Friday Fragments

img064 copyToday, I cancelled the iPhoto class I scheduled at the local Apple store this afternoon.  When the weather improves a bit, I will reschedule the class.  Meanwhile, I am learning via trial and error how to use iPhoto, which employs Photoshop elements.

Above a photo of my back garden in the mid 80s.  Much has changed since those heady days when I experienced a great deal of beginner’s luck. The garden today is quite shady during the summer months, leading me to make many changes to the plantings.  And we enclosed the patio to keep mosquitoes away.

Occasionally, I pull up photos of the old days in my garden when I did everything myself, although David helped by building structures, such as the garden shed, and several vine trellises.  One of these days, I will scan some of the photos in my albums.  The colors are better because we were still using film cameras, and this photo I took with an inexpensive camera.

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Although the sun came out and the snow on the brick walks is melting, I’ve been in a bad humor today.  I am so tired of winter.  I’m also tired of writing and reading about winter.  Time was we would get out of here in the winter for a break, but the thought of sleeping badly in a strange bed is unappealing for David.

Last week, I saw a woman carrying a sleeping child up the road.  He was sound asleep, his free arm swinging with each footstep she took.  I have vague memories of being carried sleeping, or half asleep as a child.  I was so small, I fit into the shelf under the back window of the big old Packard Dad drove.

These days, I am pleasantly surprised when I sleep eight hours.  For a long time, I have not slept well most nights.  Something wakes me every night.  David says its a CIA plane flying over our house.  I think he made that up, but he keeps a perfectly straight face when he says it.  I read in the Post that patrol planes still fly over our area each night.  We also can all hear the commuter planes take off at Reagan National Airport early each morning during the week. I’ve learned to distinguish the sounds of different planes.

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My neighbor Helene called last night.  She said her water bill this month was outrageous.  She lives alone, travels all the time and said her quarterly bill never varied until now, when it more than doubled.  I relayed my tale of woe with the water bill and wished her luck with the county. The county has installed “smart” meters that automatically read your water usage (daily) and “don’t make mistakes,” according to the bureaucrats.  Excuse me, how do they know they don’t make mistakes? Well I won’t go there, but welcome to the brave new world of automated tracking.

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Cathy cancelled the Valentine Party she was to have tomorrow.  She says “The boys don’t have a four-wheel drive, so they can’t get here.”  I think they are imagining things are worse than they really are, but Kathy says it’s going to snow again tomorrow. Goodness, Kathy is from Boston, Isaiah from NYC and Dunstan from Quebec, they should be tougher than this.  Perhaps they misread the local news?

David took some navel oranges (express shipped to our house from Florida) over to Kathy and she loved them. This will prevent Scurvy I tell her.  When I was a kid, Scurvy, beriberi and pellagra plagued the South. All three result from a vitamin deficiency.  Things are better today as we have few cases of any of these problems in the US.

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Wendy tells me fourth graders in California study the Spanish missions.  Grandson Sean will write his history paper on one of the northern missions, near her Dad’s house, so she is taking the boys to visit this weekend.  I requested she take me to a mission when I next visit.  I’ve visited some of the missions when I lived there, but it was so long ago, and I have a better camera today.  Meanwhile, I’m going to visit a green place this Sunday.

28 thoughts on “Friday Fragments

  1. You really have a wonderful size for a garden, Dianne. Just wanted to drop a note here since I don’t have your email. I’ve been somewhat scarce in visiting because I’ve been running around frazzled preparing for a trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and then Bangladesh to visit our son. Art and I will be gone for a time, but I’m keeping it secret as I always do since I’m always worried about burglars, etc. I’ve been working on posts that are now scheduled for the time we’re on the road. Here’s hoping all goes well. Take care. Stay well.

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  2. Sounds like you’ll be making a trip to California? Let me know if you get anywhere near the central coast, all the way up to San Francisco, or even Sacramento. I’d love to try to meet up. As far as missions go, our nearest is San Juan Bautista. It’s a great day trip for us or with my girlfriends. Lovely tiny town. The movie Vertigo with Jimmy Stewart was filmed there.

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    • Sounds wonderful. Yes, I am traveling to San Diego in October, but you are pretty far away I think. I flew through San Francisco two years ago, and have been there many times to visit, for work, or travel on somewhere else. I would eventually like to see all the missions. They are wonderful. meanwhile, I will have to content myself with reading about them.

