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
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    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Tuesday
May212019

About that pie recipe

I promised you the recipe for Blender Lemon Pie.

When I saw this recipe on a cooking blog, I knew right away it was going to be a favorite.

On account of, it takes less than five minutes to throw together. A trained monkey could do it.

Certainly a five-year-old could do it. In fact, I'm going to teach Dagny to make this soon, to prove that.

I guess lemon desserts are my favorite -- even over chocolate, depending on the day -- so in addition to how easy it was to make, that was one huge thing in its favor as far as I was concerned.

I mean, when you make your own Blender Lemon Pie (which I just know you will), you'll agree that although it's anything but a fancy dish -- it could even be described as rustic -- its beauty and tastiness is impressively out of proportion with how easy it is to prepare.

So here you go:

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BLENDER LEMON PIE

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 and 1/4 cups sugar

1 whole lemon, quartered and de-seeded

Splash of vanilla extract

1 prepared (or store-bought) pie crust

Powdered sugar and lemon slice for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Pat pie crust into pie plate and crimp the edges

Into your blender place eggs, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and the entire lemon

Blend everything until smooth -- a few seconds is all it takes

Pour into crust and bake for about 45 minutes* or until reasonably "set"

(it will continue to set up while cooling)

Allow pie to cool thoroughly** before garnishing with powdered sugar and a lemon twist

*It took my pie about 55 minutes to get to the point where I felt it was just unset enough in the middle, to get all the way done while cooling. For the extra ten minutes, I placed a piece of foil over the top because the crust was exactly right after 45 minutes.

**I refrigerated my pie overnight.

I added the powdered sugar and lemon twist just before serving.

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When I made the pie for Mother's Day, I forgot to take a picture of it. Apologies. I would have made another one just for this post, but then TG and I would have had to eat it and we don't have dessert except on special occasions.

No; I couldn't think of anyone to whom I'd give an entire pie. 

TG mentioned that this reminded him of lemon bars; it's basically a simple custard, but the lemon zing is very prevalent. It's nice and tart and plenty sweet.

Let me know if you make a Blender Lemon Pie!

Also I think it'd be fun to make it with limes (I'd probably use two), and to slather whipped cream all over the top. When I do that, I'll take a picture for you.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday

Tuesday
May142019

Spring parties eternal

Easter Sunday 2019

Mercy. I am so very dilatory in telling you about our latest round(s) of pawtying.*

Before I can tell about Mother's Day -- which was a prodigious occasion in every way -- we've got to back up a few weeks, to Easter.

I thought I had told you about Easter, and shown you too. 

But I was wrong.

So here goes.

I remember making a spiral-cut ham that we bought at Costco. Also deviled eggs. Someone brought macaroni and cheese.

I'm having trouble recalling anything else about that day, except that as usual for a Sunday, we all went to church.

After morning services we pressganged a friend into taking family pictures with Brittany's phone.

My girls and I again wore black, as per usual. Erica spiced up her ensemble with white, and she and I both wore cobalt-blue suede shoes. We didn't plan it.

Easter Sunday 2019

Make of that what you will; just stay off of them. The shoes, that is.

Back at home, my table was decorated with an assortment of bunnies. 

Although I know that Easter celebrates the resurrection of our Lord, it's still fun to put bunnies all around.

Audrey had found Peter Rabbit napkins which thrilled Dagny, who loves having Beatrix Potter read to her.

Have you had Sanders Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels yet?

They're to be found at Costco.

Don't even finish this post. Go directly to your nearest Costco -- even if it's three counties (or three states) away -- and buy some of these.

If you don't have a Costco account, get one. Or use a friend's.

Then buy some of these.

Trust me; you need this candy in your life.

Shortly after Easter 2019 passed into history, TG and I went to Nashville. I know I've told you about that. Remember the sheep?

We came home and then, in two shakes of a lamb's tail, it was Mother's Day. Once again we all went to church together.

