Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Weekend

Another holiday weekend is upon us.  Memorial Day.  That's Monday, May 31st this year, but it is officially celebrated on the last Monday of the Month.  Memorial Day was created to honor those who fought and died during the Civil War.  It since has expanded to include all wars.

Memorial Day has other significances, as well.  Here in Maine, along with the parades and celebrations for the service men the day is also a family day to celebrate the coming of summer.  Summer cottages get opened, large get-togethers of family and friends have giant cookouts, Old Orchard Beach opens for the season.  In fairness, much of OOB is already open, but this weekend makes it all "official."

Earlier in our history, Memorial Day was celebrated on May 31st which was also my grandmother's birthday.  When Congress changed many holidays to the fourth Monday of the month in which they were celebrated to ease the hardships on businesses with midweek closings, my family continued to celebrate Grandma's birthday on Memorial Day.  We had fun telling people she was born on the fourth Monday of the month.

Like many other families we'll have a cookout, probably Sunday rather than Monday.  The Gator Ladies will do some light work in the gardens Saturday and we'll just "pig out" Sunday.  I suspect Monday will be just a day of rest.

Speaking of gardens, Gator Wife and Daughter planted our vegetable gardens rather early this year.  By late last week, both veggie gardens were showing they liked this spring much better than the cold, wet one we had last year.  Everything planted by seed is popping through.  The beans have more than an inch showing.  We have more beets and carrots than we've had for years.  Cucumbers and squash have poked through.  I trust you understand in all cases it's only the beginnings of the crops and not the completed edible veggie.

The seedlings they planted, such as the tomatoes, peppers, some squash, and potatoes, have all grown and are showing buds.

Oh, what a year we might be in for!  If only half the crops yield their goodies, we'll have more vegetables this year than we've had in a very long time.  I'd say our nighttime watering and the nice, warm days we've been having are just what the veggies wanted.

I hope you have a super Memorial Day Weekend.  We will.


*****On June 8th in Maine, you can vote to keep your taxes from increasing.  Vote YES on Question One on the ballot.*****

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday, Thursday!

What a difference an hour makes?  Late yesterday afternoon my weather station told me it was 92.6 degrees.  An hour and a half later it was 84 degrees and then just a couple hours after that high reading, it had fallen into 60s.  WCSH TV meteorologist Joe Cupo told us a front was passing through.  It sure did.  The temperature continued to drop into the night.

But that's O.K.  Cupo said it will be a little cooler today, but then the temperatures will rebound a little for a very nice holiday weekend.  Let's hope he's correct.

I got my two new hearing aids yesterday and then immediately headed for my noontime luncheon with my fellow retirees.  I learned I have a lot of adjustments to make and now I know why the audiologist scheduled me for a second "fitting" appointment for next week.  She'll listen to my experiences, and already there are many, and then make the final adjustments. 

That need for some more work said, I need to also say that the difference between these new hearing aids and the ones they've replaced is like night and day.  Even before those final adjustments to even out the sound, I'm hearing better than I have for years.  So far, it was a good choice to get new hearing aids.

Yesterday's luncheon was a good time; it always is.  We were missing a couple of attendees, but that didn't take anything away from the rest of us.  One of our group just returned from a three week tour of the southwestern national parks.  He had some good stuff to share with us, but he learned that the only way one can really appreciate those parks, like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, The Grand Canyon, etc. is to actually visit them.

Two others of us have visited those and many more parks and understood clearly when he said simply, "They are awesome."  Then he went on to explain words just cannot do them justice.

It was just too hot yesterday to have given much thought to today's venture into netland.  So I'll just leave you right here.  Enjoy your Thursday.  I will just as soon as I get home from my senior fitness session.


*****The Vote No campaign is lying to you.  It is their proposals that will result in you paying more taxes.  If you don't want higher taxes, Vote YES on Question One on the June 8th ballot.*****

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I hope to hear those crickets today!

Happy Wednesday.  And the potential for it being happy for the Old Gator Dude is excellent. 

