Thursday, March 22, 2018

Content but not

Today was a beautiful spring day in Fort Worth. Started out a bit chilly but soon warmed up so that I could have the patio door open, and Sophie could come and go at will. The ground cover planted last fall is looking green and healthy, and my new lettuce plants look good. It even smells like spring.

I spent an almost-peaceful day at home. I say almost because I found myself embroiled in problems that go with posting book text on various digital platforms—the size is not right, the ISBN doesn’t match (now a problem with two books), the pricing is not according to our standards. Makes me crazy. I only discovered some of the problems late in the afternoon, so I’ll wait until tomorrow to call for help. You call one place for Amazon, another for whatever other platforms you have the book on. At this point, I have Amazon in order, I think, but Draft2Digital, the multi-platform outlet, is giving me fits over ISBN numbers.

This afternoon I looked out my kitchen door to see Sophie wandering in the driveway. She had somehow opened the gate from the back yard, where the dogs are confined. Thank goodness the main driveway gate was closed, but it is not always. She came happily when I called—no, wait! She came because Jay was in the yard painting window trim on their guest house, and he called her. She ignores me but will come for someone new. So now I have her escape route to worry about.

The good news: my landline phone works again. Yesterday all the satellite phones in the cottage said, “Base no power.” Christian thought the base had probably died of old age and volunteered to go get me new phones. But tonight, the phone rang! Unavailable was calling, so I didn’t answer. But I called Christian, and sure enough—he checked and found the base, in the main house, had been unplugged. We suspect a couple of sixth-grade boys, but I’m glad he found it before he bought new phones.

Nice casual, easy supper with Carol tonight. We chose to go to Lucille’s Bistro, a comfortable, reliable place. She had pizza, and I had a chicken salad sandwich that I held together by sheer will power as I ate. It wanted to fall apart and drip all over the plate. But it sure was good. We talked taxes and health and politics—we are on the same page on the latter topic. Both appalled and dismayed.

And that’s the second reason for my discontent tonight. I read today that Jared Kushner released confidential information from the daily presidential briefings to the new prince in control of Saudi Arabia, who now boasts he has Kushner “in his pocket.”. In some doing, Kushner may well have triggered the arrest of some 200 Arabian princes and powerful businessmen, and he may some day be ultimately responsible for the execution of some of them. Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, has been busy trying to get India to ignore its own laws and proceed with the financing and construction of the Trump Tower in that country. Business as usual.

 Meanwhile at home, it’s looking more likely every day that the so-called president was elected by chicanery, orchestrated campaigns of false information, and election tampering. While dismissing those concerns, he’s busy suing a porn star to keep her quiet about an affair he says never happened and replacing his cabinet, almost all of whom have been fired or resigned during his so-far short tenure—pray God that it remains short. The corruption everywhere is so blatant that it astounds.

The country is in such disarray that I am fearful of our future. Yeah, it’s hard to enjoy the beauty of a spring day. The Statue of Liberty weeps for us==and so do I.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pollyanna Dances On

Third night in a row out on the town. I’m dizzy with the excitement of it all. Well, not really, but it’s been fun. It’s Wednesday night, dinner with Betty night, but tonight we had a special treat. My longtime (at least forty years) friend Linda came in from Granbury, and the three of us went to the Wine Haus, had good wine, food from Chadra, and lots of catching up. Such fun. Glad to see Linda, who flits here and there about the world—from Dubai to Angel Fire to South Padre—and doesn’t make it to Fort Worth often enough. Betty and Linda both had pizza, but I indulged in lamb chops and mashed potatoes and ordered stuffed dates for the table. Too full to eat all the dates, but they were so good. Nice evening.

Comments on last nights blog made me realize I needed to clarify impressions of my life, lest I sound like Pollyanna dancing my way through life in bright red shoes, turning everything I touch to gold, every minute to joy. As I said last night, I’ve had my hard knocks: the deaths of my parents and several people close to me; a difficult divorce; a lifelong battle with anxiety (the doctor says I’m just not wired like other people—I don’t know how helpful that is). My heart has been broken by a couple of good men and bruised by a few not so good. I am neither a best-selling mystery writer nor a well-respected literary author—I’m just a yeoman writer. In the last three years or so I’ve had several difficult health crises, with the result that I can no longer walk without assistance and my vision is slightly impaired, my heart slightly off-kilter. I cannot hop in the car and go to the grocery or out for lunch. My outings have to be carefully planned, and I necessarily rely on others. Despite my joy in my cottage, I miss many things about life in the house that was home to me for twenty-five years, and despite what sounds like a gay social life, I spend long hours alone in the cottage. Some days loom long and empty.