Easter Sunday 2019

But alas, no après-worship pictures were taken; we were anxious to get home and enjoy another glorious repast.

This time it was my homemade extra-rustic chicken salad served on Costco-sized croissants, deviled eggs, a fabulous fruit salad put together by the girls, Lay's lightly salted potato chips (TG's favorite), assorted soft drinks, and coffee.

To finish us off we had two desserts: homemade Lemon Blender Pie (I will give you that recipe within the week because trust me, you need it as much as you need that caramel candy) and strawberry-cream-cheese stuffed-croissant French toast.

You read that correctly. At Audrey's behest (she found the recipe) I made a filling of cream cheese, diced strawberries, confectioners sugar, and lemon zest. I stuffed those huge croissants with the filling, dipped them in a wash of eggs and heavy cream seasoned with cinnamon and a dash of salt, and grilled them in a skillet of sizzling butter.

Hallelujah. You'll be wanting to try that.

Then there were the gifts.

I'd already received presents on Friday from my own mother and sister, when Audrey and Dagny and I drove to the upstate to have lunch with them.

I was given several soap items -- foaming hand soaps as well as scented luxury bar soaps -- this year. I can't get enough scented soap; I am pretty much a soap freak.

On Saturday morning there was a box of gorgeous roses on my doorstep, sent by Chad and Erica.

On Sunday I received more roses from Andrew and Brittany. I also got a beautiful bracelet, a jar for making cold brew coffee, an antique-look hummingbird feeder, a Kate Spade pencil pouch, and a lovely coffee mug.

I made my first batch of cold brew coffee today. Mixed with heavy cream, it tastes like chocolate milk.

I'm in trouble. I'll probably never sleep again.

The antique-look hummingbird feeder is hanging outside the kitchen window, brimming with nectar. No takers yet.

Next scheduled pawty? Memorial Day, when we have our annual patriotic start-of-summer cookout/swimming bash, on which day we also celebrate our Erica's birthday.

After that? Let's see ...

Oh! Two weeks later it's Dagny's fifth birthday, Father's Day, and TG's and my fortieth wedding anniversary all in the same three-day time frame.

And yes; everyone will be on hand for the whole shooting match.

Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night.

There will be cake crumbs. And more pictures. And more presents. And much merrymaking.

Meanwhile, we are having the sort of weather you dream of. A high today of seventy-five, with low humidity and balmy breezes.

If you stop by and I don't answer the bell, it's because Rizzo and I are gone for walkies.

Easter Sunday 2019

But we'll be back shortly, so have a seat on the front porch until we come into view.

And that is all for now.

*"pawty" is a term coined by my friend Cheryl to describe we Webers' penchant for near-constant elaborate celebrations of anything and anyone we can think of, haaaha.

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Happy Tuesday :: Happy New Week

Monday
May062019

Here's looking at ewe, kid

Hey.

I'd apologize for having been MIA for so long, but love means never having to say you're sorry.

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At least that's what I've heard. And I do love you.

Either way, I'm here now after a most busy and distracted/distracting two weeks.

Last week was consumed with preparing for, and going on, a golf trip to Nashville.

No; I do not play golf. But TG does, and he has been participating in this friends-only tournament for three years.

It's guys from "back in the day" when we lived in the Chicagoland area. Most of the fellows were students of TG's and also on the team during the fifteen years he coached basketball.

One of the men at the tournament stood as a groomsman for TG in our wedding forty years ago.

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Another of the group -- one of the founding members of the event -- passed away on April 11th, at the age of 58. The tournament has officially been re-named a memorial, in his honor.

So it was good to see everyone.

And in case you're wondering -- yes! I was the only wife who attended. The guys took it really well.

Our group stayed in the cottages at Hermitage Golf Course -- two bedrooms per cottage, each with en suite bath, plus a spacious living area with kitchenette, and a rocking-chair-equipped screened porch overlooking the links.

We shared our cottage with two gentlemen I've known since they were teenagers -- actually I am only five years older than them, but that's a lot when you're a teenager -- but nobody was uncomfortable, because of the privacy afforded by the separate bedrooms with their own baths.