The weather folk tapped yesterday right on the nose.  It was a warm, beautiful day over our part of the state.  Some rather nasty thunderstorms rumbled through northern regions.  Today will be close to the same. 

My weather station is not an official one so its readings only reflect the place its in.  But the temperature sensor is protected from the sun, but it's on a white wall which may get some reflections from other walls.  Nevertheless, I had a recording of 92 degrees for a brief while, but for the most part it remained in the upper 80s.  Officially a record was not set yesterday, but on my place the 92 tied the official record for the date.

The weather today should be more of the same, but probably not into the 90s.

Now, why so happy?  I got the call for which I had been hopimg yesterday.  I have an appointment mid-morning today to get my new hearing aids...two of them.  They will replace one that was broken a couple weeks ago and another that is simply running out of its useful life.  These new aids have some fantastic features which will allow my hearing to adjust itself in virtually any surrounding.

And small!  They are only an inch or less long and about a quarter inch on each side.  I remember when my grandmother first got her hearing aid a half century ago.  It was a little box she had to clip on her clothing with a long wire going to her ear.  She hated it and seldom wore it.  I also remember that almost everytime she got near something, it squealed very loudly.

Even just a few years ago, of course, hearing aids were small enough to sit behind the ear, but everyone knew who had them on.  And many of them squealed, too.  My two old ones were pretty well unnoticeable with one behind the ear and the other in the ear.  I'll know these new ones are there, but they won't be standing out like the sore thumb.

Technology has changed.

I'll probably be able to give them a quick workout at lunchtime today.  This is the last Wednesday of the Month luncheon day.  It'll be interesting for me to see how well these new ones adjust to the din of a restaurant at a table crowded with a bunch of old retirees all needing to speak at the same time.

I'm hoping that happy day potential comes to full fruition.


*****In Maine keep your taxes from going YES on Question One on the June 8th ballot.*****

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just waiting!

Right at the moment I'm at a total loss about what to write this day. 

I could mention the weather.  After all, yesterday was one mighty fine day and today is supposed to be even better.  We who live in the vicinity of the sourthern Maine coast will be just a smidgeon cooler than those of you who live not too far inland.  We won't  be as cool as the Downeast Coast, however.

I suspect it will be too hot to do much and Gator Wife and I have ageed to stay home in case the phone rings.  There's a small chance I'll get the call to be fitted to my new hearing aids.  Actually, they were just ordered last Friday so this hope is more wishful hope than anything else.

It just occurred to me as I write this that I can program my home phone to ring on my cell phone which would allow us to do something away from home today.  I've never tried and am not sure how to do it, but it might be a noble experiment.

Tomorrow has the potential for a totally different scenario.  It's the last Wednesday of May and my group of fellow retirees meets for lunch.  Gator Wife won't be home as she has a lunch schedule with her gal pals.  Perhaps if we do decide to go out and the phone thing works, I could do it again tomorrow and still go to lunch.  Now that's something to sleep on.

Since I'm still at that loss, I'll leave you for this day with this thought:  Be sure to keep hydrated with non-alcoholic and caffeine free beverages.  Water is about as good as anything to drink.  Above all, don't let the forecast heat get the best of you.


*****For Maine readers:  If you don't want higher taxes, vote "YES" on Question One on the June 8th Primary Ballot!*****

Monday, May 24, 2010

Better be sure to buckle up!

The weather people forecast a fine weekend, and that's just what we got here in Southern Maine.  On our little plot of land, the wind did blow a little but not enough to keep the Clan from completing its outside plans.  From what we're being told this morning, tomorrow, especially away from the coast, has the potential of being a pip of a day.

Talk about good timing, the A/C guy will be here today to give our unit a good cleaning and checkup.  I think we got lucky on this scheduling.

Also, this week, I should be getting my new hearing aids.  If the ones that get delivered are even just half as good as the demos, I'm in for a spell of great hearing.  You may remember I broke mine a couple of weeks ago.

