Bella Rum

Heart T Har Har

Heart T Har Har

My heart is out of sinus rhythm. It’s been out for awhile. I wonder if all that vomiting and diarrhea had anything to do with it? It put a lot of stress on my body. My blood pressure and heart rate are very low – too low. I called my doctor, and he reduced my blood pressure medication by half. If my pressure goes up, he can increase my anti-arrhythmic medication to attempt to get my heart back in sinus rhythm.

I used to hear about fatigue, but I had no idea how debilitating it is. It changes everything. Over this past year, I’ve become very weak. I can only walk a short distance before I’m overcome with breathlessness, lightheadedness and weakness. It’s time to try something new. I’ve decided to get the ablation. So that’s that. First, I have to get this other stuff straight. I hate when my body doesn’t work right. I used to take it for granted. Not anymore.

Blow it Away

H bought the most fantastic thing – a new leaf blower. It’s amazing. He blows the leaves off the patio in two minutes. It’s magic. Two minutes!!

Coolin’ It

Last year, shortly after we moved into this house, the central air broke… fatally. We couldn’t get another one installed immediately, and it was hot as blue blazes outside. We bought a window unit for survival  and to keep from killing each other. Did you know that some people get very mean when they’re overheated? That’s a scientific fact.

As far as I was concerned, it was money well spent. I swore to H that when the first hot week of summer 2016 arrived, I would put the window unit up for sale on Craigslist . I know. I’ve heard all the creepy things about Craigslist, but…  Anyway, by the time summer rolled around my well-meaning pledge was long forgotten. Then I heard the warnings about the “massive dome of high pressure” that’s hovering over 26 states and producing sweltering heat. The heat index will go as high as 115º. Then I remembered! Ah ha! What better time to sell an air conditioner? I posted an ad on Craigslist yesterday and got three offers immediately. One lucky fella who said he had the cash and could pick it up within the hour won the a/c lottery. He got a great deal on a practically new a/c, and we retrieved some of our money. I felt really glad for the guy.

A Jumble

IMG_1480The Baby Grand in her new dress


Monday was a beautiful and rare day for July. It was 81º and the humidity was only 55%. We ran a few errands. I opened the sunroof and turned the radio to the 60s channel on Sirius. I nearly recaptured that feeling of living on the Outer Banks in the summer of ’68. It’s remarkable how music can stir memories. I almost felt my bare feet on the hardwood floors, and the night ocean breeze wafting through the dance hall while the band blasted away. That summer was my first taste of parentless freedom, and was by far the best summer I ever lived before I became a bona fide adult.

Horsing Around

Now that July is here, the horses love to go into the small patch of woods on the right side of the back of our fence. I guess it’s cooler there. We can see their tails swaying and hear their gentle neighing occasionally.

There’s a new man in town.IMG_1515



Last week, another horse showed up. He has a blond mane and seems to be making friends nicely with the others.

Hanging Around

I no longer need to buy more hangers after cleaning out one rack in my closet. I was running low on clothes hangers, but now I have a lot of extras. I took a big bag of shirts to Good Will. I had less difficulty culling the smaller sizes than I usually do. I’ve moved from denial to reality. While I have and will continue to lose pounds, I will never be small enough to wear some of those smaller sizes. Onward to the pants rack.  It always feels so good to declutter.

Road Trip

We drove down to Williamsburg yesterday. We stopped at the outlets a new pair of cross training shoes and a couple of shirts for H. A teenager with a face that would stop your heart and long, beautiful, curly hair waited on us. She started talking about her “Grumps.” She said he told her lots of funny stories about his youth and his service in the Army. She boasted that he was still doing one-armed pull-ups at 80, and had fully restored a 64 Spitfire, and was now working on a vintage Jaguar. She said she hangs out with him in his garage to listen to his stories. I thought to myself, this guy really has the secret to life. How many old guys have  17-ish granddaughters who burn the ears of strangers talking about how cool their Grumps is. Staying active and interesting is the ticket. Also, I suspect he’s a pretty charming guy. An ounce of charisma is worth a pound of good looks.

The Fourth and More

Humidity: 90%

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since June 28. A lot has happened since then. I’ve adopted a new diet. It calls for reducing news consumption enough that you don’t run screaming, arms flailing, into traffic, but you still have a rough idea of what’s going on in the world. It’s called the filter diet.

What’s been happening around here?

The kids were here for the weekend. I had two new dresses for  Lilou, the four-years-old. One was pink & blue, the other red & white. The pink and blue dress was by far her favorite. She informed me at breakfast, “I will wear this dress everyday.” And so she did.