Also because the guys hit the links every morning by eight o'clock, and as a rule I don't get up before eight o'clock.

(Dagny, who will be starting school in August, will have to get used to rising early. School starts at eight o'clock, you know, her mother told her. I'm scared of eight o'clock, Dagny replied.)

Yeah. Me too.

Speaking of which, this very morning -- due to recent circumstances, my first day to really rest with no pressure to get up and do anything at all in well over a week -- our neighbor whose house and yard is directly across the street, had contracted with a tree service to have a tree taken down.

Our bedroom is at the front of the house.

Wait for it.

At PRECISELY eight o'clock this morning, they fired up the chain saws and the wood chipper. Logs began thumping to the ground amidst much shouting and truly incredibly loud machinery noise.

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These days I am awake for a couple of hours around dawn. Why don't you just go ahead and get up if you're awake, you may be thinking -- or even asking out loud.

Because I don't want to. I want to wait and see if I can go back to sleep. Let me handle this.

Usually, if I don't achieve a state of at least semi-consciousness by eight o'clock, I do get up. But this morning around eight, I was pleasantly drifting back out, towards dreamland. I was so tired.

And then the tree-cutting noise began.

click to embiggen

It sounded as though that wood chipper was in the room with me. What am I saying? It sounded like it was in my ear.

Yes; it was frustrating. The struggle is frighteningly real.

A long coffee hour was required to get me in condition to take Rizzo for his walk.

Anyhow.

I wanted to tell you about the sheep at Hermitage Golf Course in Nashville.

There are forty of them -- Scottish Black Face is their breed -- and they roam the gorgeous golf course at will, grazing and hanging out.

Here's a beautiful two-minute video that shows how impressive they are:

The cottages are decorated throughout with the sheep motif. There are sheep throw pillows on the beds. A large sheep graphic adorns the wall in the living area.

The tee areas are marked with metal sheep. You can buy a sheep driver cover in the pro shop.

On the first day we were there, TG arranged with the staff of said pro shop to grant me the use of a golf cart so that I could go in search of the sheep. To take their picture and make their acquaintance.

It took me forty minutes to find the forty sheep, but find them I did.

And it was worth the wait. They were wonderful. Newly shorn, but still cute as little buttons.

There were several who looked to be just about to drop little lambies -- in fact, on the last day the gentlemen played, on the tenth tee they heard a plaintive baaaa and looked to see that one heavily expecting ewe had been quarantined in a pen by herself. To wait.

click to embiggen

The next day, when I was driving a cart around to take pictures of our guys golfing, I saw the geese and goslings.

Speaking of mamas and babies -- and waiting -- our Brittany is expecting.

Maybe you'd already figured that out.

We will have a new little baby in early December. A Christmas gift.

Such happiness, I cannot tell you. Andrew is ecstatic and Brittany is glowing.

They've already bought their baby a tiny sleeper to wear, in a neutral color because they don't yet know the gender.

With that I wish you a joyous Mother's Day and, leading up to Sunday, a pleasant and productive week.

On Tuesday morning, if the neighbor's trees have been granted one more day to live, I plan to sleep late.

Even if that means only until eight fifteen. 

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday

Wednesday
Apr242019

Wednesday Words


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For your mid-week, here's a snippet by my favorite poet: Emily Dickinson.

A better lengthier post will be coming your way tomorrow.

Until then, dwell in possibility!

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Happy Wednesday
Wednesday
Apr172019

No-Words Wednesday


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Happy Wednesday
Friday
Apr122019

Courtesy of the United States Ghostal Service

I have a sad strange tale to tell.

Its particulars have developed over the last several months, and a couple of weeks ago, the matter came to a resolution an unusually unsatisfying sort-of conclusion.

They say that when Mercury is in retrograde -- as it's said to be on an average of three times per year -- Mercury (and other things) seem to be moving backwards.