But I choose not to write about those things. I choose, for instance, not to write about the heartbreak of a dissolving marriage but to focus on the joy I found in raising four children as a single parent—they taught me more than I could ever hope to teach them. I choose to be happy and to write about happiness. Like self-pity, happiness feeds on itself.

The best thing my ex-mother-in-law could say to others was, “I wish you a lotta luck.” I always wanted to scream, “I don’t believe in luck. We make our own luck…and our own happiness.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Fine dining

While I was having an elegant dinner,
this is what Jacob was doing; he's in the center, of course 
After a hard day at the computer, what a girl—or an old lady—needs is a fine French dinner. Tonight, a friend and I went to Paris 7th. It’s an off-shoot of St. Emilion, which has long been one of the few bastions of fine dining in Fort Worth, with an impeccable reputation of excellent food, fine wines, and outstanding service. Paris 7th has instituted a bistro menu for early diners on Tuesday and Wednesday nights—appetizer, entrée, and dessert—for a prix fixe.

This new restaurant is in space evacuated by a toney French restaurant that tried too hard—dark atmosphere, extraordinary prices, although, so I hear, good food. It went out of business, So Bernard Tronche, owner of St. Emilion, moved in, redecorated and lightened the space, and created a truly pleasant atmosphere, light and bright with cheery red upholstery, café curtains in the windows, and a clever use of small mirrors to enlarge the space. The restaurant was almost full, but the noise level was muted and tolerable. You got the sense that you were dining among people who were enjoying good food and company. The day’s full menu was on two chalkboards that waiters carried from table to table—I peeked but couldn’t tell much. I suspect it listed scallops, pate, escargot, beef bourguignon, steak au poivre, sole meuniere, and, of course, frites. The man next to us had an elaborate presentation of steak tartare.

Tonight’s bistro menu was asparagus soup, duck confit, and an apple tarte. The soup had a great flavor but was a bit thin and not quite hot; the confit was rich and delicious—a small serving was more than enough to fill me up; and the tarte light and lovely, with a small scoop of ice cream in which a sugared walnut was embedded—surprised me when I came across something hard in my ice cream. We had a good French chardonnay, not included in the bistro price. One server brought bread; another filled our water glasses; still another removed used dishes. But our waiter was on top of it, stopping just often enough to assure that we were enjoying our meal.

Once again, an evening I thoroughly enjoyed, one that made me feel back in the stream of life instead of puttering in my cottage. I am blessed.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The stay-at-home writer, sort of

Thankful today for a bright blue sky, plenty of sunshine, and almost balmy temperatures. I have a good friend who refers to the details of daily life as brush fires, and in his terms, I spent the morning putting out brush fires. I was reminded of an editor I used to have at TCU Press who once said she knew the advice—pick up one piece of paper at a time and don’t put it down until you’ve finished dealing with it—but she had a hard time putting it into practice.

This morning I faced recipes I wanted to put in my ongoing cookbook—some I fixed this weekend, some from earlier days—along with some tax matters to solve (who gets away with sending a W2 in March, when I sent all my information to the accountant weeks ago?), yet another revision of Murder at the Bus Depot. This time I had to unpublish it and will have to wait a couple days and then re-publish. This has been an enormously difficult book to get online, and I think it’s “them” and not me. Out of four phone calls to take care of business, I was asked to leave four messages and have only had a return call from one. Grateful it was the accountant. The other calls had to do with a pirated copy of my chili book, an appointment to check my hearing aids, and I can’t even remember the last one—what will I do if they never call back and I never remember?

A morning like this makes me so grateful for a career that I can continue as long as my brain and my fingers on the keyboard hold out, one where I can work at home in my pajamas with my dog sleeping peacefully nearby, and one where I can work at my own pace, set my own deadlines. I’m quite sure having that desk-oriented career keeps me young—well okay, not in years but you know what I mean—maybe active and alert are better words. Friends who are more mobile than I do a lot of volunteer work that keeps them on the go, and I regret that lack of mobility won’t let me join them. But sometimes I see their volunteerism lock them into schedules that are almost like working again, and then I appreciate my life all the more.