It was a terrific visit. They left on Monday afternoon. I woke on Tuesday morning knowing before I lifted my head off the pillow that something was wrong. I was so sick. So very sick. H went to look for the plastic bucket that I keep Lilou’s bath toys in. As the day unfolded, I bonded with it. From 6 am until 4 pm, my time was divided between that yellow bucket and the toilet, sometimes simultaneously. Strains of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive ran through my head. After 4 pm, I was able to keep down a bit of banana and a few ice chips.

Today I’m going over to my favorite farmer’s stand. Since we moved, it’s only five minutes away. I have a craving for clean food, probably prompted from being sick. I can only think about vegetables and fruits: new potatoes, tomatoes, squash, green beans, watermelon, etc. I try to go a couple of times a week so as not to get too much at one time. H want’s to make a vegetable tian. They are so good in the summer when local produce is available.

The second thing I want/wanted to do this week is clean out my closet. It’s been a little over a year since we moved in and it’s time. I also need to spiff up the drawers in the bathroom. So those are/were my little projects to accomplish this week. Is it already Thursday?  Well, maybe next week.

Hope you’re staying cool. I wish low humidity on you.

Quiet Weekend

I spent most of the weekend on the patio, reading. For the past few weeks, I’ve opened the backdoor every morning, always checking to see if the humidity has arrived. I cannot believe how beautiful June has been. July is lurking out there, just beyond where I can see it, but I can feel it. Like a menopausal woman trapped in a too-warm elevator, July is self-consciously moist and hot; it smothers every warm-blooded thing that lives and breathes. I once saw an actress interviewed. When asked why she did not take a coveted role in a  certain “big” movie, she said, “Because it was shot in Virginia in July.”  ‘Nuff said.

We have a lot of wildlife here. After we moved in last year, we kept an eye out for deer, but we never spotted any. A little over a week ago, H saw a doe and fawn on the other side of our fence. They wander by most nights around 8:15 p.m.

After seeing a couple of snakes (one practically knocking on the door), H bought some Snake B Gone. We’ve never used it, but it had good reviews. It comes in a container with a sprinkle top. He just sprinkled it along the fence line, making a barrier around the entire perimeter of the backyard. It smells like cloves and spices, and it isn’t harmful to animals or humans, but snakes hate it. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t work.

Oddly, we were buzzed by a small, single-engine plane around 6:00 last night. He kept circling the neighborhood. He flew over the treetops in our backyard, and was ridiculously close to the top of a pine tree  on the other side of the fence at the back corner of our property. It was a little unsettling, but I can’t help but wish the Grand Trio had been here. They would have thought it very cool, especially my grandson.

Other than that bit of excitement over the buzzing, it was a quiet weekend, but next weekend will be a little more exciting. The kids are coming. There will be cookouts with burgers and dogs and iced tea and water sliding to stay cool and A/C on tap. It will be July.

Meeting Neighbors and Trimming Shrubs

H is trimming shrubs outside the office window in the front yard. I can hear the hedge trimmer buzzing away as I write this post. He started early because the front gets the southern exposure. It’s like toasting under a broiler until the sun sneaks around the side of the house later in the afternoon. He wanted to do it today because it’s supposed to be in the nineties tomorrow. I guess summer is upon us.

I met another neighbor yesterday. This neighborhood, unfortunately, is  not terribly conducive to meeting people. I decided to take it upon myself. I’ve become a little stalk-ish. There’s a house at the entrance of the neighborhood that has a beautiful yard. For months, I’ve been waiting to catch its occupant in the yard so I could stop, jump out of my car and tackle her to the ground.

Yesterday was my chance. I was on the way home from grocery shopping. She was sitting on her front porch. I parked and walked up her driveway and introduced myself. I told her that I’d been waiting to see her outside so I could tell her how pretty her yard was. Her name is Sandy and we talked for awhile. I think she’s a little younger than I am – not much. She recently fell and broke six ribs on her right side and three on the other (do you have that many) and punctured a lung. She is still recovering and has hired someone to take care of her yard until she recovers. She’s accustomed to doing all the yard work. Her doctor told her it would take a year to fully recover. Holy cow! She said she would come to visit us. I told her I hoped she would. We’ll see. On to my next victim. I will meet them… one by one. Bitesize pieces.

Two little girls rang our doorbell yesterday. They wanted to know if we’d found a Food Lion bag on our doorstep. Their grandmother had left a bag of groceries on someone’s steps, but she couldn’t remember which house. It sounds like she was confused, and they were going door to door trying to retrieve her groceries.

OMG! I just checked H’s job on the shrubs. He annihilated a Nellie Stevens. I do mean annihilated. They grow like crazy, but I was shocked at how much he trimmed it.😮 He and I have a history of going round and round about that tree. I’m always telling him that he doesn’t trim it severely enough. Well, I guess he showed me. Nellie Stevens trees are monsters when it comes to regrowth. They’re nice looking, but I never can understand why builders plant them so close to houses. They’re a maintenance issue for homeowners. They grow two or three feet a year. You have to trim them frequently to keep them from getting out of control. I guess builders use them for instant curb appeal. He whacked about a third off the top and shaved the sides down so far you can seen the trunk. It’s good for it. I’ll take a pic in a few weeks and you’ll see the difference. Ha! It’s the one on the right… not that I needed to tell you.IMG_1441

H and I have more “discussions” about trimming shrubs and trees than anything else. A friend called once when H was limbing up a tree in our backyard in Maryland. She asked, “What are you doing?” I told her I was arguing with H about how much to limb up a tree. She said, “That’s what you argue about when you don’t have real things to argue about.” Ha. I guess she’s right. We’re pretty compatible.   We should be… after all this time.

The Storm


Everything Back to Normal

We survived a hellacious storm Thursday night: extreme winds, biblical rains and crazy lightning that made us feel like we were living in a tin can as it exploded around us. There was a lot of damage in our area and power outages. We didn’t get our power back until Friday afternoon. We pulled our Coleman stove out of storage and found the percolator. That stove comes in handy once in a while. For the price, it’s a good thing to have around when you need it.

I’ve learned that with access to only a few things, I can survive a power outage without biting off anyone’s head: coffee, smart phone for internet and audible books, a fan if it happens during hot and humid weather, and a light when it gets dark. The coffee is self-explanatory, the internet because of that feeling of isolation you get when something like this happens in your area, audible books to fend off boredom, a battery-operated fan because it can help with the misery of no A/C, and a light (especially in the winter when it gets dark at 5:00) so you can play cards or board games. We had a 500 Rummy competition. I don’t want to brag, but I won four out of five.:) I’m lousy at cards but usually lucky at 500 Rummy.

We don’t have a generator, but we’re finally thinking of getting one. I don’t mind most of the inconveniences. Well, that’ s not true. Who likes to be without power? The big deal is the fridge and freezer. I hate losing food. We didn’t lose much this time. The ice cream melted in the freezer in the garage, but the freezer part of the fridge in the kitchen only got up to 27º. My brother tried to make me take Dad’s generator when he died, but I didn’t want it. Maybe I should have. It would be nice just to keep the fridge and television going. I like to know what’s going on in the wake of a big storm.

As for damage, we fared well. There were some small limbs, lots of debris, but no damage to the house or property. Our trash can disappeared, but a neighbor brought it back. There was no time to prepare for this storm, absolutely none. The warning flashed on television and BAM, the storm was upon us.

Mother Nature is a mercurial dame.

Recent Goings On

We are loving our ceiling fans. We turned the A/C to a higher setting and just keep the fans going. The house has that airy, breezy feeling. It feels like we’re on vacation. The office is the only room without a fan. That’s because it used to be a dining room. At the moment, it has a chandelier, but not for long. As soon as we catch a rainy day, H is going to install the new fan.

His most recent project is the patio. He’s leveling it.  In the previous post, I wrote about how the roots from the tree that grows beside it (no one should plant a tree like that next to a patio) have made it look like a bridge after an earthquake: wavy, as if a giant came along and shook it out like a scatter rug. It’s a work in progress, but he’s having a lot of success. It’s a tailor-made project for him. He loves puzzles, and he’s built right (mentally) for tedious work. I would never have the patience.


We’re thinking about dying and sealing it after he finishes leveling it. I think it would spiff it up. We are big on fixing what we can… if we can. It saves a lot of money.

My son and his wife gave H a Fitbit last year for his birthday. Their steps are recorded on the Fitbit site where they can keep track of who’s ahead. My son challenged him to see who would get the most steps this weekend. H said, “The stinker must have a race this weekend.” My son runs and of course, he gets tons of steps when he has a race which gives him an advantage. H wanted to cut the grass on Friday, but waited until yesterday so his steps would count for the challenge. He also worked out yesterday. Today he is working on the patio, but he will still get steps because of the wrist action. They are so funny.

I’m off to the patio to drink my coffee and read my latest book: a good-twin-not-so-good-twin psychological concoction. Have a nice Sunday, you guys.