As astrologers are fond of saying: As above, so below.

So it has been with several items of our mail. They seem to be going backwards, that is.

The first time I had an inkling that something was amiss, was last fall. 

I do not remember the details because I considered it a one-off and dismissed it from me overworked pirate brain.

But it concerned a piece of mail, which someone (I don't recall who but I believe it was an item of business, rather than personal, correspondence) reported to TG had been returned to them, marked Undeliverable As Addressed.

Except, the item was addressed correctly, and completely, and legibly (as in, typed). And we have lived at this address for nearly fourteen years.

We scratched our heads and soon, overcome by events, forgot about it. These things happen. Glitches, I think they're called.

Until early February, when my mother reported that the birthday card she had sent to TG in late January, had been returned to her.

Marked Undeliverable As Addressed.

My mother knows our address and her handwriting is most adequate.

Let's pull over and park here for a mo.

According to the United States Postal Service:

Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail is a clunky name for a big problem: Mail not reaching its intended recipient because the address is incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. ... But the costs of UAA go beyond just returning, destroying, or forwarding undeliverable mail.

I'd be quasi-sympathetic if I -- or those sending mail to me and mine -- were part of the problem.

But we're not. No one sends us mail addressed incorrectly, incompletely, or illegibly. No one.

Shortly afterwards, my daughter, Stephanie, who lives in North Carolina, reported that her mother-in-law, Debbie, who lives in Pennsylvania, had sent me a thank-you note for a Christmas gift.

And that in short order, Debbie's note had been returned to her.

You guessed it: Undeliverable as addressed.

I sputtered and fumed and apologized to Stephanie, asking her to convey my vexation to Debbie for the inconvenience of having a properly addressed letter -- with fifty-five cents worth of postage affixed -- returned to her as undeliverable.

In due time, my daughter had a visit from her in-laws and the subject returned-to-sender thank-you note was surrendered to her, and subsequently hand-delivered to me.

The sight of that letter, perfectly addressed in Debbie's beautiful handwriting -- nothing about the address incomplete, incorrect, or illegible -- with the big yellow Undeliverable As Addressed sticker plastered across it, incensed me.

I decided to confront the postman, pirate style.

When I heard the annoying insect-buzz of the mail truck moving along the street one day, I grabbed the letter and headed down the driveway to wait beside the mailbox.

No; I was not rude. I was polite.

I've told you before about our postman; he's a mostly nice guy who now and then has been known to get testy. He's only a curmudgeon on days that end in y.

There was the time during the summer of 2016 when he nearly beat my door down to tell me that my dog had been in his way as he attempted to deliver the mail, so he'd driven up into the driveway and beeped, but getting no response had been forced to carry the mail all the way up the steps to the door, and hadn't I heard him beeping?

No, I hadn't. Big deal. And -- another minor point -- I didn't have a dog. My dog was dead. Still is.

(This took place in the dog-lean months between our beloved Javier's passing -- on April 11, 2016, three years ago yesterday -- and the acquisition of my adored Rizzo on January 7, 2017.)

Mr. Postman was bent all out of shape that day. But I took my mail from his hand and declined to engage, because at the moment I thought that the dog he'd encountered may have been Andrew's Rambo, who was on the premises at the time.

And I thought it may have been possible that Rambo, who enjoyed lolling in the front yard, may have set a paw in the road for five seconds or so before losing interest.

(It turned out that it wasn't Rambo at all, though. The postman had accused me of being irresponsible with respect to a dog that not only did I not own, but whose identity is to this day unknown to me.)

But I digress.

So anyway, on the day I decided to confront the United States Government -- in the form of our postal delivery person -- I had one simple question.

To wit:

Why is it that a trend has developed within the last few months, of our completely, correctly, and legibly addressed mail being returned to the senders of said mail, marked Undeliverable As Addressed?

And I produced Debbie's thank-you note as evidence.

I wasn't asking for the answers to all the riddles of the universe. I kept it simple, concise, and to the point. I accused no one of anything; I asked a valid question. That's all.

And naturally -- naturally -- what I got was instant defensiveness.

I don't know, but I know that I didn't do it, the postman replied.

Well, I said, I'm not really interested in who did it, because that doesn't matter. What I need to know is, why is this happening?

It's become a trend -- four pieces of mail that I'm aware of within three months have been returned to the sender, marked Undeliverable As Addressed -- and I just want to know why, and what can be done about it.

Well, he said -- patiently, as though addressing the village idiot -- you're talking about a drop of water in Lake Murray.

No, I said. I'm talking about four pieces of mail in as many months, that have been correctly, completely, and legibly addressed to this house -- which is in an established neighborhood on a labeled street and whose mailbox is clearly marked with a number -- being returned to the sender marked Undeliverable As Addressed.

I waited.

He started again.

Well, I do this route nine out of ten days and I know you all and I would never do that but someone substituting on the route for me, not knowing you, might do it if they were on the wrong street and realized it wasn't the right house or if they weren't sure if the mail was yours and they felt like they didn't have time to get to the bottom of it so they just put that sticker on it and sent it back because they figured it would eventually get to you blah blah blah ...

Or some sort of malarkey like that which, I think you'll agree, makes no sense whatsoever.

The pieces of mail were clearly, completely, and legibly addressed. The street is identified; the house is marked with a number. The mail delivery person has that one job: to deliver the mail to that address.

I responded:

But if the mail is correctly, completely, and legibly addressed, and the delivery person has the express job of delivering said piece of mail to that house, which is on a clearly, completely, legibly marked street and has a clear, complete, legible number on the mailbox in front of it, why would they slap a great big lie on that mail in the form of that yellow sticker that says Undeliverable As Addressed and stick it back into the pile, to be sent back to the person who paid for postage and mailed it in good faith?

It's just wrong, I pointed out, to put that sticker on there. It's a great big lie.

It became obvious to me at that point, that our mailman was sick and tired of discussing the issue with me.

Look, he said, gazing out over the steering wheel of his mail truck as though searching for a faint light at the end of a hundred-mile-long pitch-dark tunnel. I know of two people who might have done this in my absence. I'll make a note of it and talk to them and try to get to the bottom of it.

I knew that was as good as it was going to get. I bit my tongue and did not thank the postman (yes; sarcastically) for condescending to do those things for me. 

Neither did I mention that a simple I'm sure sorry that's been happening, Miz Weber, and it shouldn't have, and I'll do everything in my power to see that it doesn't happen again because there's no excuse for it would have been nice to hear.

I took my belated but no less sincere thank-you note from Debbie back inside the house, and put it where I keep such treasures, and did my best to forget the whole thing.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend

Wednesday
Apr102019

Wednesday Words


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Happy Wednesday
Friday
Apr052019

Hung up on a technicality

Before we get started, let me point out that, technically, what follows is not my story to tell. As in, it did not happen to me firsthand, nor did I witness the events.

But who pays much attention to technicalities? Not I, if I can help it.

The tale was related to me this past Wednesday by my hairdresser, Alan. I've told you about Alan before.

To refresh your memory, Alan is a southern gentleman who technically (there's that word again) qualifies as a senior citizen. But he's one of those who are so young at heart, you don't notice his chronological age, and in fact when you are reminded of it, you're always surprised.

Maybe it's the short and spiky dyed-blond hair. Or the single small earring. Or the fact that he and his two equally-senior-citizen brothers regularly take motorcycle trips together.

They drive Harleys.

Alan is a veteran of the United States Navy and a devoted husband to Kathy, his wife of over forty years. Together they are parents of one adult son, and the grandparents of two adorable children.

You may remember (or not) that when Alan and Kathy got married in the early '70s, Alan designed and made (with his own hands -- as in, he sewed it) Kathy's entire wedding ensemble. Even her hat and her shoes.

He learned to sew while in the Navy.

