Autumn Along The Hudson

largeHudson River Photo by Jim Robertson

Autumn Along the Hudson

Come out of town with me
And see what is always there to see
Mountains covered with trees
But, add color!

The air is crisp, the breeze fragrant
We climb the twisted bends, the crunch of leaves beneath our feet
Background music for what lies ahead.

A parting of trees, then pasture . . . a view of the Hudson
Midnight blue water framed in yellow, orange, and red
Autumn on the river

Add the silence of Nature
Warmth of the sun
Just a few clouds over head
Delight in how it soothes one senses

Come out of town with me
And see what is always there to see, the mountains
But, add color!

I have been out of town, visiting family and friends in New York and New Jersey and wrote this poem upon returning. Other than being patted-down at Newark airport for having nitrates on my hands, the trip was perfect. Security asked if I toted guns. I do not, but did pet my friends hunting dog, Louie. That is the closest explanation I could find to testing positive for a bomb residue, and turns out Louie’s owner hunts exclusively with bow and arrow; go figure.

The trip began at the Emerson Spa and Resort near Woodstock. The weather was cool and we slept with the windows open, under down comforters, to the sound of a babbling brook.

Hyde Park was our next destination. We lunched at the Culinary Institute and toured Eleanor Roosevelt’s cabin, Val-Kill, as well as the home of Thomas Cole and the home (Olana) of Frederic Church, his student.

We stayed at the Beekman Hotel in Rhinebeck and managed to tour Wilderstein, the home of FDR’s friend Daisy before leaving. After watching, the recent PBS special on the Roosevelt’s being in the area was an ideal culmination of events.

“Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me.”
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
                                                                                          . . . just saying

 

Vampire Drain

            thAging & Attitude

  It is 6AM, birds fill the air with singsong conversation while I sip coffee, and think about vampire drain. I could be sleeping; however, my continuous glucose monitor woke me.

   What is a continuous glucose monitor?

   It is a device I wear to inform me of my blood glucose level. I have been diabetic for thirty plus years. When my BG level slips dangerously low, a beep alerts me and continues to beep until I get up and do something about it.

   What is vampire drain?

   Vampire drain is my latest pet peeve. Merging, plastic bags, doubling plastic bags, the use of filler words by media, and weathermen who shout about precipitation are other pet peeves.

   Periodically, I rant that traffic jams could be lessened if people knew how to merge. Frown at check-out clerks, who ignore my request for no plastic, (I bring cloth) and the clerk proceeds to put fish, already wrapped in plastic and white paper; in double plastic, with the speed of lightning. I can be sarcastic about professional television media, who use filler words (duh, um, ah, etc.), and weathermen who tell us it is going to rain with such alarm I consider building an ark.

   There are two types of vampire drain; electrical is the one I find infuriating. The other is an emotional drain from high maintenance friends, and I have gotten rid them.

   Vampire drain is when a cell phone or laptop charger is left plugged into a wall outlet but not connected to a phone or laptop, very likely using energy and draining your pocketbook unnecessarily. Standby power is also considered a form of vampire drain because it requires energy unknowingly. The practice might be defended by saying, “It’s pennies, only one cell charger, what difference can that make?” Well multiply that around the world and it makes a difference.

   Now that I am thinking about it,  storage of emails is another waste of energy. Emails are stored on a hard drive and electricity cools and keeps the hard drive running twenty-four seven. Someone once shared they had never deleted a single email, and had four thousand messages stored. I refrained from screaming since they were clueless.

   There are many ways to reduce vampire drain, but it does not need to be complicated. Simply unplug  a device once it is fully charged, and all chargers not in use, and while you are at it delete all old emails. It will save you some money and help the world go green.

. . . . just saying

 

Morning Walk

Morning Walk

Morning Walk April 24, 2014 The morning air is cool in Florida. As May unfolds the heat intensifies, and the humidity, accompanied by a sultriness that is hard to forget, descends. But for now, I enjoy early walks bemused by … Continue reading

U is for Ubiquitous

 New Thoughts on Words

Fairytale-LakeFairytale Lake Adam Dobrovits

airytale Lake

“Fairytale Therapy” – Budapest, Hungary – Adam Dobrovits – Featured Photographer

– See more at: http://www.photobotos.com/fairytale-lake-adam-dobrovits/#sthash.UBvxEx2o.dpuf

airytale Lake

“Fairytale Therapy” – Budapest, Hungary – Adam Dobrovits – Featured Photographer

– See more at: http://www.photobotos.com/fairytale-lake-adam-dobrovits/#sthash.UBvxEx2o.dpuf

Aging & Attitude

This summer our family vacationed at Paulinskill Lake in Sussex county, New Jersey. It is a beautiful area in northern New Jersey and the lake was serene. The first day my nine-year old granddaughter, Alexandria, let out a huge adult sigh while floating and said, “It’s so quiet.” Truly, we could breathe in the silence and relax. There was a fair share of noise makers, landscapers with lawn mowers and weed whackers, utility and tree removal trucks during the day, but the mornings were special. I would sit and savor the sounds of silence. The loved song, by Simon and Garfunkel, played in my head throughout the week. Their song touted the political outcome and moral consequences of keeping quiet, my poem below touches on the ubiquitous nature of silence.