An item on the news this morning caught my attention.  Area police departments are beginning their annual "Click it or Ticket" campaign.  Patrol officers will be on the lookout for drivers who are not wearing their seatbelts.  In Maine, as you know, seat belts are required for all drivers and passengers in vehicles.

There are many people who argue that it is their right to choose whether to wear their belts or not and is a decision that should not be mandated.  Authorities argue that seat belts simply save lives.  Opponents of the law argue they can cite many instances where not having a seat belt on has saved lives; but for every one of those, proponents can cite several instances where lives were saved.

My cars haven't moved forward, except, perhaps, in my own yard, for 55 years unless everyone in the car was belted.  I was workingt for a St. Petersburg, FL, newspaper in 1955 when a then-popular race car driver stopped by the newspaper for an appearance interview.

I loved going to the stock car races in Tampa and when the driver pulled up in his powerful personal car, a near replica of the stunt car he drove at the track, I watched out my window as he unbuckled his full shoulder harness.  Yes, it was a lot more than a simple seat belt which hadn't become standard equipment on cars back then. 

I mentioned it to him when he came inside and his response was close to, "Son, I wouldn't drive to the corner store without buckling up.  That harness has saved my life on the track and I'm trusting it to do the same on the road."  I must admit I was impressed.  My car didn't have seat belts.

Before the week was over, I had found a place that installed the old lap belts in cars and soon my car was equipped with them.  They weren't as protective as the full harness, but they did offer to help in a crash.

It was in the early 1960s when I came the closest to needing them as I had until then, and since then for that matter.  Gator Wife and I were heading for Disney World through Tampa on an Interstate highway when there was a chain reaction ahead of us.  Four cars had piled into a line.  We became the fifth.  Yea, I admit I was following too closely and got a ticket for it.  But the seat belts kept us in place and we were unhurt.  I'm not sure the collision was hard enough to have hurt us if we didn't have them, but they certainly helped.

My seat belt requirement continues to this day and so I'm one person who doesn't have to worry about getting stopped for not being belted.  And I'm pleased to say that GW also doesn't move her car until she and everyone in it are belted.

I hope you click your belts.  If you don't, you have a great chance of paying a hefty fine for the next few weeks.

I"ll close on a sad note today.  I read on her blog last night that the young woman who offered me helpful hints when I started this blogging business a couple of years back lost one of her precious cats last week.  She found her old friend when she arrived home from work one day.  My sympathies and heart go out today to Sheepish Annie, who is also the daughter of my Fearless Friend.


*****In Maine, if you don't want to pay higher taxes, vote "YES" on Question One on the June 8th ballot!"*****

Friday, May 21, 2010

Perhaps a great weather Maine May weekend!

Thursday turned out to be a rather warm day just as the forecasters had said.  When I got up and prepared to go to my senior fitness session, it was still cool; and even by mid morning the clouds had kept those promised temperatures down.

But then the sun took over.  By mid afternoon, my sheltered outdoor thermometer was reading in the mid to upper 80s.  I had to leave for a couple of hours so I don't know if it ever reached 90.

Friday was forecast to be a little cooler before some warmth once again moves in for this weekend.  Here along the coast, though, we may only see temps running in the mid to upper 70s.  Then, the weather people say, we'll be back to above average temperatures next week.

Looks like Thursday began a nice period of good weekend weather for us.

Gator Daughter will join us for much of this weekend and she will probably spend most of the time with Gator Wife outdoors.  Sometime I'm expecting to get my lawn mowed...again.  I don't remember ever getting so tired of lawn mowing as I have this year.  Now I know I have a nice tractor on which to ride while cutting that grass, but it takes me almost two hours to do it. 

Other than the usual stuff, the Gator Clan will have a  quiet weekend, possibly some food on the grill sometime.  I hope you have a great May weekend.


*****In Maine, don't vote for higher taxes on June YES on Question One!*****

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Part II: I want to hear the crickets.

I hadn't planned to talk about my audiology experience yesterday, but I told my Fearless Friend in a message to him that I might cut my message from the e-mail and post it.  So, here is "I want to hear the crickets -- Part II.  If you missed "I want to hear the crickets" posted yesterday, it's right here.

The biggest surprise I got was the cost.  Today's technology is just a wee bit more expensive than the technology I bought about five years ago, and it is hugely more expensive than it was when I bought a simple one about ten years ago.  Along with the new microtechnology is a new physical size.  The ones I looked at yesterday are only about a quarter of the size of my old behind-the-ear one I broke.

My hearing in both ears has deteriorated as I had suspected. After the hearing test, the audiologist put a pair of new aids on me and I literally jumped out of the chair. I haven’t heard that much or that well in at least 30 years. It was unbelievable.

The audiologist started a tape of various background noises, a restaurant, music hall, empty room, crowded meeting room, etc., and wandered around the room talking with me. She had told me not to look at her but to just use my ears to hear. I didn’t miss a beat. I didn't even have to make guesses on what she was saying. 

Unless you have experienced hearing loss, you can’t imagine what it is like to totally hear again. This pair of Phonak aids responded 100% better than my old system. Again, you’d have to experience it to fully understand.

Naturally, I said, “How much?” This time I fell out of my chair. I had planned to buy hearing aids yesterday, but after hearing the price, I decided I needed a consultation with Gator Wife even though she had told me to go for it. No problem there, of course, but the audiologist asked if I’d be interested in giving GW a sample of my hearing.

The hearing lady has a simulator there that can first duplicate my current hearing and then what it would be like with the new devices. The simulation would demonstrate to GW very dramatically what I'm hearing and what I could hear.  We have an appointment for today and she’s willing to have the demonstration.

Again, like most physical things that affect us, one has to go through them to fully understand them. I’ve been doing as well as I can for several years; now there’s an expensive opportunity for me to never again answer a question like,  “What part of Florida are you from?” with something like, "Of course the Gators can win the game."  That means, of course, I heard “Florida” and assumed it was a question about a Gators’ sports team.

My hearing saga continues, but if I can figure out a way to pay for those real tiny hearing aids, there's no question about my hearing those crickets.  And a whole lot more stuff.  Finally, perhaps we can even tune the volume on the TV to a nicer level for GW.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I want to hear the crickets.

Gator Wife and I were visiting her brother and his wife the other day.  It was before I broke one of my hearing aids.  I'm not sure just how the topic came up because neither of us knew he also wore hearing aids.  I think GW noticed one in his ear and mentioned it.  He seemed to be very comfortable with his.

Across the roof of my car, he said he had noticed he wasn't hearing everything and more and more frequently was asking people to repeat themselves.  Boy, did that ever ring a bell of my own observations of several years ago.

Then he made one seemingly insignificant statement that rang in my head for several days.  "I went for a walk shortly after I got them and for the first time I heard the crickets."  He went on to explain he really didn't care if he heard the crickets or not, but his pride that he could once again hear came through loud and clear.

"I heard the crickets."

I hate to think how long it has been since I last heard the crickets.  If fact, it never even occurred to me I hadn't.  Now, I want to hear them again.  I can always take the aids out of my ears if the sounds of crickets get too loud or irritate me.

My hearing probably has been leaving me for more years than I want to admit.  Probably the major development came in the mid 1990s when GW and I were flying home from attending our son's wedding on the west coast. 

I was having trouble with my ears as they continually seemed to want to pop.  Nothing I did, like chewing gum or swallowing, helped.  It was particularly troublesome when the plane descended for landing in Chicago where we had to change planes.  The pain increased as we took off for Portland, but I didn't make it through the descent into the Jetport.

I felt a huge pop and for a while I couldn't hear anything in that ear.  It was a holiday weekend so I decided to let it ride until Monday.  But Monday the ear seemed to be working just fine.  I could hear and there was no pain.  I let it ride. 

More and more people complained that I was asking for stuff to be repeated and giving outlandish answers to questions.  GW was "on my case" for the next four or five years before I mentioned it to my primary physician.  He didn't hesitate and sent me to an audiologist with a side trip to an ear doctor to get a good ear cleaning.

