Thursday, October 30, 2014

When to Rake



The chief raker at this house is son John. His custom is not to rake until the last leaf has fallen. We have three large trees in front of the house: one pin oak, which sheds leaves and numerous acorns, two large maple trees, which provide the golden aura during late October. There  is also Dix's Woods cater-cornered across the street from the yard. That's a lotta trees. The yard gets completely covered, several inches deep, tracked into the house along with the odd acorn, the one that the black squirrels somehow missed. The rain gutters are stuffed with the colorful detritus, and sometimes if they are not cleaned out in a timely manner, small trees appear along the eaves.
This year, Sally decided to get some exercise, grabbed a leaf rake the other afternoon and started raking up the leaves while there were STILL LEAVES ON THE TREES! One of the visitors from abroad, not having any leaves back in Deutschland to rake (that's taken care of by management of the apartment)', found another rake and amused himself by clearing away another patch of ground.
By the time, Sally was running out of steam,  and the chief raker returned from work. What could he do? Leave the yard half- raked? Shake the trees until all the leaves were gone? In spite of his system being undermined, he pitched in and piles of leaves were soon placed along the curb, ready for the city's service department to suck them up with their giant vacuum cleaner.
There will, unfortunately, be more leaves to rake and a person does not wish to appear ungrateful for the raking done (too soon),  but the years long chain of waiting for the last leaf to fall has been broken.
Rats!
(I speak  for the chief raker, even though personally I like having the yard cleared early.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Out My Window-Autumn



The fall colors arrived with visitors from Germany, which was one of the reasons they ( the visitors) chose this time of year to come to Northeastern Ohio. While there is beautiful scenery in Germany - the Alps, castles, lakes and rivers -  there are no bright leaves to gawk at in the fall. Last year Emily came in mid-October, the usual time for the color, but nothing happened until she left, when everything burst into color the first week of November. This time the weather and the leaves have been perfect.

This time, too, Chris is here, my darling Australian son- in- law. It's been a long time since he's been here. To add to his pleasure, the World  Series is on. When they lived in San Francisco, Chris became an ardent Giants fan. Since I am not watching the games, I don't know how they are faring so far.

We have taken some rides up to Geauga County, and shown off the "new" Kent. It's a happenin' town these days. People from other places come to gawk, eat and shop. The restaurants seem to be doing well, but  the retail shops keep changing. Most of them are aimed at students and people  with disposable income. A couple remind me of the ill-fated mall Scotch-tape shop from an early SNL skit. One just sells those cloth hand bags made by some woman whose name escapes me. It may have gone by now, as people rush after the NEXT BIG THING. The pop- corn shop thrives, of course, adding salt and sugar to the diets of its devotees, who are encouraged to walk it off on the Esplanade, an expensive walkway connecting town and gown. The little bake/shop restaurant where I meet the ladies who lunch seems to be suffering these days, with fewer people coming in for take-out. There is a lot of competition for those who have been around and survived the tatoo par lord and bars thatproliferated in Kent for many years. Many of the new businesses have benefitted from tax breaks not available to the old timers.  This seems to be the norm for cities looking for development. Money rules.

But I digress. The picture is today's view from my window, enhanced by having been thoroughly cleaned inside and out by the man from Oz.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Autumn Leaves



In spite of continuous rains, we are having a lovely autumn. Last week Sally drove me through the golden tunnel, and then continued on Infirmary Road up to a little piece of New England in Ohio, Mantua Center. All along  the road there was a blaze of color.
Mantua Center is a little village of century buildings, a couple of houses that were once stage coach stops, a town hall, a church and some kind of meeting house, and a cemetery with a dry stone wall around it. I've never seen any people about, but when I was working, I used to go to the village school to do programs. The school is in an impressive building, much younger than the rest of the structures. It is red brick with white pillars and a domed cupula. It sat empty for a number of years, but has been saved by the locals to be used as a community center. The population is scattered quite a bit, but they seem to have a lot of community spirit. The little village is a perfect place any time of year, but spectacular in the fall.
On the way home, we stopped at Beckwith's orchard to pick  up some of their excellent cider, the best in the county.
It was a full autumn experience.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Wait...wait. Where'd September Go?