Have you ever heard anything like that? Not the sewing part, but the part about an average guy creating his fianceé's wedding clothes?

It's utterly charming. They were a handsome couple too, and she looked beautiful on that day. He carries a picture and he showed it to me.

Alan, a South Carolina native, lives and works on several acres out in "the sticks" as we say around here. It's technically a pine forest, but Alan and Kathy call it home. 

Speaking of home -- that's where Kathy is, ninety-five percent of the time. Her health isn't what it used to be.

Alan's salon -- "Tha Cut'n Shed," as it is known formally -- is a rustic 500-square-foot metal-roofed building that his brother constructed for him on the property.

It's got a wraparound porch with galvanized pipe for railing, around which Alan has planted many flowering shrubs which he loves to tend.

Inside, there's a tiny but immaculate restroom, a tiny but inviting waiting area with two chairs, magazines, and an essential oil diffuser, a discreet but see-through lattice partition, and then a dryer chair, another lean-back chair at the hair-washing sink -- Alan uses that chair to relax in when he's not working on a client -- and the chair where you sit to get your hair cut.

There's no room for anything else. But there's lots of natural light and the surroundings are as unpretentious as they are pleasant. And there's peace.

I drive forty minutes every five weeks to have Alan trim and style my hair, as I have done since late 2004.

When and if Alan retires, I don't even want to think about how I'll manage to find anyone who can cut my hair the way Alan does.

Actually, if you want to get all technical? I know that I won't. I may have to shave it off and wear wigs.

Besides his prodigious talents as a hairdresser, there's Alan himself, who is the most kind and considerate of gentlemen. He could be the male archetype for hairdresser-as-therapist.

Because what he does is, he listens. He enjoys hearing about what's been going on with you. He remembers names and events, and asks questions about things you've discussed in the past.

He takes no liberties of any kind. As I said: Alan is a gentleman. For years, he called me "Miz Weber." What can I do for you today, Miz Weber? he'd politely inquire as I got settled in the cut'n chair and shrouded with a cape.

Finally, sometime around the dawn of the Obama administration, I persuaded him to call me by my front name of Jenny. Which he has done ever since.

Most of my family have met him and a few have even used his services at one time or another.

Alan's simply a prince of a man. He has one job and he does it extremely well. And his other job -- being a friend to his many loyal and longtime clients -- comes as naturally to him as breathing.

Speaking of clients -- I don't know how many Alan has, but I know there isn't much turnover. Most ladies (and gentlemen), having found Alan, realize what they've got and treasure their spot on his calendar.

He gets new clients, if he wants them, the old fashioned way -- by strangers being so impressed with a lady's haircut as she is out in public, that they stop to ask who cuts her hair.

That's what happened a few weeks ago. Alan got a call from a lady he didn't know. She'd been referred by a loyal longtime client, whose hair this new would-be client had openly admired.

She needed a significant amount of help with her own hair. Alan told me that he spent forty-five minutes with her on the phone for that first call, during which she related her hair troubles in great detail, and he advised and discussed with her what might be done.

Ultimately she made an appointment, for about a week out.

You should know at this juncture that Alan works three -- maybe four -- days a week, and he's busy. He does not work weekends and there's no such thing as a walk-in appointment.

But he managed to move some clients around and clear his schedule so that he could devote a two- to three-hour block of time to the lady with the many hair woes. The services she needed would take that long to render, he said.

And so the appointment was set and phone numbers were exchanged and so forth.

On the day before he was to meet with the new customer, as a courtesy, Alan took the time to call the lady and politely remind her of the impending appointment, and to make sure she knew how to find the salon, and to advise her of the forms of payment he accepts (no plastic).

She responded that she was good to go and that she'd see him on the next day.

The next day came. The hour of the appointment rolled around. But the new client didn't.

Alan waited for over an hour before doing a final sweep and tidying of his work area, and closing up shop and driving home -- that being the comfortable house you can see through the trees from the salon window, during the winter when there aren't as many leaves.