What that ear guy found scared me.  I had a hole in my eardrum.

The hearing test proved I needed at least one hearing aid and probably two.  I got one.  That was nine or ten years ago.

Four or almost five years ago my hearing had deteriorated to the point of my needing the second one.  (Time flies when one is having a good time, doesn't it, FF?")  It was the one I broke last week.

So this Wednesday I'm heading for another hearing test.  I will end up with a new hearing aid and possibly two.

Right after it, or they, arrives, I'm going outside.  I'll listen for those crickets.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Political Poll

This post is about a political poll, but it is not about politics.  Rather it is about one of those phone calls that seem to come every few minutes this time of year.

I get many calls, all dealing with Republican candidates and issues, I guess because my name is on Republican lists.  I'm not really an activist but I did attend some town Republican meetings and as a result, I found myself on many Republican lists.  That's O.K. as it helps keep me informed, at least on the side of issues that interest me.

With just three weeks remaining before the June Primaries, the polling calls seem to be increasing.  The problem with most of those calls is that they are done by a computer and there is really no, or sometimes extremely little, human contact.

Sometimes I'm nice and push the buttons requested for a response, sometimes I'm not and just hang up.  I was, Wife Gator tells me, rather rude to one human caller who wanted me to support his candidate.  It was a candidate I could not possibly support in the Primary and before he finished his first sentence, I think I may have given him a hint of my feelings.  He hung up on me.  I tried to explain to Gator Wife that he was the rude one.

Then there was the poll where I was asked if I could name any gubernatorial candidate.  I listed all seven Republican candidates and four Democrat candidates in alphabetical order and then included the Independent.  No challenge there.

The one that got to me was just a couple days ago and I'm still thinking about it.  There is an out-of-state survey company that has to be determining extremely bad information for whoever is paying for the poll.  The computer told me I would be given a list of candidates and then using my phone's keypad and a scale of 1 to 6 (strongly support to never heard of him) rate each candidate. 

It was a computer survey but I figured that I did have feelings about all seven Republican candidates, so why not?  The computer apparently was randomly picking the names.  I remember not which was the first, perhaps Abbott.  I entered my response.  Then came LePage, then Otten, then Mills, and finally Poliquin.

Yes, finally.  "Now let's rate the various issues," or words to that effect, said the computer.

I screamed at the phone and thus the computer.  "Wait, wait," I yelled.  "You left two out.  What about Beardsley and Jacobson?  What kind of a stinking poll is this?"

The computer droned on.  "I'll give you a series of issues.  After each, please listen to the choices before pressing the number button on your telephone.  First. . ."

I hung up.

We're going to see some poll results shortly that will have one of the five rated first.  I'll know that day who authorized this fake poll and will vote for someone else, even if the sponsor is my current top choice.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend Dilemma Partially Resolved

I'm proud of my girls, Gator Wife and Gator Daughter.  They set out to do a massive planting, weeding, mulching, etc., chore Sunday and completed all they set out to do.  I must admit I probably don't appreciate the flower parts, even though they will be beautiful, as much as I should.

Selfishly, though, I have already begun salivating for the mid summer fresh vegetables.  There are no veggies better than those from the garden to the plate.  GW and I used to do a lot of canning in days long ago, but when her parents passed in the 1970s, we lost access to several acres of land for gardening.  The ones we have now simply supply our fresh needs for a couple months.  But, let me tell you, fresh vegetables are absolutely the best. 

When I speak of "fresh," I mean those right from the garden to the table.  Some, of course, have a short detour on the stove.  The so-called fresh vegetables one gets in the super market are usually several days old and many are not even grown in Maine.  The roadside farm stand is second best, but those from one's own garden are the very best.

I had said over the weekend that I was in a "resolving a dilemma" mode.  The problem was simple...replace a failing main computer or buying a new hearing aid.  The dilemma was at least partially resolved.  I have a hearing test scheduled for this week to determine the best new device for me.  GW and I are in agreement that the ability to hear, even with the help of devices, is better than only partly hearing what is going on around me.

