Like most of the Southeast US we have been stuck in a rainy weather pattern for several weeks. We haven’t had rain every single day, but almost.   I hate to  complain because the alternative is drought and, heaven only knows, we’ve had plenty of that in the last few years.

Ginger, our ten-year old Beagle/Bassett mix, pants and pants during thunderstorms.  She hides under the desk or behind a chair — anywhere that she can find.  Annie, the young Terrier/Chow/Lab mix, will bark at each and every clap of thunder.  She chased the lightning flashes and barks at the thunder.  What pandemonium!  Bruce and I were exhausted dealing with the dogs on an almost daily basis.

I had seen the late night TV ads for the ThunderShirt, which claims to calm dogs from all that anxiety.  So I googled it.  Forty dollars??  Really?  For a dog shirt?  Come on. . . .

However, after weeks of storms, and all the drama, we got to the point where we’d probably pay more than that for some peace and quiet.  I ordered one.  We put it on Annie since she was the loud one.  It worked.  She was so relaxed she almost fell asleep wearing it!  We were amazed.  The only thing is to get it on her quickly as she hates to be “messed” with.  (Hence the muzzle at the vet’s office.)  But with two people and a handful of dog treats, we managed.  I don’t think she likes the ripping, tearing sound of the velcro if it has to be readjusted.

Old Ginger, on the other hand, now just rolls along.  She lets us put it on her since she is limp from nerves anyway.  So all is now well.  She is calm and Annie is silent.

Peace and quiet for us?  Priceless.



I know I talk about it all the time, but I LOVE having both an open deck and a screened porch.  There are just so many good vibes that come from both.  I don’t know why we even thought of moving.  There is a darned good reason why I’ve lived here for 29 years.  We absolutely can’t find anything we like better.

I have lots of pots of flowers on the deck where they are easy to water and care for.  The porch keeps the bugs at bay.  And the daybed?  Heavens!  Several years ago we had  a husband and wife team come to tile the area by the front door and in front of the fireplace.    The wife lit up when she saw the daybed on the porch.  “Oh, yeah, that’s where I’d be if I lived here.”  Well, she’d have to fight me for it.  In fact, if Mother were still alive and she were visiting we’d too have to arm wrestle for it.  But — being a good daughter I’d let her have it.  When I was in high school and we lived in Omaha, our house had a screened porch off the living room.  She had a chair, a table for her ash tray and book and coffee cup and a cot with a sleeping bag on it so she could even sleep out there if she wanted.  It also had a hanging porch swing. That’s where I liked to sit.  It was quite the cozy place and all hers.  Now I understand the feeling.

Corny, Yes

Yesterday I ate the best corn on the cob I have ever had.  

We bought it at Fresh Market, an upscale grocery.  With that we also had hamburgers mixed with gouda, also purchased at Fresh Market, grilled outside.  The burgers too were delicious and different. What a delight to sit on the deck with the grill and the dogs.  After a hard day of work, we had a wonderful dinner.  A great holiday. 

I hosted one of my two book clubs this week.  Because the weather was cooperative, I set the round table on the deck for five and the screened porch table for four.  Even though we were having a casual pot luck salad supper, I sat the tables with cloth tablecloths and cloth napkins, the good china and good silver and flowers in the center.  We’re all old enough to need a reminder of more genteel days in this world of deposable dinnerware.  With cold tea or lemonade or a glass of wine, we were soon chatting up a storm as only a bunch of women can do.  Two members brought their mothers who were sweet and charming.  A leisurely meal and good conversation brings out the best in all of us.

I mentioned that night that we were thinking of moving.*  The next day I got several emails from members who wrote glowing thank-yous about how nice it all was:  sitting and eating outdoors, the pots of flowers on the deck, the charm of a late spring evening.  I read them to  Bruce, the man who has our lower yard looking like a park, so the house on the hill looks down on that serene view.

The reason I’ve lived here for 29 years is that I’ve never been able to find a place I like better.    We have put a lot of time, energy and thought into this place and it really is an oasis.  I know that if we put it on the market and it sells in two weeks, I will cry like a baby.  Will anyone ever love it the way I have?

* See Bruce’s post at Red Clay and Sand

Our trip to New York City, via Amtrak, was fun and interesting and very tiring.  We did the usual touristy things: toured the harbor to see the the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, took bus tours and saw museums.  We did as much as we could in the six days we were there.  One museum a day is about all we could manage.  Bruce loved the Museum of Natural History so he could see the dinosaurs and “Lucy”.  Poor Lucy only had about 10 bones left.  We expected more since the magazines always show a “reconstructed” version of Lucy.  I guess the world is lucky to get that much, considering her age.

I love medieval art.  I always enjoyed teaching that time period in British Literature.  We explored one full gallery of the Metropolitan Museum where I would read every placard if time allowed.  Dear Bruce was patient with me and let me wander.

The subway was easy to ride. Snagging a taxi wasn’t quite so easy.  I just wish my body liked walking as much as my mind does. I took my cane with me which was helpful on uneven pavements.  The weather was cooperative.  Cool and breezy as one would expect in April.

The train was more comfortable than the last trip as we upgraded to business class which gave Bruce more room for his long legs.  We even had a steward for our car who pampered us on the ten hour trip.  He brought drinks and pillows and newspapers.  Nice.

Our friends’ studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights was in a comfortable neighborhood with lots of restaurants, a near-by grocery and easy access to a subway station.  To have a kitchenette was perfect at night for a quick supper and simple breakfast each morning.  We were quite comfortable.

Bruce and I are ready to go back again.  There’s still lots of museums to see.  Much more to taste.


I sure like my Kindle.  I inherited Bruce’s about two years ago.  On trips it is so handy, even trips to the doctor’s office (heaven knows, I’ve had plenty of those this past year).  Ordering a book and having it “delivered” in a matter of seconds is so convenient, I can barely contain my delight.  Wow.  Wish I had thought of that.

Well — in the world of electronic devices, my “old” Kindle was getting out-dated.  (What’s the time frame for that?  A few months?  I used to want to choke a person who would say, soon after I would buy a new computer, “You know that’s now obsolete?”  Justifiable homicide.)

We have so many books already, although we seem to weed through them often, we really don’t need more paper books.  Electronic versions sure are a quick solution.  Seldom do I re-read a book anymore.  There are too many new ones yet to read.   I love the bigger fonts; speed reading made super easy.  Easy on the eyes and the brain.

Too bad my new Kindle Paperwhite couldn’t be just as easy on the wallet.

Not a Sun-day

What to do on a cold, wet Sunday afternoon?  First, come home from church to a house filled with the smell of pot roast.  Eat roast with roasted carrots and potatoes.  I like mine smothered under catsup.  Butter a hot roll.  Sip cold tea with the meal.  Yes, that works.

My husband says that I get more good out of the Sunday edition of the newspaper than anyone he knows.  Years ago it was a treat.  Today it still is.  To curl up with the paper on a lazy afternoon is a delight.  Often I fall asleep.  That’s okay.  When I wake up, I simply pick up where I left off.  I don’t even have to rewind like I do with dvds.

When the spring pollen finally subsizes and the weather warms up, we’ll clean up the screened porch and then we’ll be set for a new season of Porch Zen.  Good vibes on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday . . . .