Book In Common: Listen with me to Jean Shepherd read “Duel In the Snow; or, Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid”

On these stormy days I always think of something to read. But I have chores that involve my hands and eyes, so books are inconvenient. Sometimes I turn an old movie on the tube, but there’s not always something good playing. Today I went to youtube, and found Jean Shepherd. 

Jean Shepherd was an American writer and radio personality who wrote the short story for which he later co-wrote the screenplay that became “A Christmas Story.”  I love that movie, I could watch it all day – and one  year, stuck in a motel room in a Sierra snowstorm, I actually did. The Turner network played it all day long, over and over. There was not much else on appropriate for our kids, so in between forays out into the snow, we watched bits and snatches of that movie, and laughed and laughed. 

Who doesn’t remember, the Bupkiss hounds? The leg lamp? The Cleveland Street Kid? “YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!” is still an oft-used catchphrase in my family.

So, look what I found  – this is even better – I can do  my chores in any room of the house and listen to the original story, as read by author and disc jockey, Jean Shepherd. Who, by the way, also  narrated the film, you’ll recognize the voice almost immediately.

While it’s true, I could listen to it from any room in the house, still, it’s distracting. I find myself standing, hand poised on dishrag/broom handle/spoon/stove handle, ear turned toward the speaker, face slack, mouth open, listening to every word out of this guy’s mouth. He’s a great story teller, in this case, reader of his own work, and I find myself transfixed. 

So, I listen in bits and snatches, and I can make it last a few days. I hope you will enjoy it too. No going ahead to see what happens, either. 

Christmas – coming to a mall near you!

The moisture in the sky makes for pretty mornings.

The moisture in the sky makes for pretty mornings.

My digi-cam does not pick up the entire array of colors that stretches across my yard in the morning, but I still get a pretty picture.

If you really enlarge this next shot, you will see Venus, hot-footing it along just ahead of the sun.

I can see Venus without enlarging but I know where to look.

I can see Venus without enlarging but I know where to look.

Today it was warmer than usual, me and the dogs ambled around enjoying the colorful tree line around our neighborhood.

It's nice to live in a city of trees.

It’s nice to live in a city of trees.

My husband and I went out yesterday on our bicycle to enjoy some sun, decided to stop at Safeway for some odds and ends. The shopping fever has already started – I guess that’s why they call it “Turkey Day.”   I really feel for my friends who work at the grocery stores. Be gentle out there People, it’s a tough time of year.

When I was young I worked retail, and ironically, many people seemed to lose their sense of humanity at the holidays. 

And now we have instituted the practice of “Black Friday.” We have come to accept the fact that about 50 percent of our businesses couldn’t survive without the Christmas glut. “Black Friday,” once a feeding frenzy, has begun to burn out. Retailers were so worried last year they opened the doors on Thanksgiving Day. The year before that, they opened the doors at midnight on Thanksgiving.  

There have been complaints from employees – in fact, a man at Sears complained to my husband and I that he had to work the holiday. We didn’t ask him what would be the consequence of not wanting to work the holiday – the way they treat retail employees now, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.

 So now we have a new institution forming on the horizon – “Black November.” Tonight Chico jumps in with the long-standing “Christmas Preview.” At about dinnertime, Downtown Chico will turn into a giant conga line, people shuffling like potted zombies from one business to the next, free treats and hot drinks offered here and there. I wouldn’t know about the deals – I can’t afford to shop Downtown, and this event ruins Downtown dining. If you were planning to shop Downtown today get your car out by 4:00, or you will take your chances being caught in the human flood.

Years ago I met a man named Bill Talen. He is an “actor/activist” living in New York City. He had taken up various causes,  one of them being, the consumer glut that is ruining our economy and our planet. A few years ago, with a producer named Morgan Spurlock (who produced the documentary “SuperSize Me”), Talen made a movie about America’s insatiable buying impulse – “What Would Jesus Buy?”

This is a very funny but also very sad look at American consumerism – all real. A retail worker describes the rage exhibited by a grandmother who can’t get the toy she wants. A little girl shows off the pile of useless and unwanted toys under her bed. We see an “exorcism” – people come forward at a “Church of Stop Shopping” gathering to have The Reverend officially cut up their overburdened credit cards.  This movie is timeless, a good reminder at this time of Holy Madness, that we need to get a hold of ourselves as a nation. 