Good Morning Lake

Silence is ubiquitous, everywhere

Stillness surrounds you

A quiet elixir slips inside your soul

The continuous calm reflected on the mirrored water

The sounds of silence familiar yet unknown

With casual notification, early sun light signals day has begun

A Mourning Dove begins the celebration with a cooooooooo

Several tweets and chirps beneath branches join the conversation

And the winds pause

The silence is pervasive not void

Ubiquitous, filled with hope and joy

….just saying

Soap That Grows On Trees

Aging & Attitude

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    Have you heard of soap nuts? I had not until Sarah Meyer drew my attention at the Farmer’s Market. Sarah, a licensed Massage Therapist, is giving back to the environment by promoting the cleaning product, and quite a salesperson.

Her tag line, the soap that grows on trees, grabs you.

It conjured up a strong visual image of Floridians shaking their native Sapindus Marginatus tree before doing laundry. Needless to say, I bought a package of soap nuts for $7.25 that Sarah placed in a brown environmentally friendly bag, and included a sheet of  “recipes for cleaning…your laundry, face, car, hair, baby, dog or cat…if you dare”.

I left excited to brew my batch of liquid concentrate.

Soap nuts are actually not nuts. They are berries that contain saponin, a natural soap that is hypoallergenic and eco-friendly. The trees grow right here in the USA in the states of Florida and South Carolina and in India and Nepal.

Sara recommends using three tablespoons of soap tree concentrate per wash load.  The three bags of soap nuts will produce enough liquid concentrate for forty-five washes at a coast of fifteen cents a load.

I Googled soap nuts looking for more information and found Greener Living, a company that pitched their product on the Canadian television show Dragon’s Den and consequently picked by Brett Wilson.

Greener Living sells a 32 oz liquid detergent for $16.99 that washes sixty-four loads, a mere twenty-six cents a load. Add the shipping, $7.49, and the cost rises to forty cents per load. There were some special offers and orders $99.00 or more, ship free.

Sara’s soap nuts are cheaper but the boiled liquid should be refrigerated and used in ten days. Liquid can be frozen and I thought about buying an ice cube tray, guessing one or two cubes equal to three tablespoons.

I did a large white wash using three tablespoons of my new brew, and pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness and fresh scent. The nuts and liquid do have a slight cider vinegar smell.

Thank you Sarah Meyer!

                                                                                 ….just saying

To order call Sarah 352-422-3901             

Her email: yourhealingjourney@tampabay.rr.com

Welcome to My Beeping World

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Photograph by Kyle Merriman, National Geographic

Aging & Attitude

   Welcome to my beeping bleeping world where everything beeps, rings or vibrates. It is a typical sunny day in Florida, the sky is clear, the clouds pure white. The select button on our Mr. Coffee, is green. Fresh brewed coffee will be ready in a few minutes. Although the brewing sounds like a choo-choo train speeding into the station before screeching to a stop, Mr. Coffee will beep four times to wake me  from a coma and remind me, I want caffeine. In the mean time, I open the refrigerator and ponder what to eat for breakfast; soy yogurt and rye toast or maybe… pumpernickel bread, perhaps egg white French toast or  two suicidal eggs over easy (430mg cholesterol).

My thoughts are interrupted by the refrigerator alarm, four consecutive beeps, notifying me, like I do not know, the door is open. Why the alarm, I am retired, and deciding what to have for breakfast.

Simultaneously, Mr. Coffee beeps to signal the coffee is ready. I grab the half-and-half and close the door. The pot sputters, spits and spills but the coffee is not really ready. There is time to kill.

I open the freezer, grab chicken for dinner and use the time before beeps to rearrange the veggie burgers and throw out a Carvel cone experiencing frost bite.

Oatmeal  seems a better choice for breakfast than the death wish eggs, and confident, I can outsmart the deafening microwave notification system by hitting cancel with five seconds left on the time pad, mix up a bowl.

Life is good. I get dressed and skip my way to the grocery store wearing a hooded sweatshirt as several dairy and frozen food items are on my list.