I do admit to spending too much time following current events these days—who can resist? I won’t burden you with opinions tonight, but I will quote Dorothy Parker: “Should they whisper false of you/Never trouble to deny/Should the words they say be true/Weep and storm and swear they lie.” You know without my telling you who needs to heed that advice. He must be an awful poker player.

My stay-at-home career wouldn’t be quite so happy and fulfilling if I didn’t have family and friends who come to visit, who take me out for lunch or dinner, who give me the taste of the world that I miss in my solitary work.

Tonight I had a wonderful taste of that larger world beyond my cottage. Jordan and I went to a reception following Mary Volcansek’s Final Lecture at TCU. Mary is a dear friend—she calls me her big sister—and a client of Jordan’s. It was a lovely affair and a great tribute to Mary’s long academic career. For me, it was a bonus—a chance to greet colleagues I haven’t seen in a while and visit at length with one pair of old friends. Granted, I had a hard time hearing, but it was still a heady experience and made me feel part of the mainstream again. Wine was good too.

Going to bed happy tonight.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Random happiness

Today has been a banner day. Colin, my oldest child, came through town (I mean that literally—he didn’t even come to the house, but we met at Carshon’s) with his Lisa, twelve-year-old Morgan, and ten-year-old Kegan. We celebrated a reunion of sorts (half the family) and Jordan’s birthday with brunch at the deli. Colin could, I’m quite sure, sneak through Fort Worth without telling me, but he’d never be here without a trip to Carshon’s. He’s in his late forties now, and he’s been going there ever since he was a baby.

It’s always a joy to see one of your children after an absence—okay, only since Christmas—but it’s a particular joy to see him looking so well and happy, since he has a chronic health condition. Lisa said he spent spring vacation skiing like an eighteen-year-old, and he has a smashed thumb and who knows what else to show for his wipe-outs. All four of them looked glowingly healthy. Colin is riding a wave—happy marriage, wonderful children, good job, amazing home. He’s a happy man, and I love his positive outlook on life.We sent them on their way back to Tomball, and Jordan and Christian went about the business of celebrating her birthday.

When I bought this house, some twenty-five years ago, I was warned about living across from an elementary school. The school has ben a joy, especially since it’s the focal point of our neighborhood, the glue that holds it together, and Jacob went through all grades there. The zoo? Not so much. Every spring break, zoo traffic seems to get worse. These days it’s bumper to bumper even in front of our house, which means some drivers are trying to make an end run around the traffic—and failing. As for the road through the park that’s our favorite shortcut everywhere, don’t even think of it. I thought by Saturday it would be over, but it wasn’t. Now we’re waiting for Monday.

My neighbor Jay (yeah, the good-looking one) put in my vegetable garden today. I was convinced he waited too late for lettuce, but I was thinking seeds and he bought plants. Had to dig up the ground and all those spring weeds and install a drip watering system which is on a timer to the faucet. I am so excited—I’m going to make wilted lettuce. When I told him that he said no, he’d fixed the water source, so it wouldn’t wilt. He also planted onions and some basil seed. The basil will last the whole long summer. Having basil at your finger trips is a treat—I recently bought some from the store, but it was limp and unattractive, and I pitched it. And there’s nothing more wonderful than lettuce and onions that have just come out of the dirt.

Storms brewing tonight. The sky has turned a funny color, and I hear thunder rumbling quite close. Sophie is looking a bit alarmed. I’m expecting happy hour guests. They said they’d be here unless it comes a tornado. I’ve got the TV on just in case.

Later: the storms turned into nothing but a lovely gentle rain, kissing the new lettuce plants. Jay said maybe if he’d planted two weeks earlier, it would have rained two weeks ago. We’ve gone quite a while without rain.

Lovely visit tonight with friends who were neighbors almost fifty years ago and have remained friends ever since. My hors d’oevres platter turned out to be just right, and we visited about everything from kids to cruises. A perfectly lovely evening. So comfortable to be with people you’ve known forever who know you and love you in spite of your foibles.

Time to read.