Hey, I’m not saying I don’t buy things, I like consumer goods. My family just committed the blasphemy of buying new cell phones – the ones we had simply did not work. There’s nothing like paying $100+ a month for cell phone service and constantly have to be climbing a tree or standing out on a curb to make a call. We have to stay in touch with the outside world, so we own both cell phones and computers – both of these things require precious metals that are being mined out of what were some of the most pristine rivers in Africa at one time, now reduced to mud holes.

I don’t know how to stop being a consumer. It really takes stepping away from society. The rest of the world always ostracizes the free-thinker. Having kids creates a lot of pressure to “be normal.” I know, my kids had friends over here who asked me pointy questions about stuff like my compost bucket, or why we hang our underwear in the yard. Some would enter my kids’ rooms and point-blank ask them where all their stuff was. It wasn’t like they didn’t have toys and gadgets, they just didn’t have the trendy expensive stuff that seemed requisite in many families.  It bothered my kids sometimes, being different in ways that had always been presented to them as “normal” and “correct.”  But now I’m glad when I see them questioning the things their friends do, I see they’ve learned to think for themselves instead of being pressured into going with the herd all the time.

 We’ve cut our gift list mercilessly the last few years. We realized, it was one of those things – our friends thought we wanted to exchange gifts, we thought they wanted to exchange gifts – as soon as we stopped buying stuff our friends stopped buying stuff too, no feelings hurt. I see these stupid articles on MSN and tv – pressure to buy gifts for every person you encounter over the year – the gal that gives you that $20 hair cut? the janitor who empties the trash can in your office? Those people can’t afford to reciprocate, so just leave it at “Merry Christmas.” Look them directly in the eye and mean it. 

That said, I hope you will have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you have some things that you can truly be thankful for. 

















Imminent ship wreck: the people are asleep at the wheel

It’s 5:07 am, and I am wide awake. I’ve been trying to sleep later these days, cause it’s cold in the morning, but today I woke up with both sides of my nose glued shut and one of those stomach aches. At 3:37 I got up and blew my nose, tried to rearrange the pillows, rearranged my husband to suit my comforts, and attempted to go back to sleep. Forget that, I could almost hear my digital clock ticking. My nose started to whistle. The thoughts started to flood into my mind – and when the “what’s for dinner”question flew through my head, it was over. My stomach started rumbling and growling, and the next thing I knew I was standing in front of the coffee pot, eating a banana.

Thank you God, for bananas, that was really considerate of you.  They so hit the spot.

I am trying to clear my mind to write a letter to the editor. Why, why, why – I ask myself that, and Myself comes back real quick – cause nobody else is going to do it!

Myself can get crabby at 5am, that’s been established. I’m almost afraid to talk to people sometimes, I’m afraid I’ll end up with their head in my mouth, for no good reason, aside from, their head was available at the time when I wanted to chew somebody’s head off.

My mom used to say, when she had been to a school board meeting or an irrigation district meeting – “I’m so  mad, I could eat a sackful of kittens!” and that was really saying something, my mom was very fond of cats. You knew you better keep the cigarettes coming fast for a good 20 minutes when she got in a mood like that.

I’ll tell you what’s frustrating, is trying to get people to talk about the problems we have here in town. “I have my job.” “I have my kids.” “I’m busy, busy, busy…” I feel like saying, “what do you think I do all day?”

People have very frankly told me they think I’m nuts for going to meetings and dealing with issues that will most certainly come around to bite them on the ass at some later point. Right now, the mood I’m in, I would like to see a bunch of people around town with whole sections of  their ass missing.

I try not to read the paper – so, can you imagine,  one day you’re driving through a town you’ve lived  in for 50 years, and they’re tearing Esplanade a new asshole, putting traffic circles at every intersection? Cause that’s what’s in the paper today, and if you didn’t see it, you would most likely find yourself in  such a sitch sometime in the future, I’d say, within the next two or three years. Remember the “Downtown remodel”? That was so fun, I don’t patronize any businesses Downtown anymore, just forgot all about them and found substitutes elsewhere, mostly online.  Remember the Hwy 99  widening? I’ll bet you do if you live in my neighborhood. Wasn’t that great to be kept awake all night by those pile drivers and rebar saws?

 See,  I went to meetings, meetings,  meetings to protest such boondoggles, and I stood in that chamber with the cold wind blowing across my ass because none of you idiots bothered to show.

Well, excuse me for lying – Dave Boos was there, and Phil Herrold, two of my neighbors who are considered cranks like me. And there we were, with the cold wind blowing across our asses. Me and Colleen Jarvis got in a fight at the freeway widening meeting – I asked how come they weren’t widening it next to her house – and I never got to make it up with her before she died of brain cancer. If there’s a Heaven, I will hopefully be arguing her ear off again someday.  I’m sure God wants to kick her ass already.