In the produce aisle among the melon, cucumbers, and squash is an electric cart shopper, a man, handling tomatoes: cherry, plum, beefsteak; comparing firmness and price, travelling in reverse. He is having difficulty making up his mind and a triple beep loud enough to reach Mars sounds every time he backs up. We have already said “Good Morning,” when he parked, not in a handicapped space, and walked into the store. Maybe the trip used all his stamina because he cannot stand to squeeze a tomato.

I toss a pre-weighed plastic bag of fresh green beans, three times the amount I need in the cart and sprint through the dairy aisle before escaping to the warmth in my car.

The car’s automatic beeps indicating; a seat belt needs fastening, the key is still in the ignition, or lights have been left on; are easy to ignore but not the variety of long, medium, and short signals from my Medtronic insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that change to vibrate if not responded to and yes wake me from sleep.  Checking the alarm message is equivalent to texting while driving. It is lunch time, so I find a Panera .  After placing my order, I am handed a beeper device that will, blink and vibrate when the food is ready. I substitute as waitress.

The restaurant is noisy and includes banging sounds from the kitchen. I find a seat in a heightened state of awareness, and wonder, will I be searching my blouse for my concealed pump when really my lunch is ready.

                                                                                        …just saying

Beeping Household Items

  • Alarm clock
  • Humidifier
  • Electric toothbrush (after every minute brushing)
  • Telephone handsets
  • Clock radi0
  • Computers
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Digital cameras
  • Fax machine
  • Printers
  • Stud finder
  • 2 cellphones
  • Security alarm
  • Fire Alarm

Phone Trash

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 Aging & Attitude

   Remember being a nine-year old and selecting a number from the telephone book; dialing the number and addressing the party by name, Mr. or Mrs. Smith, to ask; “Is your refrigerator running?” When the reply was “Yes,” I delivered the gem of a retort, “Well, you better go catch it,” and hung up the phone doubled over in laughter with a room full of my closest friends.

That was summer fun in 1957. That and playing Gin Rummy under a weeping willow tree or collecting discarded cigarette butts from the gutter to smoke after straightening them out.

Phone trash became more sophisticated in 1962. We lived in Hensonville, N.Y. and had a party line. Our number was two digit, eight -seven; an operator much like Lillian Tomlin on Laugh-In connected you to the party to whom you spoke. A telephone hullabaloo erupted when my boyfriend, Ronnie King, wrote my brother’s girlfriend, Lillian St. Claire, a hand written letter, saying he would give her a ring when he came upstate for the summer. He stuffed the letter in an envelope and glued a three-cent stamp in the right hand corner. Ron meant he would call her on the telephone but Lillian, a drama queen, used the line out of context to set the Windham Ashland Jewett High School reeling and all party lines smoking.

Today phone trash is real a dilemma I experienced when all four phones in our home displayed the prompt, still connecting. Since the batteries had recently been replaced, I gave it time, and waited until 10:30 PM to contact the Bright House customer service line.  A recorded message said, “Most problems can be corrected by pushing the reset button on the “Box.”  Crawling under a desk equipped with a flashlight and cake tester to reset did not work, and consequently used my cell telephone to speak with a live person.

An hour conversation determined an on-site visit is needed and someone would be out between three and five pm the next day. I had inadvertently reset the router box and now did not have wireless internet service as well. It is now after midnight.

Promptly at three PM, the doorbell rang and to make a long story short, after testing all equipment the technician determined I needed new phones. It was likely the power pack was faulty and more unlikely I would be able to buy one. I had to go shopping.

A day and a half later, we had land line service. I am still working on the internet.

Here is the dilemma, what to do with the four telephones, four new batteries, one answering device, three phone docks and one power pack that might possible work.

  • Donate to  Goodwill
  • Sell on Craigslist
  • Convince my neighbor she needs them for her grandkids to play house.
  • Save the four batteries, (although they do not fit my new phones someone I know might have phones they do).
  • Throw everything in the garbage and pray Zero Waste blogger, Jen, does not haunt my dreams.
  • None of the above and have a suggestion to leave in comment box                                                                                                                                                                                   ….just saying

A Morning Walk On The Beach

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Aging & Attitude

   The sound, faint in the distance, gathers intensity, as I walk closer. I take my shoes off, and listen to the crescendo, an orchestra’s percussion section; a drum roll of rapidly boiling water rising above a pot edge with white peaks cascading down the side.  I inhale the salty sea air and watch cotton ball clouds hug the horizon as I walk.

The waves have an agenda, moving in shifts, and as the percussion section works its wonder toward the shore, the horns step in, and trumpets whip the water into peaks of sweet cream. Violins and harps join the frolic near the shoreline and linger as the residue changes to beer foam.

I pickup my pace, let the water tickle my toes and remove my hat because the sun is hiding behind a group of clouds. The waves roll back and reveal a pink coquina rock naturally shaped like an alligator, with a twisted tail, protruding neck, and eyes bulged for a better view. The rock earns a lingered look.