Friday, March 16, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day and the urge to cook

The approach of St. Patrick’s Day fills me with an urge to cook Irish dishes—perhaps that Guiness stew I saw on the TODAY show this morning or maybe colcannon, which has always interested me. I saw a recipe today for colcannon made with kale, with the comment that you can substitute cabbage. Heresy! Colcannon is a dish of mashed tatties and cabbage; kale is the interloper, and I for one hope it’s days are numbered. Unless it’s very young and tiny leaves, I am not a kale fan—and I’m not sure even then.

Colcannon makes me think of kalpudding—best described as meatloaf with carmelized cabbage. It’s a Scandinavian dish, not Irish, but the recipe stares at me every time I look at my file of recipes I want to try. I doubt anyone here would try it. Sometimes I yearn for the days when my kids were all at home every night and were pretty much a captive audience for my cooking experiments. I need a new audience.

Mystery author Keenen Powell wrote a blog about the Irish breakfast she fixes for her family every year—it began with blood sausage. I’d forego that. I dutifully tried blood pudding when I was in Scotland, and while it was not objectionable, it wasn’t that good either. I asked our B&B host what the point was, and he opined it probably had to do with using every part of the animal. No, thanks.

But the rest of the breakfast sounded wonderful, if heavy enough to be a hearty supper: rasher (thick slice of bacon or ham, fried), fried new potatoes (skin on because that’s where the flavor is), scrambled eggs, sautéed tomatoes, and what we in Texas call northern or sweet beans. I could maybe get some in our family compound to eat the rasher, eggs, and potatoes, but they’d protest at the tomatoes and claim beans were not breakfast food. I may put a little lox in scrambled eggs and call it Irish breakfast.

I’ve invited some old and valued friends to join me tomorrow night. I wanted to fix them an Irish supper, but this is the wife’s first venture out as she recuperates from extensive surgery, so the man said he thought just wine with snacks. I’ll do a platter with smoked salmon, cream cheese, vegetables, and some baguette slices. Foiled again in my longing to cook Irish, but the salmon is a tip of the hat to Irish food.

St. Patrick’s Day is the birthday of my baby-child, the youngest of my four—note I didn’t say which birthday. It’s not a decade-changer but she has moved into that range where women get a little touchy about their age. I’ll cook a birthday dinner for her Sunday. She asked what I wanted to cook, but was scornful when I suggested corned beef and cabbage. “You know I don’t like either of those things!” I told her the real question was what she wanted and gave her several choices, and she chose Norwegian hamburgers, a recipe from my oldest child’s Norwegian mother-in-law. These are delicious, and we all love them and thank Torhild for introducing us to them, but it’s an odd choice for a half-Hispanic child born on St. Patrick’s Day.

Green beer, anyone?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A look back at good times

I wrote this blog six years ago, but it came popping up with a comment in my inbox tonight, and it seemed too perfect not to share again. Thanks to son Jamie who found the complete lyrics to “Who’s Knocking at My Door?” Anyone else remember this? Here’s the original blog post:

Way back when I was in Girl Scouts--I think that was the connection--we used to get on the church stage and do a skit that began, "'Twas a year ago today/that my Nellie went away/She was sixteen, the village queen/The prettiest girl you ever seen." Each person took a role--Nellie, the father, the wicked lover, etc.--and we recited this in a singsong manner, accompanied by deep knee bends. It's an indelible memory of my childhood, but I never can remember the rest of the words. The story is of course going to be obvious melodrama--Nellie is lured away by a mustachioed villainous actor; a year later, she returns home bringing her infant. She has been abandoned. Everyone I asked about this looked at me blankly, indeed I think they thought I was a bit addled.

But last night I found a whole web site devoted to it. The poem or skit or whatever it is bears the title "Who's knocking on my door?" and there are countless variations in the wording. But it's more universally known than I thought. Most people remember it from the '40s and '50s. For me, it was like finding an old friend.

This is what Jamie found:

Who’s Knocking at My Door?