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  3. I hope you get a break in the weather soon…. or can talk David into a short getaway. Winter gets very long. It must help to look back on spring memories, your garden is/was lovely!

    Several of the nice RV resorts where we used to stay in Arizona and California were near AF Bases , so we got used to being under the flight plans. One old guy told us it made him happy to hear those plane noises, because he knew he was protected! My husband always joked about the ‘black helicopters’ checking up on us.

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  4. I’m back to answer your question, the program I use is very similar to photoshop but mine is Paint Shop Pro. The only reason I use this one is that I joined a couple of graphic sites with several tutorials and they were all used in Paint Shop Pro. Hope your day is going well Dianne. Looks like it is going to be a little warmer next week 🙂

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  5. I am also tired of this long winter. Though I know it is not as bad as yours. I would LOVE to get 8 hours straight sleep. Hasn’t happened since I gave birth 34 years ago. I’ve stopped hoping. Today the sun is out and so we will venture out to our local nature center in a few minutes. Hope you have a nice weekend!

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  6. Visited the two missions you mention when I lived there, but it was so long ago I want to see them again. Perhaps you can take me to the San Diego mission and she will take me to those near her. Love those missions. Love San Diego. Love CA.

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  7. And where are you finding green?
    We can do a drive by of the Mission de Alcala San Diego if you want while you are here. My Grandmother wrote a ponderously titled, “A Sketchbook Along the Old Mission Trail.” Little information but nice sketches. San Juan Capistrano is the most interesting of the local missions. Have her take you to that one. Loved that garden.

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      • I lived in California many years ago … 1956 and 7 to be exact. I worked at KEY TV but the station was sold and the new owner brought in all his own people so I headed to New York City and never went West again, except to visit. My move to NC was from upstate New York when my husband got work here.

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  8. I was interested to read about the scurvy, etc. That and rickets were common in deprived areas of Britain when my parents were young. I was surprised to read it was common in the US, especially the south, where fruit must be grown quite easily.

    I read that these things are making a comeback in Britain, because fast food makes diets so poor. Shameful, when good food is so easily available. My boys still enjoy a piece of fruit with their breakfast (if Mummy prepares it 🙂 )

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    • Yes, those illnesses caused by poor diet are still with us. As for fruit in the South, you have to eat it! Pellagra is a vitamin B deficiency…I think. Rickets associated with vitamin D. The white rice folks preferred was polished and the vitamin B destroyed. Milk products were in short supply for a long time. My parents bought a cow so we had milk.

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  9. News here yesterday showed harrowing scenes of snow snow and more snow in your area – here’s hoping it does improve soon.
    Smart meters for electricity have arrived here also – amid protests and people standing in driveways not letting the installers onto their properties! The funny thing is they are installed in our area but we don’t have a relay tower near us so the little man still has to walk the streets each quarter taking a reading at each persons meter box. Nothing yet for town gas or water.
    Cathy

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  10. I loved the missions in California. We visited the one in San Diego and were not only enthralled by the beautiful architecture, but the gardens surrounding them. Very interesting about those deficiencies plaguing the south in your childhood, not so long ago really. I always remember learning about limes being given to sailors in the old days, to prevent the sailors from getting scurvy, and that’s why the Brits were called Limeys. This has been a lovely read Dianne.

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  11. Typhoid fever was a fear among my mom and her siblings. At the beginning of each summer in my younger childhood years, my mother would take me and a bunch of neighborhood kids to the local health department for typhoid shots. The test of bravery was to face the needle without crying. It was a rite we all chose to endure because our parents did not allow us to go swimming until we had THE SHOT.

    I don’t remember ever hearing of a case of typhoid in our area, and by summer of the 7th grade, maybe earlier, the trips to the health department had ended.

    Loved your garden. Smart meters are taking hold here, too.

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  12. My water bill is around $177 per month, but very little is due to actual water usage. Most of it is due to the sewer charges. That is a nice garden you had back then. Though we live 10 minutes from the airport, we never hear the jets coming and going. However, we do hear medical helicopters flying over our home on their way to Tripler Hospital, but that’s infrequent. Count your blessings; life could be a lot worse.

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    • We hear the Medivac helicopters ferrying people from road accidents on I95, White House helicopters, military helicopters, private planes, lots of local traffic. We lived next to Hickam and Pearl when we lived in Hawaii, and heard the planes day and night during the Vietnam War. Very noisy!

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