So I will be ordering a new device this week, and, depending on the cost, might even get a matching pair.  My remaining hearing aid is now about ten years old and new technology might be a boost. 

That part of the dilemma really was an easy decision.  The other portion of the dilemma was also resolved, at least for a couple of hours.  GW suggested I consider another portable like the one I'm using to write this.  I love this machine and it does absolutely everything I want to do with a computer.  That sounded like a good idea to me.

The only thing holding me back was whether or not I could plug my large monitor into the portable.  I found out Sunday afternoon I could so that seemed to cement that decision, too.

But then, some doubt began creeping in.  I think I really want a desktop tower.  I have no reason to want it as my main computer, except I've had one for many, many years.  The newer laptops are, of course, every bit as powerful as desktops, including new ones.  But not in my head.

Speaking of desktops, I remember as if it were only yesterday that when I bought a computer with a 10 MB hard drive, my first with internal storage, I thought I was at the top.  Then when I replaced it with one with a 20 MB hard drive, I was in computer heaven.  Now I'm looking at computers with storage capacity between 500 gigabytes and a terrabyte or more. 

To shorten this up just a bit, I'm still resolving the computer part of my weekend dilemma.  I guess I'll just wait to see how much two hearing aids might cost me.


Friday, May 14, 2010

A Mid-May Weekend

If you visited recently, you know I haven't been happy. I'm still not happy. As of Friday morning my main computer was still out of commission and I cannot find a solution. Well, that's not totally correct; I have two possible solutions: reformat the hard drive and start from scratch or buy a new computer.

I went through the painful process a year ago of rebuilding the same computer. It was not a fun experience. It wasn't really difficult, but once the OS (Windows XP Professional) was installed, getting all the updated drivers and stuff was a pain in the sit-down place. Then my software had to be reinstalled. Another pain getting all the upgrades, etc. At my age I'm not sure I want to go through it again.

So buying a new one comes to the front. There's only one real advantage. I would be getting today's OS (Windows 7) and all my current software works on W-7. My peripheral devices also would be OK as they all work here on my portable. But, a new one costs money.

A few days ago I might have just made the call to get a new computer. Then, as luck would have it, I was cleaning one of my hearing aids and broke the shell. That will cost money to either fix or replace it. Actually, I've not been happy with it since I got it...I'll never buy another a new one is probably in my future. The cost of a good hearing aid puts the cost of a computer to shame.

I'll be spending this weekend in "resolving a dilemma" mode. Both devices are, in my opinion and not necessarily Gator Wife's opinion, important in my life.

Showers forecast for Saturday could put a damper in the Gator Clan's plans, but the beautiful day forecast for Sunday will more than make up for it. Rototilling our veggie gardens is the main plan. GW has her plants and seeds all ready for planting and we're already salivating over the summer's fresh vegetables.

I hope you have a great weekend and that you accomplish all you wish. There's a real good chance the weather won't stop much.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GiM is in an ugly mood!

My computer remains messed up. I broke a hearing aid while cleaning it. I'm in an ugly mood. Even Gator Golden wants to ignore me.

I'm not going to pass my ugle along to anyone else, and there's always another day to post a blog.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A computer says, "Bye-bye," at least for awhile.

Monday began happy enough. I didn't think I had any problems and prepared for a very routine day. That lasted only until mid-morning.

I have four working computers, but only two are generally up do date with software. The two I use the most are a very nice laptop which I just bought in January and an XP powered desktop which is in its fifth year. Monday it tried to tell me, "Enough is enough." It may be.

I keep the computer in use because it connects to my network via wire. All my others connect by wi-fi as does my printer. When I decided to go Wi-Fi and eliminate my ethernet a couple years ago, the access point/router loudly suggested I keep one computer on the wire for router service. It's a habit I haven't broken, even though the new routers aren't quite so insistent.

Since that computer is on the wire, I use it for sensitive internet connections. The wire doesn't make it hacker-proof, of course, but it adds a little layer challenge.