It was a dark and stormy night
When my Nelly went away
And I'll never forget her
Til my dying day
She was just 16
And the village queen and the prettiest trick
That the valley ever seen
The farm ain't the same since me Nelly went away
The rooster died and the hen won't lay
But in this window I'll put a light
40 below zero, gosh what a night

Who's that a knocking at the door?
It's your own Little Nell
Don't you know me anymore?
What happened to the actor guy
Who used to call you Honey
Did he leave you all alone when you hadn't any money

Oh, he's a slick town guy and he lies with ease
And he's got more money that a dog has fleas
But he left me alone when I was most forlorn
The very night that my little Dumbell was born

Is that there Dummy
Well it ain't no other
The gosh-darned image
Of his gosh-darned mother

Hoity Toity my fair beauty
Or you'll come to harm
Cos I hold the mortgage
On your gash-darned farm
Give me back my Dummy
Your Dummy
My Dummy
Your Dummy
My Dummy

Who's this a comin
It sounds like a mule
I ain't no mule you gash-darned fool
Can't you tell by me badge
I'm the constibule

Now what's the harm
Do please tell
Well he ain't done right by my Little Nell
Yes I have
You have not
Yes I have
You have not

And I guess I'll have to fine him a dollar and a quarter
Which all goes to prove the price of sin
And tomorrow night we play East Lynn

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Come Spring. . . .

My cheerful funny socks
Perfect for a happy spring evening

That was the saying of frontier women in the 19th-century American West. Hard as their lives were, they were always optimistic, they always thought things would get better, “come Spring.” It hasn’t quite come Spring yet…the days may be longer, but mornings are chilly and spring bloom is still to come in all its glory. But tonight, Christian was out spreading pre-emergent weed killer, although some have already emerged.

The biggest thing that gives me Spring-like hope today is the spectacle of all those fantastic young people who walked out of their classes today. In schools where they were locked in (that must violate fire laws if not civil rights), many took a knee. Their courage in bucking the status quo should give us all hope. No more shall we say, “That’s just the way things are,” or “It [whatever?] will never work, never pass. [Choose your topic—gun control, abortion, taxes] will never change.” The young shall lead us, and it’s up to us to follow, not give in to resigned defeat.

Conor Lamb’s stunning victory in Pennsylvania gives me hope too. It was a resounding rejection of our orange president, his policies, his instability, his mercurial temperament. He may think he’s the smartest man in the universe, but he just took yet another walloping. And Lamb set a pattern for other Democratic candidates to follow in the upcoming mid-term elections. I especially like him because he did not blindly follow the party line but adhered to his own beliefs. Integrity is pretty refreshing these days.

I am also heartened by the Republicans in Congress who are criticizing the shut-down of the House investigation of Russian intervention in our elections, with the weak conclusion that yes, there was intervention, but no, it didn’t favor Trump. That flies in the face of every other investigation, of the FBI and other agencies, and even of common sense.

And while the orange president won’t link Russia to the nerve gas attack on a former spy and his daughter, the UK has expelled twenty-three Russian diplomats because of the incident, other countries are following that lead, and even Nikki Haley, the US voice at the UN, has said publicly that the US associates Russia with the attack.

Meantime, the orange president is busy firing people. Someone suggested he be reminded  that he’s in the White House now and no longer running “The Apprentice” on TV. I remember my dad saying you never fire someone—you make them want to resign. Could it be that this flurry of firings represents the death throes of a terribly frightened man who is spinning out of control? That possibility holds both hope and apprehension, the latter with a prayer that he not do anything so drastic as to ruin all of us as Mueller closes in on him.

The firing that I find most reprehensible is the potential dismissal of Andrew McCabe from the FBI, just four days short of retirement. Sources say he may lose his benefits, which would be so unjust that we ought to all run screaming into the streets.

Saddest news of the day is the death of that amazing man Stephen Hawking. Tributes on the internet have been plentiful and eloquent and so have quotes—I like the one where he said we are but a pack of monkeys on a minor planet in the solar system of a very small star. Talk about putting us in our place. But perhaps the most striking quote is to the effect that those who talk about their own IQ are losers. Sound like anyone you know?

Peace and restful sleep, my friends. Some days are disheartening, but today I think humanity and compassion and love are going to win out.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Confession of a Libtard

Not really me, but you may call me
a tree hugger
I have been called a liberal, accusing of spouting liberal bullshit, and scorned as a libtard (the dictionary tells me that is a “liberal that does not have much common sense. It is used as an insult by conservatives to make fun of airhead lefties”; I think it’s a derogatory use of the word “turd”). A Facebook post quoting JFK on why he was proud to be a liberal sent me scurrying to the dictionary to look up the terms liberal and conservative.