So the other day I got out at 8-something-am, me and old Myrtie my 1956 Raleigh Superbe 3-speed street cruiser went boppin’ through the park to a Finance Committee Workshop.

And here’s what I found folks – trouble, right here in River City. And that starts with ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘C’ and that stands for ‘city mismanagement’, ‘malfeasance’, and just plain ‘mischief’!

The city has paid another consultant to tell us we’re in trouble, I guess you got that. What this consultant said that’s different than the rest is that our city is over managed. We are top heavy with management salaries, and that’s what’s dragging our boat to the bottom.

You heard about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I was a kid then, and I just couldn’t understand how in modern times a ship could go down without a single hand found on a lake. Then I saw pictures of the Edmund Fitzgerald – it was a flat boat full of tons of iron, with a big hatch right in the middle of the deck. It was sailed across a lake that is almost as big as an inland sea, a lake that literally creates it’s own storms because of it’s size and temperature fluctuations. Putting that boat on that lake seems crazy – it’s a wonder they don’t have sinkings more often. All it took was one 35 foot wave, the hatchway caved in, and that plunker sank faster than a rock, dragging down every man aboard.

That’s what I see when I look at the City of Chico – disaster waiting to happen. I write letters and I write letters – I feel like an old sea hag, standing on a rock, screaming my lungs out – “watch out for that wave!” And the captain stands on deck with his back to disaster wondering, “what’s that old hag screaming about?”



Jack Frost hits the skies after a rain storm

What lovely weather we been having!

Good thing my husband got up on our roof and gave our gutters a good blast with the leaf blower.  The higher gutters hadn’t been cleaned for a couple of years, and they were packed full of a rich humus. I saw the remainder  running out the hoses we attached to the rain barrels as those storms moved through, nutrient rich!

I keep a 5 gallon bucket at the end of the patio, it looks murky, but it’s nice for washing the mud off the patio.

Nutrient rich.

Nutrient rich.

Everywhere I have my little reservoirs.

Water capture and delivery system all in one.

Water capture and delivery system all in one.

The plastic I laid out to kill weeds got rolled around in the wind, creating little lakes for boot washing. 

Land o' Lakes

Land o’ Lakes

My nopals love this weather, wet at night, sunny and dry in the daytime.

At one time these were crammed into one pot, now they stand over my head.

At one time these were crammed into one pot, now they stand over my head.

Now weatherman says, get ready for Jack Frost. After that last rain, the rooftops around my house were very white. I been having a hard time deciding where my sensitive plants would be safe. I realize our greenhouse is too exposed this time of year, I’d have to put lights in there to keep them safe, or a fan at the very least – $$$$. So, I clustered them around my front door, under the overhang where we installed a ceiling fan for the dogs. It keeps them cool on the hottest days and keeps the flies away too.

These are some of my beloved aloe vera pots. You'd think I'd given  birth to them the way I fuss over them.

These are some of my beloved aloe vera pots. You’d think I’d given birth to them the way I fuss over them.

In Winter, the fan keeps the chill off the porch somewhat, like the big fans farmers use on their orchards. I put the pots in little groups that will be easy to cover with freeze cloth. If it’s looking below 30, I can load them into my red wagon and move them into the garage.

I looked at Accuweather, it says the temps will slip down into the 20’s over Thanksgiving. I try to get myself mentally prepared by thinking warm thoughts and stowing away a hot meal.

My husband made a pot of chili with beans and whatever else he felt like throwing in there.

This is my husband’s version of chili with beans.

I won’t lie – that’s Jiffy cornbread. Have you noticed, corn meal is expensive lately? What’s with that? I find the Jiffy mix for .99 at Walmart.  

Ever wonder why Jiffy is America’s Favorite? Sit down – it’s LARD. Yes, it’s in the mix. This was shocking to me when I first read the ingredients, in today’s health conscious America? But my grandma stored bacon grease in a tin on her stove top and used it for biscuits and frying chicken, and in my dreams I walk in the aroma of her kitchen.

Of course, our kitchen smells pretty good these days. It’s that wonderful time of year for stew and beans and all kinds of casserole dishes, corn bread, banana bread, soda biscuits, all the good stuff. 

Winter’s not so bad. 









Coffee break after a long and interesting day

I’m taking a break from chores, all I can think of is chores.

