Accidents, and more.

My finger feels a bit better now, so I thought I’d drop a line.  I burned it earlier when I turned on the wrong burner and overheated a pan I’ve had for over 50 years.  It was a good pan, and now its charcoal.  I tried to move the pan while it was hot, with a heat pad, but one wayward finger touched it.  David carried the pan to the trash bin and I’m using a “new” pan I bought two years ago to make my Mom’s famous Tex-Mex chili for our big meal today.  I make the same amount mom did and I did when I had three kids at home, so we have plenty of leftovers.


Meanwhile, despite the rain and sleet and high winds, David recovered his desk top computer yesterday, so we are one step closer to loading TurboTax and proceeding with the federal income taxes. The remainder of the W-2 forms came in the mail today, the only outstanding pieces of paper we needed.  My job is to pull all the paperwork together.  The medical stuff alone is a huge pile.

I handle the bills and most of the paperwork these days, and this month I partially automated our electric bill.  This means I paid it online.  Next month the bill will arrive online.  My goal is to get all the bills automated and now, except for the newspapers, they mostly are.

Automation,  just one more thing to keep the old grey matter charged.


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 Above, David playing tennis with Uncle Clarence in Sheboygan WI, probably in the early 1990s.

Earlier I loaded the paper towels on our antiquated paper towel holder.  David can’t do that anymore because he can’t lift his right arm higher than his shoulder and the paper towel holder is under a cabinet. David’s shoulder is one more joint the surgeon says he cannot fix.

David says he’s going to play tennis again, and I don’t discourage him by being a nay-sayer.  He played tennis with the seniors group here in Arlington several times a week until he fell in the driveway and broke his hip when he was 78.


We finally managed to get the dogs to Alan, our dog groomer, yesterday, but I missed my turn with Nash.  Meanwhile, I look pretty scruffy.  Our cleaner, Ines doesn’t mind. She came Wednesday, the first time in several weeks.  She said they had moved houses, and she had much paper-work.  Don Jose’s English is not so good, and he cleaned the past few weeks with a couple of the girls who work for Ines, none of whom speak English. Don Jose is a sweet man, and he calls me ‘Miss Dianne,’ but I like it better when Ines comes.

David banged his hands again last night and the bruises are totally black today.  He says the trash can lid fell on him.  We have the wheelie bins that sail away if the lid is raised in a high wind and he was trying to hang on.  Everywhere you look danger lurks for the senior.

January is the longest month


IMG_0422Friends in new York are sending me all sorts of snow photos.  We don’t have as much snow here being on the south side of the big winter storm.  You know things are tough when the meteorologists begin naming winter storms.

Very little white stuff here, but I’ve been holed up nevertheless, with books galore and buckets of hot tea. Yesterday, I finished my Ann Cleeves mystery Blue Lightning about Jimmy Perez and a murderous group of English bird watchers (Twitchers) in the Shetlands, then moved on to a book I had purchased months ago by Stephen Oppenheimer, Origins of the British.

Origins is wonderful book which feeds my long interest in this topic,  First he explores what the Greek scholars and other classical writers had to say about the Celts or Keltoi, then he includes sections covering the latest news about the mythic Celts from linguistics, genealogy, and archeology.

The thesis of this book…the early English (inhabitants of the ‘sceptered isle’ who repopulated the eastern and southern sides of the island following the end of the last ice age, most probably of Germanic and Scandinavian origin, the Belgae, to name but one tribe, intermixed with the later arrivals (Saxons)….or so says the genetic record.  In other words, the Saxons when they arrived did not wipe out the ‘natives’ (no ethnic cleansing here), as some have writers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries thought. The western side of the island as well as Ireland and Scotland, up to and including the outer islands like the Shetlands, was probably repopulated after the last ice age by tribes from southern France and northern Spain, loosely known as “Celts.”

Wonderful stuff for nerds like me.


When I made Pad Thai last week, I set the noodles on fire.  I didn’t mean to, but I am a novice at this cooking business, and David brought home the wrong noodles from our local grocery store, all dry and crunchy… and ready for incineration.  When I was trying to put the noodles in the boiling water, they broke up in my hands and fell on the burner blazing.

On a hunch, I asked David to ask one of the helpers at Trader Joe to assist him and get noodles for Pad Thai.  He did, she did, and now I have the ‘right’ noodles.  No more kitchen blazes for me. They always have the answer at TJ.


Lately, David has been taking a great interest in the outdoor birds. They recognize him in his red hat, and as soon as he has filled the feeders they descend and feast. There are so many things he can’t do anymore, I am happy to see him enjoy this new interest. He’s even beginning to tell them apart. Well at least he says, “the red bird and those brown birds.”

Every morning during breakfast, I watch the suet feeder and usually see a pair of Downey Woodpeckers and a pair of Carolina Wrens feed. Sometimes I see the White breasted Nut Hatch, and the Song sparrows.  Great fun.

Male Cardinal

Male Cardinal – Wiki


Italian Bean Soup

Italian Bean Soup

On this cold blustery day, I have several tantalizing choices about what to do with my time. When the weather outside is miserable, its soup time, and today I’m making an Italian bean soup for our lunch. I don’t usually post photos of what I fix for our lunch (we eat our big meal at breakfast or in the middle of the day), but this soup is so pretty, I couldn’t resist.

Yesterday,  I made my first Pad Tai, which actually looked like the photo in the newspaper, and amazingly tasted good. However, we ate it before I remembered to take a photo. Slowly, slowly, I am adding Asian style cookery to my repertoire.

So many spices and so many herbs and vegetables untried by me.  I absolutely love spices.  Mom used to give me her expired spice bottles, and I used them in the mud pies, I ‘baked’ in my playhouse.

Did I ever tell you about the playhouse Dad built for me and my sister?  One of the benefits of being the lumber broker, which he eventually became, was Dad always had piles of lumber from somewhere. He brought home planks and planks of the stuff.

Dad was quite the carpenter and made many items of furniture for our home. At the first house they owned, he turned a side porch into a dining area off our kitchen, and paneled the interior walls with solid pine.  At the second and last house they bought, he restored the oak flooring in the old *Antebellum* house, reconstructed the bathrooms, and repaired the double fireplace and rooms throughout the house.  I was his helper until I left home at barely 17.

Over the years and the many moves our family made, he used some of the rougher lumber to build several playhouses, the last one at the first house they owned, had running water. He also constructed a teeter-totter/merry-go-round, and a swing set with two swings, and a trapeze he made from wood blocks, pipe and chains.  With every move he disassembled the “playground’ equipment and then set it up set it up at next house, along with fencing to keep us kids and our dogs contained when we were younger.  At one point, we took some of his lumber stash and built a tree fort in the woods behind our house.

Michael and me with Grandpa Schmidley, 1950

Me with Thumper, Garandpa S. and Mike. The outdoor rabbit hutches Dad built are behind us.

I don’t know how I got here.  I was writing about soup, but I am easily distracted, as you see.

Oh yes choices.  I can read the Anne Cleeves mystery I am enjoying, a nice reading break having finished the 600-page Empire of Cotton, or I can crochet, or I can write a post. As you see, I am doing the latter.  I also have work on my massive tree and several puzzles calling to me.  All selfish enterprises no doubt, but what the hey, that’s what being older and past your sell-buy date is about.  After a lifetime of ‘doing for others, it’s time for some self-indulgence.

 I check periodically to see if I am feeling guilty.  No, not yet.

*Antebellum*  Latin for “Before the War.”  Although this was after WWII, in the South this expression meant before the ‘War Between the States.’