I've been noticing for the past few weeks that it was slowing down and had even begun looking to buy a new computer. I really couldn't justify a new one so the need and want just didn't get together. Surprisingly, they still haven't come together so when the XP machine gave me the error message Monday, "You have no more room on Drive C. Eliminate unneeded files and programs to free up space" I was caught unprepared.

I committed a cardinal sin over those past few weeks when the computer began slowing down. I failed to check for a reason why. Had I done so, I probably would have avoided my present problem.

That hard drive should not have been more than 35% or 40% full. Maybe not even that much. But it now has zero empty space. My Fearless Friend suggesed I do a Google search with a few key words to described the problem. I'm not alone. Yes, I learned I could have a nasty bug on the drive that has taken control. Or, and I'll assume this one for a while, it just might be a glitch in some software that is causing my files to just keep replicating themselves whenever I use them.

Tuesday will be spent checking that out. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it just yet, but it's worth spending a little time looking for a cause before spending money on a cure. My commercial anti-virus software seems to say the problem is not a virus. But we all know, don't we, anti-virus software sometimes lies.

One thing I've learned in the past is one should keep software, especially data files, backed up. All mine are also on an external hard drive so if I must take one of my ultimate choices, the work I need is readily available.

I'm thinking I might just be in a fascinating time. The fascination will be just how it ultimately gets resolved.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Another week is underway

I hope all you moms had just a superior day. I think Gator Wife was happy, but a little disappointed as well. She and Gator Daughter were unable to work outside in the gardens because of the winds. They were afraid that about anything they tried to spread would just be blown away.

It may have worked out for the best, though. Planting they had planned was postponed and Monday morning's weather forecast said we could get some frost tonight. Maine always has a late frost and many of us wait until after that May frost to do any real planting. The spring we've had has made it difficult to hold off, but it now appears we may have made the right decisions.

And speaking of that wind, it seems like it's been just been howling since mid last week. Sometimes I think this year is getting mixed up.

We're in another week. Except for GW's work schedule and my senior fitness schedule, we don't have much planned. GW does have a scheduled follow up appointment with her cancer doc Friday. She's not anticipating anything except, "See you in six months."

The Red Sox finally won a game Sunday night. I only watched it through the five run inning which all but wrapped it up for the Sox. I think that was the third inning. Methinks the 2010 Red Sox is the best in recent years. The Bruins could wrap up their semi-final series and the Celtics are trying to stay in the NBA playoffs. So it could be an interesting sports week.

I didn't attend the Republican Convention in Portland, but I've read about it. I guess the only real question mark came from the adoption of a Party Platform. Apparently it got changed at the last minute. My reactions in reading it was, "Who cares?" Do you know what is in the Platform? Or in any platform over the last, say, fifty years? I don't.

Like most uninvolved Party outsiders, I look at who is closest to my feelings on issues and vote for that individual, not what a Platform says.

I hope you have a great week.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Weekend

This is a weekend when Moms everywhere get their rewards for being Mom. Sunday is Mother's Day. Gator Daughter will be here to honor her Mom. She usually brings some sort of plant with her and helps Gator Wife plant it, or sometimes several. GW has a rather large collection of garden beds and GD is an integral part of the upkeep.

My Mom has been gone since the mid 1970s and is at peace with my Dad, who had passed the year before. They are in Florida, so visiting their resting sites is something I can't be doing. GW and I do try to make a trip every few years or so to Florida to visit their graves, but now that I'm in my mid 70s and mobility challenged, those trips may have ended. GW's Mom passed in the mid 1990s, some 20 years after her Dad. But they are buried in Portland so visiting them is much easier.

Moms, and I'd like to think dads, too, are the best friends young people can have. And yet, while they're growing up and "testing the waters," that friendship and love can be cruelly tested. GD will tell us even today, 20+ years after she left her teens, that during those teen years she "hated" us. I remember the day she admitted that to us clearly. She ended her revelation with big hugs and a really heartfelt, "Thank you. I'd have been in deep trouble without you."