All week I thought it was still September, only to discover a few days ago that October, one of my favorite months, has been going on already. I have spent most of September chained to a walker, tending carefully to my injured greater trochanter. I am happy to report that it is healing nicely. Wednesday I ventured out, thanks to daughter Sally, to get my hair washed and cut. My hair was beginning to feel as if things were growing in it, as if bugs could get stuck in it and start laying eggs, or whatever bugs do. Rather than lug the walker into the salon, I used a cane and Sally's right arm. Even went to lunch afterward.
I still  use the walker around  the house for security. Sally picked up some wheels for it, so it moves more smoothly. She also got a tray which attaches to it, but not very securely. I have to pour my coffee into a tumbler, which fits into the hole meant for that which is not big enough for a coffee mug. John has been fixing my coffee in the morning before he leaves, along with my muesli and setting them on the table by my throne.  When he comes home from a hard day of historically restoring some ancient stone or brick structure, he rustles some dinner together.
I have reached a point now of being able to do more, but I am trying to keep off of the affected leg as much as possible. The doc said to do that for a month, which will be a week from today.
Thank god for Netflix. They just dumped a bunch of new stuff in, including a bunch of good old Woody Allen movies, like "Radio Days." (I just watched "Stardust Memories," possibly the most annoying  film ever made. I got so sick of his whining that I shouted at my innocent IPad, "Just shut the eff up!" ) His movies are so much better when he's not in them, with the exception of "Take the Money and Run. " At least in that one he's not importuning women to love him like some lovesick dog.
So October is here and I am healing and looking forward to the arrival of visiting children in a few weeks. And Ohio will be all red and golden.
The picture is what I have missed while healing inside my house.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September Song


We have had the most beautiful summer this year. It has rained a lot, but mostly at nighttime, so every growing thing is as green as May. September days are brilliant blue, bright green and yellow sunshine. The nights are cool and the summer's full moons have bathed every lawn and tree with pure silver. These are the diem one should truly carpe.
My friend and former favorite teacher, the late artist Robert Morrow, lived in an old house a few blocks away. One year he decided to focus on the view from one window, making watercolors of the view throughout the seasons. It was not a spectacular view- no mountains, not much sky, no cathedrals or palaces- but in his hands each small painting was a thing of beauty. The trees, the roof  and windows of the house next door, the tones of light, made each scene distinct, suggesting the passing of time in that one limited area, and how the artist or viewer might feel about the changes of the seasons.
I've often thought of doing the same thing, but I am no Bob Morrow, and now that my vision is not so clear as it used to be I'm not so sure I could get the results I want. (I do not want to compare myself to El Greco' but the dude must have had a form of macular degeneration.) Anyway, the drawing above is what my front window view looks like on a bright and sunny September afternoon.

(The drawing program I use is called IPastel, and while I can't always get exactly the color I want, it's close enough. I'm still figuring out how to use it.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Greater Trochanter


The greater Trochanter is not a landmass south of Istanbul. It is not an island in the Adriatic Sea. It is not a superlative part of speech on Lower Slobbovia. It is not a species of prehistoric reptile, recently discovered in what was once ancient Tyre. And if there is a lesser or least Trochanter, I know not where that may be.
What it is, is that knobby part of the femur, the part many people call the hip bone, the one that sticks out on models when they do that slouchy kind of stance. There are those who have never seen or felt their greater trochanter, which makes them the kind of people who are built for comfort, which is a good thing, and who, if they fell on it, would most likely just bounce.
I tripped over a TV cord last week and landed on my G. T. , which hurt very much. I don't have any hip bones to spare, having had new hips installed over the past seven years. A trip to the ER, lasting 8 hours, showed only that I hadn't broken anything, and that the hip implant was intact. However, it hurt like hell. And the ER doc and the radiologist were not bone docs. Since this was on the worst night to be in the ER, a Friday,  I had to wait until Monday to get in touch with the devastatingly handsome orthopedic guy to find out why  I was writhing in pain like a Whirling Dervish.
Well, it was because I had done something to the Greater Trochanter and have to stay off the rest of the leg below that bone. John fetched me a walker, the shining metal symbol of the full  geezer. I clump around the house, spending as little time allowing the affected  limb to touch the ground as possible. The pain is a lot less, but I can't carry anything with this kind of walker, things like a cup of coffee, or a plate of food. There are things I can drape over it, like clothes. Can't wash my hair. The doc said to keep off it for a month and see him again then. How can I see this handsome guy with hair that by that time will really be, as the young folks say, totally gross?
Anyway, it feels better day by day, and it could be much worse, and I'll figure out something to take care of the hair. And it's not as if the gorgeous doc finds me irresistible in the first place.