Sunsets

There is something about a beautiful sunset that turns me on. Over the years I have been photographing the end of day event trying to get that perfect scene. I want perfect hues of pink and orange with shades of grey blue with plenty of sky and clouds, and a streak of orange light streaming toward me over the water. I came close a couple of times and have the photos hanging in my house. I tried again last night, and it might be the one I have been longing for.

What a beautiful way to end a great July day. The only thing missing was Taps.

As good as I think this photo is I believe there is an even better one in the days ahead.

Wabbit Wars: Attack on Sum and Substance

The cell has been in deep sleep for the past three years. There was not a single thread of visibility during that time, and the gardener wondered what had happened. Had he finally succeeded in destroying them? The question circled through his mind all summer long as he continued to surveil the garden for signs of weird plant damage. Nothing, until this week. The gardener had transplanted some Hosta plants to revise his yearly scheme for the Monet Vision (his garden). He didn’t have a theme for 2020 but since he was about to sell his house and garden to move into a retirement community he thought it best make it a lower maintenance scene.

Instead of planting succulent annual flowers like petunias he would just rearrange the perennials which were over grown. The Wabbits love petunias and leave the perennials alone he thought. “I will kill two birds with one stone”, he said to himself, “lower maintenance and less expense of buying flashy annuals.” There will be less color, but if done properly the design and layout will compensate for the lack of color. Besides, I’ll add some annuals as a little splash of pizzazz.

Time passed after the transplant and the Gardener began to see some strange effects on the smaller Hosta plants. He noticed that they were weak in appearance, and by now they should have begun to flourish. Hmmnn, strange that these usually hardy plants look so feeble here in the new spot. Could it be they are getting too much sun? Another week passes and he sees the foliage on his miniature Hosta’s become even worse. “I may have to replant these he thought.”

What a Sum and Substance Hosta Should Look Like
What a Wabbit Terror Attack Does To A Healthy Sum and Substance

Then, this morning when the gardener raised the window shade overlooking the garden, he saw it. An invasion in progress. The Wabbit sat at the edge of his Sum and Substance with a giant bright green leave bobbing in his mouth as he chewed. Instinctively, the gardener snapped the lock on the sliding glass door to make a loud cracking noise. The Wabbit leaped, took one bound and disappeared. The Terror Cell is alive and exposed he thought.

Let the war begin. What devious means will I use to get him to leave the yard? He thought he had outwitted him by moving a plant they never touch, but to his surprise, the Rabbit decided it was just what he needed to please his palate.

There are two things I can do, thought the gardener. One, I can let the river run again. He had stopped the flow of water from the waterfall for stream-bed maintenance, and forcing the Wabbit to cross a water barrier will make it harder. Second a mesh of poultry-barrier across another entrance to this bed will also make it harder for him to invade.

There is one thing the gardener will not stand for in his yard, i.e terrorism by any intruder, be it an invasive species like thistle or dandelion, or rabbit. Garden terrorism is a costly detriment to the appearance of the Monet Vision, it must be stopped.

to be continued. . . .

Day 70-SIP-Movies

Thank God for streaming. If it weren’t for movies on demand I would have gone nuts during the past seventy days. In fact, I would have gone mad after Peg’s death if it were not for films. It all began when my financial advisor a forty something person asked me if I ever used Amazon Prime, On Demand, or Netflix and I responded huh? He walked me through the steps I would take on my remote and I went to work. It was a new adventure for me since I am not that adventurous anymore, not that I ever was a thrill seeker. However, I must admit that I have done a lot f things many of my friends wouldn’t even think about doing.

I love to keep logs, and always have. I love reviewing my journals and remembering bike rides I took, or projects I worked on. After Peg died people would ask me how I was spending my time. I would answer I watch movies, and read books. “Which movie,” they would respond and even though I could tell you the entire plot and all the characters if you asked me for the title, I couldn’t remember, nor can I remember the names of the actors unless they are from the fifties. So, I began to keep a log of movie titles. Then people would say, “gosh, I never heard of that one, when was it made?” From that point on I began keeping the year a movie was made also. I have seen so many stories that now when I look at the list, I have to strain to remember a single character. When I finally connect with one the story gradually comes back to me.

When I was a kid we got a bonus when the theater offered a double feature. We saw coming attractions, two cartoons, a newsreel, and two full length films for the price of one. Now I watch as much as I can bear in the comfort of my home without commercials.

Since Peg’s departure I have logged 180 films. Now I’m wondering what I did on the days when I didn’t watch a movie. I know I was hooked on Homeland for all eight seasons with thirteen episodes in each that leaves me with 81 days when I didn’t watch a film. I guess I still watch regular tv once in awhile.

Thankfully, the films are all rated. I never watch one that has less than a fifty rating, there is at least one actor that I recognize, and the title is a magnet. None of what I have watched is a stupid comic book hero or an action movie filled with car crashes, and the like. The stories I look for have to be about real people who suffer all the ills of living. I guess one could call that drama. I tend to also like romantic comedy.

Below, I have included the list of my movies. I recommend about forty percent of them as excellent stories and another forty percent as good stories, and about twenty percent as don’t waste your time. Which is which I can not say, I don’t remember them all. Usually, if I can’t remember the story line of a film it is because I thought it a waste of my time. How many of these films have you seen?

Movies:
Love By The Book
Lucky in Love
Mail Order Bride
Abduction
Angry Angel
For Better or for Worse
How To Fall in Love
Love Blossoms
Love by the Book
My Boyfriends Dogs
Site Unseen
Angels In The Endzone
Letters to Juliet
Blue Streak
Cluny Brown 1946
Early Summer 1951
The Bank Job ****
Fun With Dick and Jane
American Gangster
An Affair to Remember*****
The A Team
Intern
In the Line of Fire
The Bridge On the River Kwai*****
Cowboys and Aliens
At War With the Army
Magnum Force
Like Cats and Dogs
The Heist****
Echo
12 Dates to Christmas***
Edge of the Garden
An Old Fashioned Christmas
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
A Belle for Christmas
A Christmas Too Many
Love the Coopers
Christmas Caper
Pizza My Heart
The Gambler, The Girl and The Gunslinger
Freshman Father
Cancel Christmas
Christmas Cupid
The National Tree
So You Said Yes
Holiday Joy
Smart Cookies
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2*****
A Christmas Story
Goodnight for Justice
Goodnight for Justice the Measure of a Man
Goodnight for Justice Queen
Miracle on Christmas Lake****
The Wizard of Oz
A Christmas Carol
That Music Teacher****
Call Me Klaus
This Christmas
McFarland USA*****
St. Vincent*****
Hannah’s Law
The Family
Snow
Snow 2
The Holiday
Jack and Jill
The Family Man
Focus
The Giver
The Wild Girl
You Can Count on Me
The Next Three Days
Wanderlust
This Is Where I Leave You
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Central Intelligence
The Case for Christmas
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Deliveryman
No Attached
Inside Man
Hostage
Aloha
Blue plane
Beauty and the Beast
Dead Man Down
Never go back
Burnt
Green fingers
Broke Back Mountain
Being Rose
All Saints
The Devil’s Own
Boundaries
An Unfinished Life
Nobody’s Fool
The Time of Their Lives
How Do You Know
Solitary Man
Banger Sisters****
White Boy Rick****
The Missing
Whatever Works
Where the Rivers Flow North
The Wife*****
Last Cab To Darwin*****
Malena
Ruby Gentry
Secrets of the Summer House
The Savages
Midnight in Paris****
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Pride and Prejudice
The Grey
The Bourne Ultimatum*****
In the Line of Fire
Heavens Gate
Loopers
Excalibur
The Bog Lebowski****
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day****
Still Alice
Mud
Australia*****
The Man From Snowy River
Boyz n the Hood
Primary Colors
My Best Friends Wedding
American Made
Bohemian Rhapsody*****
A Star Is Born****
Days of Heaven
Heaven
Marley and Me*****
The Italian Job*****
Midnight Run
Get Out
Thelma and Louise*****
Logan
The Grace of Jake
Web of Dreams
Safe House
Secondhand Lions
Pleasantville
Elena
King and I*****
The House
A Dogs Way Home*****
The Kingdom
A Bag of Marbles*****
Eye In the Sky
The Sugarland Express
Living Out Loud
The Help
Adaptation
House Boat(1958)****
No Way Out(1988)
Blue Jasmine(2013)
Election(1999)
Bad Education(2019)
A Dog’s Journey(2019)*****
The Goldfinch(2019)*****
Invisible Life(2019)
Private Lives of Pippa Lee(2009)****
Tater Tot & Patton(2019)*****
The Orchard(2018)***
Definitely Maybe(2008)
Our Idiot Brother(2011)****
Hotel Artemis(2018)****
Queen of Hearts(1989)*****
The Visitor(2008)
At Eternity’s Gate(2018)*****
Brad’s Status(2017)****
Daisy Winters(2019)****
Cas &Dylan(2015)****
Hide Away(2011)*****