The basic difference is so simple: liberals look ahead, while conservatives cling to the past and resist change. Since nature is ever-changing, ever growing, as is our world, and even our language, to cling to the past seems futile to me. I like the notion of looking ahead, welcoming change. Liberals are open to new ideas, new attitudes. I welcome the changing society around me, the acceptance of people of all faiths and colors, no matter their wealth or poverty, their country of origin, their sexual orientation, their preference for dogs or cats, city or country. I don’t see groups or classes of people. I see a great array of individuals. And I see a world where communications and travel make it impossible to remain an isolated country. We are now in a global world, and we best adapt. Our future does not depend on our country alone, but on that of the entire world.

JFK implied that to him being a liberal meant caring about people—their lives, their health, their jobs, their happiness, all aspects of their lives, the air they breathe. I heartily applaud that. And that doesn’t mean one class or group of people—it means all people.

Conservatives however seem mired in the past, clinging to old ways that are never going to come back in our global world. And even as they watch helplessly, conservatives see the ground under their feet shifting and changing. My favorite slogan from perhaps the 2016 campaign or earlier is “This is not your father’s Republican party.” Conservatives fight change, and, to my mind, it has led them to a dark and blind corner. The attitudes of far-right-wing conservatives are dated—racism, sexism, the assumption that the natural world—plants, animals, and the earth—were created for human convenience, etc.

I have also been called a humanist, with a slightly condescending tone to the voice. Humanism emphasizes the value of human beings, individually and collectively, and of critical thinking as opposed to dogma or superstition. Dogma and superstition to me are symbolic of clinging to the past, so it’s all one bundle.

JFK was proud to be called a liberal. So am I. But as I go merrily into the adventure of the future, I do look back over my shoulder. Not for a past that I would cling to or resuscitate, but for a past that brought many treasured moments and shaped me into the person I am today. Want to scorn me as a liberal humanist? Go right ahead. I may have it put on a T-shirt.

A p.s.: Financially I am a conservative. That means I don’t believe in spending more than you have, as an individual or a government. Today’s conservatives seem to skip blithely over that fact, giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy and then bemoaning we can’t afford Medicare, Medicaid or support of our veterans. Now that’s conservative bullshit.

‘Night all.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Computer woes out the kazoo

For someone like me who spends a large portion of the day at the computer, days like yesterday are disaster. My internet service went steadily downhill. Every few minutes, I would get a message that the Microsoft connection to Outlook (my email) had been lost, followed almost immediately by a message that it had been restored. Explorer consistently told me I had no connection or that page couldn’t found. Then, miraculously, Faebook or MSN news would pop up, only to disappear again. By evening, I could not get internet service. Oh, and somewhere along the line Microsoft made me change my password. I’m not certain where or when I use that password, but I know what the new one is.

Today, nada, nothing, zip. Finally, mid-morning I got on my email. The connection asked for my security key number—unknown to me, I had it on a piece of paper magnetized to the refrigerator. Finally, it worked, and I got email but I could click on links, etc.

I called ATT, our service provider—not once but five or six times. Got that robot each time, and a few times he told me there was too much static on the line; another time, they couldn’t accept my call at that time. What’s up with that?

The real trouble when I do get connected to a service tech is that with my compromised hearing and their accented English. I think one told me it was a Microsoft problem, not sure what two others told me, one lady promised to call back and claimed my phone went dead when she did. One tech asked me to look at the modem—problem with that is I’m in the cottage and the modem is in the house and no one was home.

Christian came home and confirmed that the green lights were on, so I called once again. This time, the tech (what is this? Number ten?) needed someone to be at the router, so I called Christian, asked him to expect the call, and then asked the tech to call Christian’s number. A few minutes later, Christian came out to the cottage, phone to his ear, and told me to log out of Explorer and back in. It worked! It turned out to be as simple as unplugging the router and plugging it back in. And the bonus? In the process, Christian arranged for an update which is supposed to speed up our service. A thousand thanks to Christian for taking time to deal with it when he was obviously otherwise preoccupied.

A lovely end to the day. A good friend whom I don’t see often enough came for supper, and we had a wonderful visit. Wine on the patio, and then dinner in the cottage—a sort-of salade Nicoise pictured above and a blueberry/pear crisp. So tonight I’m a happy camper, full tummy, basking in the glow of friendship, and at a computer that works. What more could a girl ask for?

No cold front yet. The French doors are open, but I understand it’s headed our way.