Today the sand is speckled with small sea shells scattered above the high tide line like bathers on a popular beach.

The birds do their rapid two-step to imagined music in the air.

A single crane maintains an elegant stance, ready to do a ballerina dance as I leave the beach wishing I had a camera and reduced to words.

                                                                             …. Just Saying

Tell Me What Rain Smells Like

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Photo by Nikx

The Smell of Rain

Aging & Attitude

Steel metal colored clouds consume the sky and travel my way. The sun disappears behind them, and  the sky turns dark.

Lightning cracks the sky and the sound pierces my ears.

The rain falls heavily, straight down and creates a blur, like Niagara Falls, a sheet of rain cascades off the roof gutters and I recall  standing on “The Maid of the Mist” weathering the streams of water surrounded by rock.

The pinging rain is musical and comforting.

Floridians call it “big rain,” and pull to the side of the road the visibility is so poor.  It is not a monsoon, a season of precipitation, although the rain in April and May seem endless.

This daytime rain smells sweet.

A smell so fragile I inhale deeply to guess its fragrance. It is clean and crisp like mountain air but not strong. It is not vanilla, nor any other spice and less subtle than an herb.

Childhood memories; searching for a four-leaf clover, cartwheels, and skipping home to snack on Wonder bread, buttered and sugared, permeate my mind.

Coolness surrounds my shoulders and I close my eyes to relish the moment and the smell of rain, but cannot capture words.

What do you think rain smells like?

Stick Out Your Tongue for Rainwater

English: drinking water

Image via Wikipedia

  Aging & Attitude

Remember sticking out your tongue to capture rainwater after a baloney sandwich, if a glass of Kool-Aid was not available. The strong visual enters my mind reading an article in our local paper, The News Journal, by Tom Knox. The headline, “Ormond Beach start-up hopes to tap bottled rainwater market,” hints of an entrepreneurial spirit enhanced by a Made in the USA theme and intrigues me.

Florida has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and needs to create jobs. Larry Curran, the retired accountant written about in the article, likely shares my view that retirement is highly overrated. Larry is 64 years old and opening a bottled-rainwater plant.

I keep reading.

Curran concerned about manufacturing plants polluting groundwater near his neighborhood, began using rainwater for swimming to showering and eventually drinking water. He shared 5-gallon buckets with his neighbors and developed a bottled rainwater business plan after researching collection on-line. His company, Choose Rain, sells a 16 oz bottled rainwater for $1.15 locally at Love Whole Foods, Peggy’s Whole Foods and Michael’s Health Food. Curran is in the process of moving into new headquarters and seeks additional funding, so consequently buys bottled rainwater for his label, Choose Rain, from Texas Rain.

I purchased several bottles at Love Whole Foods in Ormond Beach. The taste is different; subtle, sweet, almost tasteless, like water, before we started taking out and putting stuff in.

A message on the bottles reads, “When water evaporates, the tiny drops mingle in the clouds, like nature’s spa in the sky. There they soak up the sun’s purifying UV light, get zapped by the lightning’s ozone, and then all nice and clean head back to earth.  At our Welcome Station we catch the rain before it hits anything nasty on the ground.”  And continues to explain nature’s process is replicated here on earth before put it in a biodegradable bottle.

Larry can be contacted at Larry@chooserain.com.

Texas Rain has a plant in Smithville Texas.  “We believe it’s the largest fixed capture rainwater collection site in the world,” says David Schraub, Founder, President, CEO, and self identified “mad Scientist,” and environmentalist with additional ideas about solar energy. You can capture the true scope of the company in this video http://www.kxan.com/dpp/living_green/drink-rainwater-to-boost-solar-power . What they do is impressive.

However TankTown, the company that bottles Cloud Juice, in Dripping Springs, Texas, has been collecting rainwater longer, since 1994. You got to love the perspective; that all water is rainwater at some point, so why not capture it before it goes into the ground and is subject to pollutants.

Richard Heinichen, Founder, says, “There is nothing in rainwater. It is naturally soft and made safe for drinking easily and without chemicals.”

Who knew?

Heinichen claims a few firsts for the industry and that “water snobs say they taste a difference. You can order a case of Cloud Juice (16 oz. bottles) online for $11.50, about fifty cents a bottle.

Ordering rainwater is probably the way to go, the cost of a Tank Town home collection system for four people is between $10,000 and 15,000 dollars. You can purchase his book, “Rainwater Collection for the Mechanically Challenged for $15.00 and attempt the work yourself.  I like this man’s humor.

It is encouraging to learn we have water alternatives. Imagine if towns built rainwater plants powered by solar energy.

I am thinking differently about rainwater, how about you?

                                                                              . . . Just Saying