Monday, when it was dumping, I happened to notice one of my tenant’s rain gutters was clogged. It was pouring and cold outside, I decided to take a look at it later. Today, as I was tidying up around the driveway, I noticed, the water had poured so hard out the other end of that section of gutter, sticking off one corner of the house, it had made a depression on the ground.

So, you know me – I bent over and picked up the first stick I saw, and I stuck it up the downspout hole – SPLASH! The single sycamore leaf that was holding all that water back popped over the side of the gutter and a burst of water hit me about mid-torso, soaking the front of my pants. It was so cold – I almost pee’d myself too!  Yeah, there was water stuck up there – only about 4 feet of gutter – and it just kept pouring out of there for over a minute.

I realized, all the  gutters are full again too. Ye dam-ned trees! I got a longer stick and went around to all the downspouts, poking and prodding, all clear. But this weekend I will have to get on a ladder with my handy-dandy scooper made out of a an old soda bottle and harvest some leaf mash. MMMMM-Good!

I ain’t doing it today, I had enough of grubby jobs, I came in the house to have a cuppa java with my close friend and constant companion, Arthur Itis.  Arthur told me not to stick that stick up there, but I didn’t listen to him.

One job I will try to get to today is plant garlic. I didn’t do garlic last year because I did lettuce and herbs instead.  I didn’t plant lettuce in time, I just plain forgot about it. I might try it in the green house later this year, and then move it into the garden in spring. For now I’m going to plant some garlic. I found out, I can grow better garlic than I been getting at the store lately.

I  cleaned my garlic beds but I couldn’t find the heavy piece of wire fencing that I lay over the top, so by the next morning the squirrels had torn it all up. They like to put their nuts in there, the squirrelly bastards. I looked all over the property for my piece of wire, which is exactly the right size to cover the bed and real heavy so the squirrels can’t get under it.  I finally accused my husband of taking it to the dump – and then I remembered, senile old biddy – I had laid it over the compost hole we’d filled in earlier this summer to keep the dogs and the coons from digging it up. It was still there, the weeds had grown over it a little, but none the worse for wear. How embarrassing – I should know my husband better, he is also a hoarder of weird stuff, he never takes anything to the dump until the last bit of life has been used out of it.

We went to a neighbor’s yard sale last year , his father-in-law had died and they were cleaning out the house. The old man kept bees, we’d bought honey off him before, real good. There were tables loaded with all kinds of tools, shop and household gadgets from years and years of living. I spied a really neat flour sifter – still had somebody’s gramma’s greasy fingerprints etched into the tin, you could just imagine her fat old hands rolling out biscuit dough daily.  I use it almost every day, they don’t make them like this anymore. What did my husband buy? An old beekeeper’s smoker, the leather almost turned to wood. “What do you need that for?” I asked. He said, “It’s neat, they don’t make them like this anymore…” I had to agree. It’s on the junk shelf in the shop, next to an old fruit crate with my grandfather’s name stenciled on the side.


Today my husband spent the morning trying to set up new cell phone service. We have had it with T-Mobile – first the service just sucked, have to walk out to the street to use the phone. Then about a month ago they sent us a letter saying, their security had been breached, and our SSN’s were out there!

So, first thing the idiot at Verizon demands is my husband’s SSN. My husband was flustered, wanted to say No!, ended up screwing up his SSN. Oops! Now they needed proof of ID – other than his driver’s license? But you have to go along or you don’t get a phone, so he had to come home and have me rifle the filing cabinet for his card, still in the piece of blue paper they’d given his mother. I’ve got all that stuff socked away, buried, in a locking cabinet behind other stuff also buried. We got in and dug it out, and then he left. That was two hours and 40 minutes ago. He’s still sitting at Verizon, but says he thinks he’ll be out of there sometime this century.

He’s watching this homeless couple, camped in a parking space in the parking lot. Dogs and everything. He says right now the man is laid out in his sleeping bag, apparently asleep. If he sleeps by day, what’s he doing all night?

Today I got an alert from Nextdoor

about car break-ins around town. A couple of people theorize they are dealing with the same man – I think it’s a guy I’ve seen and my friends have seen – we call him The Walkin’ Dude (my apologies to Stephen King). He walks around town arguing with invisible people. People report he’s been coming right onto their property to break into their cars, but they haven’t caught him in the act, don’t have anything to give the police.

I know who they’re talking about – I recently encountered him at One Mile, one sunny morning as I rode home from a meeting Downtown. He looked me right in the face and said, “Oh yeah, you really think you’re something…” I wanted to burst out laughing, but stared straight ahead. I’m sick of these human boogers. 

When my friend caught this man trying to get in his front gate, he confronted him directly. He screamed at the man and threatened him with brutal physical violence. He reportedly told him, “you go ahead and walk down my street, but if you so much as slow down in front of my house, I’m going to kill you.” This I got from my friends’ older brother and roommate, who watched from the front porch. 

Scuse my friend, he lives on a busy street with lots of freaks around and he has a young grandson to worry about. He’s asked the city for help but they just sent him a traffic study to fill out.  He put that fence in specifically because of this creep, who walks by every day shouting threats of every nature.  He built a sturdy gate with a good latch. He posted a No Trespassing sign, like Chico PD told him to do. The idea that this fucker would just walk in was too much for him. Me too. He has a lock on the gate now, which is difficult to fumble with in the dark, but makes everybody feel safer, I’m guessing, especially The Walkin’ Dude.  My friend is nobody to fuck with, and that’s pretty clear. When he tells you he is going to kill you, you believe it.

Walkin’ Dude is on Chico PD’s radar, my friend sees them talking to him all the time, but they never arrest him.  The folks on Nextdoor theorize he has a partner to whom he hands the stolen merchandise immediately – crazy like a fox, eh? This is the kind of person Butte County Behavioral Health is spending some $7 million a year of our tax dollars trying to accommodate in our town. 

Well, got to collect the laundry before it gets dark. 






Been Nextdoor?

We just realized our neighborhood is about to change, just when we were getting comfortable the way things were. Our neighbor is putting her house on the market, just when we’d managed a decent nod and smile arrangement over the fence, dammit.

Here I worry about my neighborhood changing with a home sale. Recently I found out, my neighborhood can change from day to day, and I won’t know anything unless there’s a problem.

Have you been to “Nextdoor”? This is a website touted by the Chico Police that is supposed to help neighbors network in a secure atmosphere.

For one thing, when you register, they ask for personal information which is supposed to verify your address. They want to know you actually live in Chico, in a specific neighborhood, and you’re not lurking for whatever nefarious reasons.  I didn’t want to give my SSN, or my credit card number, so I had to ask them to send a postcard to my address. There was a glitch and they screwed up my address, but luckily we have a mailman who is familiar with the neighborhood, and he used my name to deliver the card.

I had to ask for “Help” to get registered with my card, since of course the non-existent address they’d assigned me didn’t exist in their database either. Glitches, glitches, glitches. All in all it took me about a week to get registered, with help from their faceless staff, and I never had to compromise my private information. Which is important to me since about a month ago we got a notice that T-Mobile had a security breach and our SSN’s might have been given out by mistake. Great!

One I got registered and got my sign in information figured out, I dove in to explore the site. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I was hoping for some sort of bulletin board on which we could post and find information about criminal activities around town. Several of my neighbors have been burglarized, including cars broken into in broad daylight during a wedding at the church across the street. I was hoping this would be a site where we could post that kind of information, not only for our own knowledge but for Chico PD.

I did find some chatter about various activities – a strange man jiggling a doorknob, a bike stolen, a bike found, stuff like that. But many of the posts are about garage sales, offering or looking for various services, somebody collecting candy for the troups, etc. Yeah, kind of a bulletin board. I will say, there’s been nothing really inappropriate, I haven’t been contacted by anybody trying to sell me anything, but I realize, the professional people are hoping to get some business out of it. That’s fine.

You can fix your settings to receive updates about as often as you want. I was getting an e-mail every time somebody “thanked” somebody else, so I fixed my settings so I only get “urgent notices”. I  can log-in and check the conversation when I want.

The most interesting conversation so far has been about  “air bnb”. This is a website by which you can rent out your house to any Tom, Dick, or Harriet you feel comfortable entertaining.–CA–United-States?guests=1&checkin=&checkout=&ss_id=rw13bf1n&ss_preload=true&source=bb

The conversation got a little hot – the woman who initiated was worried about her neighbors, who keep their RV in their side yard so they can rent their entire house out. She says parking has been an issue, but being a landlady, I’m sure she knows what other problems might arise.

Right now, the board of Supervisors has just ok’d a plan by which every motel in Chico will be paying into a “tourism district” – or their guests will pay, that is, a two percent fee tacked onto their bill like a booger. Hotel patrons might feel gouged – well, it’s kind of what you pay to use our town like a toilet, okay? I pay fees when I stay at hotels in other towns, and I’m damned glad to have the services they provide. In a tourist economy, it’s essential.

In past Chico had the “second unit conversation”, during which a group of people wanted to ban second units and require anybody who owns one to occupy the property if they intend to rent either the first or second unit. That was an ugly conversation – the upshoot was a zone around campus where there will be no permits given for second units and I think they might have added owner occupation, I can’t remember. I do remember, it was a really ugly little battle during which many people around this town made it clear they have no use for renters.

The same crowd reared their ugly head when we had the “disorderly events” conversation. That was an attempt by Chico PD to put a fine on landlords of houses where parties were held, make the landlord responsible for “response costs” of fire and police, including the salaries of every cop and fireman who shows up, and that includes OVERTIME.  Landlords rejected this policy.

When the disorderly events ordinance did not include landlord responsibility, they brought in the “social host” ordinance.  The cops said they’d get to an out-of-control party and nobody would take responsibility – the tenant can just refuse to talk to the cops, even sneak out a back door, and if nobody else at the party ID’s this person, the landlord is left on the hook. At one point in the conversation it was suggested that landlords who put a clause in their lease would at least have a leg to stand on – they could sue their tenants for the money they’d shelled out, that is, if they could afford to go to court after the cops got done turning them upside down and shaking all the money out of their pockets.

So, here we are with air bnb. There are people in this town who act like all landlords are creeps and criminals, we all take a bunch of rent and we run these whorehouses out of control and have no respect for our neighbors, right? Well, how do you think it’s going to be when the tenants are in and out of town within 48 hours? Or less? 

I realize, people have been encouraged to rent their homes out short term for graduation, when hotels in every direction are packed to the gills. Air bnd is nothing new. But if I found out my neighbor was doing it I’d be worried. 








Getting ready for Winter

Well, be careful what you ask for, eh? That’s what I thought every time I looked out the window yesterday. The rain had started when I was taking the dogs for a walk, it was precisely 7am by our clock. By 4pm I wondered if it had let up for a half hour the entire day.

Our rain barrels were already full, so I attached hoses to drain them away from the house. I sure wish I had a big tank to store rainwater, I wonder what that would do to the water dynamic in town if people started installing tanks in their back yard.

I kept myself entertained in the house yesterday.  Dumping rain and mud slicks in every direction outside, I finally got motivated to do chores like,  wash my kitchen cabinets. There were spider webs strung out between the cabinets and the ceiling, knickknacks covered with greasy dust puppies, the cabinets dull except where fingers constantly polish the corners. This is the kind of job I have to be stranded inside on a rainy day to do, but wow, I always love to get it done. First I washed everything with Murphy’s Oil Soap, that didn’t take long, although I had to change the water in the sink a couple of times. Then I rubbed in a dose of Old English furniture polish – makes the kitchen shiny and the house smell lemony fresh. Which is good, because I didn’t get around to cleaning the p-traps before the storm set in.

I’ll tell you what, after that electric storm Monday (ka-BOOM!), I been thinking about the next one. My husband and I went out the other day and bought a new generator to back up our old one. We’ve had to loan out our generator at times, so we didn’t want to get caught without again.

We also bought an absolutely ridiculous size box of AA batteries – oh yeah, we had flash lights out the pa-toot last Monday, hardly a good battery in any one of them. I know – that storm was over fast, and the crews were able to get right out and fix stuff. But there’s always Next Time. And The Time After That. Don’t forget That Other Time.

Summer has finally let go, Fall halfway through, and Winter will dig her icy fingers in soon. I saw frost on my neighbor’s roof right after that last storm, so I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning out the green house for my sensitive plants. It had been too hot to spend much time inside there – just a week ago I went in to take a look, and the 3:00 sun stifled me right out the door. Now it’s cold and damp, the inside of the greenhouse offers some shelter to my little army of aloe vera plants.

I started propagating aloe vera from my original plant about a year ago, after I found out how good the sap is for my eczema, both as a salve and an addition to my morning smoothie.  They grow like crazy, and have so many shoots I have to keep dividing them into new pots.  I have so many now, I have considered selling a few, but I’m a hoarder at heart, it makes me feel wealthy to have so many.  I go out every morning and slice off a few leaves without worrying about damaging the plants, they grow so fast.

While I had started growing them for the sap, I see they’ve transformed my patio into a garden. They are beautiful, the bigger the pot, the bigger they get. A couple of them are too big to move, I’ll have to cover them with a sheet when the time comes.

At this time a week ago we had no idea what was coming. That’s going to make me paranoid all morning.