The next morning, still never having heard from the lady, Alan sent her a text. He reminded her that he'd rearranged his entire schedule in order to grant her a lengthy appointment, on the strength of her having been recommended by a longtime client.

He reminded her that she'd had his phone number and could have called or texted if she found it necessary to cancel at the last minute.

And he told her that he didn't think they were a good fit and he'd appreciate it if she'd take her business elsewhere.

I'm sure he was kinder and more diplomatic than I would have been in the same situation.

And I think he was justified in letting her know that, even if she were to be so inclined, he wasn't interested in renewing the appointment she'd failed to keep.

Then Alan read to me the lengthy and accusatory text he received in response to his text.

Naturally I don't remember its contents word for word, but I'll give you the gist of it.

She said that Alan was obviously an arrogant man, and that, because he WAS a man, he couldn't possibly "understand" why she had not kept their appointment.

I don't know if you've heard about the recent murder near the campus of the University of South Carolina, which is in downtown Columbia.

The one in which an inebriated girl, leaving a bar at two o'clock in the morning, summoned a Uber and then got willingly into a car which she believed was said Uber, but which in fact wasn't.

The driver of that car kidnapped and subsequently murdered the young woman, and dumped her remains several miles away in the dense foliage off of an isolated country road.

What does any of this have to do with Alan's delinquent would-be customer? you may be wondering.

What it has to do with it is that, in explaining her failure to keep the appointment, the lady cited "the USC murder." She said that she'd gotten to the point in Perry Taylor Road, Leesville, South Carolina, where one turns their automobile onto a dirt road to drive approximately fifty yards to The Cut'n Shed.

When she realized how off-the-beaten-path the salon was, she said she was overcome by fear "because I don't know you, and because of the USC murder," and continued driving, unable to convince herself that it was safe to go down the path and keep her hair appointment.

(My question at this point is, how could she not have already known that the salon is in a remote location? It's not a secret; anyone telling someone about Alan's setup would mention the unique situation of his salon and its environs.)

Another salient point is, does she really think that a hardworking self-employed senior citizen luring you to your death in his hair salon -- in broad daylight, a stone's throw from the house where his wife is going about her day -- whom you yourself sought out, not the other way around, would spend forty-five minutes talking to you on the phone -- sight unseen -- about your hair, when he didn't even know you?

People. 

It's one thing to keep a sharp eye. I wish the young woman who left the bar a few nights ago after several hours of drinking had had her wits about her enough to realize that she was imperiling herself when she got -- alone -- into the car of someone she knew even less than one "knows" one's Uber driver.

(Ladies. Don't call a Uber unless you're going to be accompanied on the ride by, at the very least, another lady or -- better -- several people. Ideally, don't summon a Uber unless you are in the company of an able-bodied male whose presence would deter most malefactors.)

But it's another thing to, in the aftermath of such a senseless crime, be afraid to get your hair permed and cut because the salon is situated down a dirt road and you've never met the (highly-recommended senior citizen) stylist in person.

I understand apprehension. I understand enlightened self-interest. What I don't understand is, having been overcome by fear in a situation, not having enough consideration for the other person to at least give them a call and explain.

It's not as though Alan could have murdered her through the telephone.

Most of all, I'm amazed that someone could conflate two scenarios -- a young, impaired, foolish girl getting into a car driven by a young black male outside a bar at two o'clock in the morning and a middle-aged lady, sober as a judge (I assume), keeping an appointment with a seventy-year-old hairdresser at three o'clock in the afternoon -- to the point that she was unable to turn her car down a path and at least check the place out before making a decision.

I told Alan that I had a mental image of the fortunate collective of his loyal longtime clients -- I'd be on the front row -- standing off to one side of his hair-cutting cabin and being amazed -- even amused -- at the sight of the lady being afraid to keep an appointment with him.

There's being safe -- make no mistake; I'm all for that -- and there's being afraid of your own shadow. 

Which doesn't get you anywhere. But maybe that's okay because you're having a bad hair day anyway.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend