Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Last Friday morning all of us (Greg, Jeff, Sheryl and I) loaded into the old Honda and headed upstate to the "country" - i.e. the Catskill Mountains. Sheryl had never been there, and it was particularly fun for her ( I hope) because her parents had first met at the Tamarack Hotel, which may or may not still be in existence.

The mountains themseslves were predictably beautiful, the many shades of green only increased by the frequent rains we have had this summer. Although there is a striking absence of insects there too, there surely were enough tics around to cause me considerable angst and upset because Sheryl and Jeff wore flip-flops and only sneered when I recommended lace- up shoes and socks.

We stopped first at the Kerchners' house in Liberty. Jeff could not even sit on the front porch; he looked like he was about to faint from mold smell the whole time we were there. Sheryl played the piano; then we all went to a lovely crafts store. Back at home Andrea, Diana and I made earrings while Adam, Josh, Jeff and Sheryl went to play miniature golf, or "minister golf," as Jeffy used to say. Then it was lanyard time.

Saturday Night

We ate in a nice restaurant - thankfully I could eat! Then we paid a visit to Wal-Mart, the main sight to see, and then the four of use went to Kutsher's, the 100 year-old hotel where we spent the night. I was amazed that the hotel, though effete, is clean and very much a large snapshot of the 1950's. I was quite dismayed that the "oldtmers" are about my age: they had been young children at much the same time I had been a little girl! The jewelry in the boutique store looked as it did some 50 (!) years ago; so did the clothing.

The next day we stopped at Woodbury Commons. It was very hot, but everyone managed to shop.

Then home. I think we all had a very nice time, though we are not headiing back in that direction any time soon.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Having been in toxic shock all of July, it is a bit startling to go out back and see the enormous growth of vegetation. Many of the petunias have already gone to seed and need to be pinched back; the balsam stems are filled with seed pods; some have aready popped; some will pop very soon. The impatiens, usually a bother, are just right this summer; the hibiscus plant, sent by Lodie and Judi, is amazing, and will have to be transferred from the pot it arrived in straight into the autumn ground.

One truly shocking fact of life this year is the general lack of insects. The only bees around are the tiny ones with small yellow stripes, possibly not even bees at all. What has happened to the lusty bumble bees that used to hunker over my flowers, and how will we get them back? Occasionally a moth will still fly out of a flower bed when I water; this is fun to see. But not one centipede (thank goodness) this year; hardly any flies, and only one ladybug (maybe it will bring good luck). Where have all the bugs gone? (Surely the baking powder that I conscientiously pour down my kitchen sink drain isn't enough to keep all the centipedes away.)

I am sorry I missed July, but will now make the most of what is left of August. And I look forward to the uniquely autumnal pansies and cabbages, which are certainly coming soon....