Morning in the Backyard

imageFrom June till September, the favorite topic of  conversation for Virginians is the humidity. As we walk to our mailboxes, we call to our neighbor about it, “Damned humidity is back.” We mention it to strangers in grocery stores, moan about it to friends on the phone, and we swear to anyone who will listen that it’s worse this year than it’s ever been. By late July, we are praying for a reprieve.

So when I opened the back door this morning and realized that last night’s humidity had dispersed along with last night’s rain, I unfolded a lawn chair that had managed to remain fairly dry under the soffit and planted myself right here. There’s a slight breeze and the birds are singing their hearts out in appreciation for this morning.

Life is uneventful at the moment. That’s pretty good for living, but not so much for writing. Writing loves eventful. We did have friends for a cookout on Tuesday. I haven’t had friends for dinner very often since we moved here. I usually do lunches. It’s easier. Besides, I have an early bedtime. 😌 But I did all the sides that morning, and H grilled the burgers and chicken kabobs. Not so bad.

We have a beautiful tree in the backyard at the edge of the patio. You can see the trunk of it on the left in the photo up there. Nothing fancy, it’s just a big old locust tree. I used to think of them as trash trees. They do drop a lot of debris in early spring. After that,it isn’t so bad. The branches have frond-like leaves that sway in the slightest breeze. When it rains, the droplets cling to them, and I feel like I’m living in a rain forest. It’s planted too close to the house and the patio. It causes mold on the roof and the roots have buckled the patio. When we first moved in, we thought we’d take it down, but H is a believer in living in a place for at least four seasons before making that kind of decision. Now I’ve fallen in love and can’t part with it. H pruned it away from the roof and threw some lime up there, and he believes he can improve the situation with the patio. I think he’s kind of looking forward to messing with it. You know how we love our house-love projects. So it looks like I get to keep it.

The Snake, The Storyteller and The Bummingherds

IMG_1394This guy was waiting on the steps when H opened the backdoor. He moseyed on down the steps and into the mulch. I know he’s harmless, but still startling. The grands would have gone crazy with excitement. They love such things.

What a busy day yesterday was. It started off with an echocardiogram. The lady who did it was an adroit storyteller, and she entertained me with a harrowing tale about an October sailing trip from Boston to Salem. No one likes to bare their old-lady breasts for a stranger, but the story was worth the minor annoyance. I do love a good story and a good storyteller.

After the Echo, we went to lunch and then to the nursery at Lowe’s. I bought a couple of hostas, Texas coral bells and a neat round table for the patio. They had some pretty expensive sets, but I got a reasonably priced one – as in the cheapest one they had. It’s black metal. If it ever needs it during my lifetime, I will spray-paint it in a New York minute with a can of black spray paint. I’m a wiz with that stuff. The Grand Trio will have a high old time eating out there.

We put the hummingbird feeder out, and they found it almost immediately. We sit out there in the evening and watch their tiny silhouettes in those moments as day fades to night and the sun slips below the horizon in its characteristically silent departure. It feels intimate and private. Even though I know millions have seen this tableau, it feels like a singular experience.

Life is good at the moment and I know it. It took me so long to learn that the trick is in the knowing of it – the recognizing.

Cornflower Blue, Honest and True

cornflowersYesterday made the top-ten in our neck of the woods. It was sweet in every way that a day could be sweet. A friend came for lunch. We spent the entire day outside on the patio drinking iced water or coffee, reminiscing, catching up on kids and talking car troubles. Except for the car troubles (her’s), it was a rare and unmarred day with puffy, white, fair-weather clouds hanging in a cornflower blue sky. They almost didn’t look real. Yesterday was only the sixth time we’ve seen the sun this month.

We repeat our stories now. She told me a story. She told me the same story an hour later. I don’t think I repeated any stories, but who knows?:) We took our blood pressures. LOL Her blood pressure is 114/78. She does not take blood pressure medication or any other medication. Zero medications!! Nothing!! She couldn’t tell me her cholesterol count, but her doctor says she doesn’t need meds for it. We are both young at heart, but she wins the prize for young in body.

She realized that her mother and her mother’s mother died at 72. Then I realized that my mother died at 53, and my sister was my age when she died, 66. I don’t know where those little tidbits came from. There were only those few minutes of dark talk, no dwelling. We laughed most of the day, but it is slightly disconcerting when things like that pop into your head unexpectedly.

FYI: The Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place this week in National Harbor, Maryland. Where did the “bee” in spelling bee originate?

By the late eighteenth century, bee had become commonly associated with the British dialect form, been or bean, referring to the joining of neighbors to work on a single activity to help a neighbor in need: sewing bee, quilting bee, etc. —

That’s all I have. Have a great hump day. It is Wednesday? Right?


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