Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Weather

What We’re Reading Now

H is a doer of the highest order. He always has something he needs to do, something he wants to do, and something he has to do this very minute. He keeps a list, and he attempts to works the list, often getting sidetracked by something else he realizes he wants to do while on his way to handle the original task he wanted to do. He’s the perfect person for retirement. He is never bored and never understands people who are.

However, this doer gene prevented him from becoming a motivated reader before retirement, but he has time now. He will never read as much as I do because I’m insatiable and lazy. That’s a great combination for a reader. I have no problem hunkering down with a good book and ignoring all of humanity.

Anyway, all this to tell you that Audible is offering a 2-for-1 credit sale – two books for only one credit. It isn’t a site-wide sale. You have to choose from a list of eligible books. H chose the Bourne Identity. I chose the award-nominated Thriller Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff. I think I’ll start mine today. I’m looking forward to January and February when I can read to my heart’s content.

It’s been a nice weekend. We went for a wine tasting and dinner with friends Friday night. We went to a fall festival sponsored by Crystal’s company yesterday. The weather was perfect. It’s overcast today and threatening to rain. This house has a beautiful roof, but it also has a few angles, and the gutters have to accommodate those angles. Our lovely but obnoxious locust tree drops tiny leaves that are small enough to get under the gutter guards. They collect in a couple of the gutters’ sharp corners. I think we will have to take that tree down eventually. It presents a continuous maintenance issue.




I talked to my sister this morning. She was sitting in her garage with the door up, and trying to catch a breeze. They’ve lost power, of course. Who knows when they will flip a switch and see light or feel cool air again? But they are fine and have sustained only minimal damage to their house: part of the roof over the lanai was damaged. They did receive 100 MPH winds so they feel very lucky on that count. Their street is under water, but it stopped at the end of their driveway. How courteous of it.

After watching my sister and brother-in-law trying to choose between evacuation and sheltering in place and finally choosing to stay in their home, I have more understanding of how difficult it is for people to make that decision. You are sometimes forced to choose between two bad choices. Determining which is the least bad is stressful and difficult. I wanted them to evacuate, and I was very concerned when they decided to stay. I’m just thankful they are okay and still in good spirits. I know their spirits will wane with the stress of each day without power, but they are remarkably sporting at the moment. I think a lot of that comes from awareness that they are more fortunate than many others. As we finished our conversation, she was going back into the house to put some of their food on ice.

Harbor Freight gives you a choice of several gifts when you make a purchase. My sister had chosen a small flashlight. When she went to bed last night, the wind was blowing, and the room was completely black because of the boards my brother-in-law had put over the windows. She put the flashlight on her nightstand. She said it was comforting. When she woke this morning, it was still going strong.

Wind and Rain

I’m listening to the television in the family room as I write this. It’s all about Irma. My sister lives on the west coast of Florida. I called her yesterday morning. As of then, she and her husband had decided not to evacuate. I’m concerned and I told her so, but her husband thinks they will be fine. They’ve boarded up, and filled the gas tank, but a full tank of gas won’t help if they wait too long. They probably already have. It takes a full tank of gas for them to even get out of FL. I’m going to call her in a little while to see if they’ve changed their plan. I  know it’s hard to leave your home, and her back is causing some pretty stiff pain. Evacuation would be awful, but I hope they’ve made the right decision.

Speaking of high winds and rain, our roof has a few leaks. We started with one leak, then another, then … H thought the problem was the ridge vent that was installed only a few months before we bought the house a little over two years ago. I, as always, went directly to the worst case scenario, and believed that the entire roof needed replacing. The house is 17 years old. I figured it was a 20-year roof that was going early. We got recommendations from several neighbors who were pleased with their new roofs. We called for estimates.

After looking at the roof and going up in the attic, the guy said, “Okay. Do you want a new roof? Cuz I can give you a new roof for $12,000 but this roof is a thirty-year roof and has 12 to 15 more years in it.” LOL He then told H that not only was the ridge vent the cheapest one on the market, but it was the wrong one for this roof, and that they used the wrong nails to install it. H had already seen the nails coming through the roof, but the guy showed him again.:) So it’s going to cost a little over $2,000. That’s to install a new ridge vent and to patch all the leaks. Still not cheap, but better than $12,000.

The Fall, Scarborough, Kushner

Petunias Go Before A Fall

I put some pots of flowers on the front steps this year. The front of the house has a southern exposure (you can tell by the over exposed photo below), so I have to water them every day. There’s a railing on both sides. When going up and down the steps, I keep my hand on the one not visible in the photo. There are no obstacles.

Photo taken a while ago, before they all started blooming.

Earlier this week, H came out while I was watering. When I turned to come back up the steps, he took my hand. I got to the top step, and we dropped hands. He started for the curb to get the garbage can and recycle bin. I started into the house. I thought I was on the landing, but I was still on the top step. Should’a looked down. I took a nose dive onto the landing. It felt as hard as brick… um… that would be because it is brick… all brick. I only abraded the pads of my hands, bruised my left elbow and scraped both knees. Brick is very unforgiving, but I escaped practically unscathed. It was not lost on me that I’m always worried about H falling off a ladder. It appears that I should worry ’bout myself.

Trump Makes Strange Bedfellows 

Joe Scarborough, co-host of Morning Joe, served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 as a Republican. Tuesday night, on Stephen Colbert, he announced that he’s changing his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. So he’s in the same club as Bernie Sanders now. I can’t put my finger on it, but I know there’s a joke here.

Short-Term Memory Loss

It’s hard to imagine that a 36-year-old man forgets a meeting with an attractive Russian-based lawyer, which happens to take place only a few weeks before he is required to disclose said meeting on a government disclosure form that explains at the top of the page that less than full disclosure is a felony, punishable up to five years. (I wonder what the punishment is for a run-on sentence)

Now, if he was older, I could sympathize with Kushner. I’m sure I’d give some vague answers if I had to list several people I met at a Pampered Chef party two weeks ago: there was the one with the great pixie cut, the tall girl with the cute shoes, the woman with one green eye and one blue (I worked with that woman at Aetna). These days, I would probably remember two out of three, maybe three out of four on a super, good day. But if I was 36, and if I knew that failing to disclose a meeting was a felony, I think I could conjure up a meeting I had a few weeks prior, or, here’s a thought, get the information from my brother-in-law. Hey, Jr., shoot me an email with the name of that hot Russian lawyer, would ja?

Kushner has now added over 100 foreign contacts to his disclosure list. I’ll have some of what he’s taking for memory enhancement.

I just realized I still remember seven out of ten of the items on my short-term memory test that I took over six years ago when applying for long-term care insurance: glass, mother, paper, captain, silver, rope, orange. There should be a trophy for that.

Weather Report

Hot as Hell


The Kids and Update on H’s Mohs Surgery

Let me take care of some leftover business first. I forgot that I’d even taken a photo of the Mediterranean Baked Chicken recipe that I wrote about in the last post. This is what it looks like. I also forgot to mention that I substituted halved chicken breasts for chicken thighs. I don’t think I could make it as a food blogger. 😦 It’s a good thing I don’t mind sharing my business. I wouldn’t have anything to write about.


My “adult” kids are in New Orleans, my son and his wife. The grands are at their other grandmother’s house. My DIL texted me a photo of my son standing on a bus. She said that he gave up his seat. I guess this has become a family thing. His father never sits when a lady is standing, so neither does my son. He ran into a bit of a problem when he was working in NYC. When on the subway, he would always offer his seat to any lady who got on after all the seats were taken, but he said they sometimes looked a little skeptical. 🙂 I guess it’s a Southern thing, or maybe an old-school thing, or maybe it’s just a NYC thing.

We’re reading Lisa Gardner. Have your read her? We’re on the Tessa Leoni series. Really good.

H had his Mohs surgery on Thursday. The doctor got everything on the first try, and made a nice and clean closure. He has to get another basal cell removed on Wednesday. His doctor is fantastic.  His face has been carved up so much, but you can’t tell. Impressive. It takes about three hours because after the doctor removes the offending tissue but before she closes, you wait while she checks the removed tissue to make sure it’s clean around the edges. If it’s clean on the first try, she closes and you go home. If it’s not, she takes some more tissue, and you wait some more while she checks it again. It’s a long process.

It’s hot and humid today. You feel sticky as soon as you step out the door. It’s as if someone gave the Weather Gods a calendar, and said, “Look, it’s July.”

June was beautiful. I miss you, June.

Enjoying Summer and A Visit with The Grand Trio

I can’t stop reading. It’s got me by the throat and won’t let go. H, who is not an obsessive reader – more of a worker – is almost as bad as I am lately, leaving his yard work at intervals to sit on the patio and read, then returning to his abandoned wheelbarrow and shovel to give a half-hearted effort at finishing the job before he comes back to prop his feet up again. It’s nice to see him relax a little.

I can’t remember when I’ve dipped myself into summer and not come up for air like I have this summer. I think it’s the weather and the ubiquitous breeze that rolls in off the pasture. I can’t get enough of it, and I just know I’m going to be sorry for writing that. I’ll open the backdoor one morning soon, and the cursed humidity and suffocating temps will have arrived, but until then…

Yesterday was a hammock day if ever I saw one. I actually fell asleep in my lawn chair, my feet propped up, a breeze gently moving strands of my hair, and the Boston-accented voice of the narrator droning on in my ears. I could not keep my eyes open.

We drove up to see the grand trio Sunday. What a good time we had. We all went out for lunch. It was a beautiful setting, and we got the best table in the place with the most beautiful view.

We sat on a terrace overlooking a lake as we ate and talked and watched big, fluffy, low-hanging, white, cumulus clouds drift by in a sea of deep blue sky. Restaurants and shops and fountains and beds and pots of vibrant flowers surrounded the lake, and a choo choo train drove around it all. There were as many old people riding it as young. A merry-go-round sat on the other side of the lake, and  paddle boats dotted the water along with swans and ducks.

The kids went for a ride on a paddle boat – a mighty dragon boat – with their mom. They found out that paddling those boats was a lot of work, even though they took turns. Sweating and red-faced, they all looked like they’d done hard labor in a work camp when they returned, but they recovered quickly with snow cones. While they sweated it out on the lake, H and I had margaritas in the shade as we watched. This grandparenting stuff rocks.

This one, in her pretty dress, was the only one who looked fresh as a daisy when they returned. The older grands and Mom may have done all the paddling, but she worked hard on that snow cone/icy.

Just so you don’t think I’m a total slacker, I did replace a broken toilet seat this week, and I did a load or two of clothes and dust mopped. Oh, and I watered and fertilized my pots and potted some dill. Golly, when I put it all together like that, I sound almost productive, but don’t be fooled. I’ve had my feet propped up and listening to a book most of the week. It was a good week.

A Good Read, a Puzzle, and a Summer Rain

It’s been a while since I stopped by here. It’s summer (technically) and I’m in reading mode. I spent yesterday morning and this morning on the patio until the sun slowly encroached on my little space, reaching my toes first and threatening to climb further unless I got up and went inside to make lunch. If I moved my chair around, I could find shade, but it’s convenient how it reaches me exactly at lunchtime, 1:00 pm. I know it will eventually get too hot to sit out there, but I love it so. The mornings are my favorite time, and I feel rich in every way that counts when I sit back there.

My favorite read so far is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It’s about survival and sacrifice and loss and endurance. It’s about choices and the testing of the human spirit. WWII during the occupation of France is the backdrop and time period. It’s a book that stays with you.

Now I’m into another summer read. I hardly ever read this type book, but I guess I bought a couple of them when we went on vacation. I thought I only got one, but a light book is what I need after a book like The Nightingale.

I’ve listened to long, rolling thunder booms for the past half-hour without a drop of rain to show for it, but it just started. It’s looking strong and quenching. We need it. H’s grass was beginning to look parched. This dousing will help everything, even my little half-moon shade garden in the back needs it. I love that garden. We planted some ferns in it early this morning. I’ve always wanted ferns and have tried them a couple of times without great success. They will have plenty of shade, but they need water, too.

This is our latest puzzle. It was great fun because of the blocks of color. In other words, it was easy.

Barnyard Royalty –  SunsOut Inc.

It was a terrible thing that happened on that ball diamond in Alexandria, VA today. Paul Ryan’s speech was a good thing; we could use more of that in our public discourse. I wonder about so much of our government gathering in a public place without security. The only reason they had any security was because Rep. Scalise – the House Majority Whip – was there. They only have protection when a “leader” is present. Otherwise, they would have had none. That has to change. Someone could take out a significant portion of our government in one swipe.




…nothing exciting to add…

Things have been kind of regular around here lately. We’re back to “normal.”

H decided he wants to power wash, fill the cracks, and seal our aggregate driveway.  Have I mentioned this before? Because he started power washing it weeks ago, then came rain, then my niece’s move, then more rain and then vacation. So he’s trying to make progress. It’s a long and tedious job. The power washing (hopefully) is the most time-consuming part. You cannot imagine how stained that driveway is/was. The neighbor down the street sealed his last summer, and it looks good. He told H what to buy for the job. So… time will tell, probably lots of time, because rain is expected the next three days.

I’m in the midst of reading a horribly graphic book. A couple of the descriptions are a little strong even for my taste. It’s a James Patterson book, The Murder House. As usually happens in Patterson books, a serial killer is on the loose. This one has a penchant for spearing his victims. I haven’t read Patterson for a while. I’d forgotten how unsettling his novels are sometimes. I had to skip over a small part of one passage. What a wuss. But sometimes you just don’t want to put something in your brain that will roll around up there for years. I’m not generally attracted to happy-ending type novels. Well, I do like happy endings, but only after half the characters have been revealed to be intrinsically evil, betrayers of some variety or other, or end up on a slab in the morgue. Then I want to know who dun it, and I want justice. I do love a good psychological thriller, and Patterson knows how to write them, but don’t go there unless you can take it.

I haven’t read a happy-isn, relationship-type book for a very long while. I don’t like them much, but I decided to try a “beach” book for poolside reading on vacation: Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand.  Three women, two ex wives and a widow, arrive at a cottage on Nantucket, believing they are there only to spread their newly dead (ex) husband’s ashes in the ocean off Nantucket. Unbeknownst to them, he’s left his beloved cottage to the three of them, a place they’ve all spent time with him. Not the most plausible story, I admit. They arrive on the tiny island with varying amounts of luggage – literally and figuratively. He was a famous chef after the fashion of Anthony Bourdain. He was a handsome, edgy, troubled, bad boy, the type for whom women love to derail their lives. It was one of those what-if scenarios, and it was easy reading for public places. I watched young girls doing cartwheels on the beach and looked for dolphins simultaneously without dropping a stitch in the story. No one was speared… except metaphorically.

Beachin’ It

from the balcony

I spent the last few days getting ready for vacation. The kids are coming the day after we return, so I didn’t want to leave the house in its usual chic disarray. That means that I wanted them to have a clean bathroom and towels.

It’s beautiful here. Our weather is supposed to be in the upper 70s/low 80s. I know these are not swans, but I had to give you a toilet shot of our hotel towels. Only the best! for you!!

I had lots of funny, pithy things to tell you about, but I left my notes at home. I do remember seeing a man leaving Kroger as I was entering. He was carrying a huge box, and he was on his phone. In his official CIA voice, I heard him say, “The chicken is now in my posessiln. ” I’m sure someone at home was preparing to feed a lot of people, and the chicken was an integral part of the plan. He wanted to ease that someone’s mind.

I’m using H’s new laptop. He’s sleeping, and this is the first time I’ve had a chance to get my hands on it. Pretty fancy.

My niece came over for a visit on Saturday. I’m going to love having her close by.

So I’m on vacation, but that doesn’t mean I left my crazy dreams at home. I just woke from a dream about H. H was having an affair, a long-time affair. He told me about it and wanted me to meet her and accept the whole thing. See, that right there is how you know it was a dream. He took me to her condo that had a splendid view of a harbor dotted with sailboats. She was lovely and  younger than us, and she had lots of plants in her condo. Then I noticed a coffee table that was mine. I thought that H had taken it to Goodwill. Then I saw other things that were mine. Her condo was filled with my cast-offs, only they didn’t look like cast-offs. They looked nice, y’all. She had not only stolen my husband, but she’d commandeered all my stuff, and it looked better at her house than mine. I remember thinking that I would adjust, I would forgive H, but I also thought it would be very hard. I realized I was one of those women who thought her husband would never do this.

My favorite love-to-hate television couple are now a real-life couple. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are engaged. For over a year, H repeatedly asked me, “How can her husband stand it. It’s obvious she’s sleeping with him.” I would just laugh because I couldn’t imagine her with him, but H called this one a long time ago.

I’ll be poolside with a book in a few hours, and walking the beach a while after that, and having dinner at a favorite restaurant this evening. I love the beach.

A Beautiful and Productive Day

It was a beautiful day yesterday. It put me in the mood to work outside.
One of my irises that we brought from our last house bloomed. Love that wine color. My coral bells are still thinking about blooming. It was one of those days that begs you to come out and play. I washed the winter off all the lawn chairs and the table and its four chairs and even the cover on H’s grill.  I bought some wave petunias and a couple of geraniums at Home Depot (where else?) to plant in a pot at the front door. I haven’t gotten the pot yet. I hope to get that at Home Goods later today. I’ll do it after my 6-month doctor appointment. I’m going to put impatiens in those two turquoise planters up there. We get a lot of shade in the backyard. My niece gave me the red reclining chair. She didn’t want to take it to her next house (?).

No sooner than I finished cleaning all the chairs and came inside for a break, the wind started blowing like mad. I ran outside to save a little foam pillow that was a headrest for the red chair. I’d taken it out of its cover (which I’d washed and hung on a tree branch) and placed it on the red chair. Just as I stepped out the door the rain came pouring down, the wind collapsed the red chair, and lifted the foam pillow and took it away. It went airborne, then bounced, then went airborne again, then bounced … I went after it like I was chasing a dog off its leash – with speed, purpose and determination! What a spectacle. I was lucky it didn’t go over the fence because my determination wanes at fences. That pillow would be wherever Porch Pup’s St. Patrick’s Day flowers are. They blew out of his basket and haven’t been spotted since.