Now she still lives by most of the ideals we, probably mostly her mom, instilled in her as she grew up.

Oh, yes. We have a son, too; but he has chosen to live far away in a west coast state with his wife and daughter. We don't get to interact with him very often. But I do understand that. He chose to move west to live with his wife. I chose to leave Florida to live in Maine with mine. I guess it's a family trait.

Enough of all that. I wish all you moms who may visit here this weekend a Most Happy Mother's Day and may your family spend time with you and rain love and gratitude for a mother's job well done.

Meanwhile, Gator Golden isn't a mom, and she never will be thanks to her humans, so what she really likes is a good roll in the grass.

Have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

GG to Gator Dude's rescue!

What do we do when we don't feel particularly inspired? Easy. We turn to Gator Golden.

She hears something on the other side of the trees, but her Invisible Fence prevents her from checking it out. That might be a good thing. If your speakers are on, the pounding and voices in the background are Gator Wife and Gator Daughter installing a new garden/lawn barrier.


Monday, May 3, 2010

A great weekend, except for the dogs!

This past weekend was just beautiful.  We did get a rather 'healthy' onshore breeze Saturday afternoon.  We live a little distance away from the shore, close to Route One which we can see from our window, so by the time that breeze got here, it had subsided just a bit.  Nevertheless, it did cool down the temperatures rather quickly.

Sunday, on the other hand, was very warm and if there were a seabreeze, it didn't affect us.

As a result of the two great days, Gator Wife and our daughter replaced all the guard stuff next to the house that protects GW's gardens from lawn crawl.  I don't know much about such matters, but I suspect it also protects the lawn from some garden weeds.  In either case they did a superior job.

I had planned to get a whole bunch of new pictures of Gator Golden and our daughter's dog.  They spent both days in the yard.  But every time I showed up, they went on strike.  I guess they wanted more than the little treat I had for them if they cooperated.  They wanted the treats but they still wouldn't cooperate.  So I got no exciting pictures.

For Example:
Gator Golden just laid down and watched to be sure I didn't disturb the working girls.

Then she turned to face the yard next door to keep an eye on it (That's she in the rear.) while her sister, closest, keeps an eye on me waiting for me to put away the camera.

And so it went, a beautiful weekend on the Gator Homestead.  If only the dogs had cooperated . . .


Saturday, May 1, 2010

A busy weekend for some of the Gator Clan

It sure did seem like last week was a fast one.  Faster than usual and usually weeks just fly by when one is my age. 

The weekend should start off just beautifully.  The weather folk tell us that some parts of Maine and New Hampshire could hit the 80s before Saturday ends.  Unfortunately, those same folks tell us that we who live on the south side of Route One will get some sea breezes which will keep the temperature down just a bit.

The Sunday half the weekend will probably be cloudy, we're told, with the possibility of some showers Sunday afternoon into night.

The Old Gator Dude completed his part of preparing the yard for Gator Wife and Gator Daughter Friday.  For the fourth time in April the lawn got mowed except this time the cut was a little shorfter near some border material that the women are going to replace.  The new stuff has a groove at the bottom and ground nails will be used to try to hold it better in place.

What we have now comes up two or three inches each year causing the gals some extra work.  I don't know if the new stuff with its anchors will do any better, but I've seen it used on the Saturday Home Depot Hometime show and it seems to work.  The stuff goes about four inches into the ground and keeps the lawn and gardens separated. 

They would like to get it all done by Sunday afternoon, but that will depend on the Sunday weather.

Except for mowing, I don't do yard work.  I'm lucky to have a wife and daughter who could spend all the warm weather outside.  They've been talking about planting our vegetable gardens, too, but know even though its the first weekend in May, it's still a couple weeks too early.  They will begin prepping the beds probably next weekend, though.

I'll probably be out there for a little while doing some heavy supervising and looking for some photo opportunities for the two Goldens who will also be out there.  If I have success, the pictures will probably dot this place next week.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a real nice weekend and that all your plans are successful.