Day 60-SIP-Blogs, VLOGS, Videos, and Podcasts

As part of my routine of killing time everyday while in place and hiding from COVID-19, I listen to a lot of radio through my hearing aids. I have a blue tooth pendant that hangs around my neck that connects my iPhone to the hearing aids. Hell, I spent a fortune on that phone so I am going to get some use out of it, the same with the hearing aids. The system also feeds TV into my ears, and of course the telephone, i.e. if the connections are all made. What are the connections you ask? Number one the bluetooth pendant has to be charged and turned on, then it must be paired with the phone, once that is done I have to connect the phone to my hearing aids. It only took me two years of trial and error to understand and make all those connections. It all takes but 10 seconds to accomplish. Old folks don’t adapt too fast to these new fangled contraptions.

Another time waster is watching Youtube videos. My grand daughter kind of pointed me to that when I asked her what her favorite TV show was. Her response, “I don’t watch TV.”

“How do you find entertainment,” I asked?

“I watch Youtube videos.” That is what pushed me into watching Youtube. At first it was to learn how to cook. I found that if a recipe exists there will be any number of chefs making videos on how to combine the ingredients. I have gotten so spoiled watching cooking videos that now before I attempt to do anything I will search Youtube and watch other people do it. Some are fantastic entertainment and some are so so. What I’m learning about with this is that: 1. people make videos in the hope of making money, and 2. people would rather learn by watching than by reading and understanding a recipe.

Oma is a carbon copy of my mother.

Another thing I have become acquainted with through streaming are Podcasts. When my favorite radio programs are over and I am still in my shop grinding wood or glueing, I listen to Podcasts. First I found Fox News Channel with all my favorite people, and discovered that they are not broadcasting live news they are streaming podcasts and turning conversation into something entertaining and also educational. A favorite is listening to Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss politics, or history.

A few months ago I was in conference with my financial advisor. He asked me how I spend my time now that Peg is gone. I told hm I was struggling trying to find suitable TV that was worth watching, but that I loved reality programs. He told me about how new companies like Amazon, Netflix, etc. are now doing original programming to compete with network broadcasters. So, I checked out what Amazon has. Since I already subscribe for their Prime shipping service I also get what is termed their streaming service. Streaming allows a person to tune in to a program at the moment you are ready to watch it. There is no need to remember to watch at a specific time. You find a program, and click watch and it happens on the spot. Needless to say, I got hooked on a several of their original programs and love watching TV this way. It allows me to turn on the set when I am ready to see something and to see it immediately.

If all of this sounds old to you remember I am old and it takes longer for this kind of stuff to register as useful. Long gone are the days when I was entertained by a floor model radio that had a speaker as large a pizza that I sat in front of with my ear glued to the sound. Those were the good old days. The good old days are different now, we sit in front of a huge color picture screen with high definition picture and stream material we never could have imagined before.

The use of these new technologies has inspired me to wonder if I shouldn’t be getting into making videos and/or podcasts. Grumpa Joes Place is my number one vehicle to spout off steam and to talk without actually speaking. I like writing because words seems to flow from my mind easier than does speech. One of my speech problems is that I always say the opposite of what I actually mean. If I want to tell you to use your right hand to do something, it will come out as use your left hand. Or, if I want to tell you the sky is blue it will come out the sky is grey. I have done this repeatedly for years and I believe it is some form of dyslexia. Anyway, I want to try videos and podcasting as a form of expression. At this point though, I don’t know my rectum from a hole in the ground.

One Idea I have for a podcast is to promote Lions. I would interview Lions Club Presidents and discuss what he does with his club to serve the community. With over 46,000 Lions clubs in the world I think I have some work to do. One curiosity leads me to compare club size to town population. In the nineteen eighties Frankfort population was 2500 residents, but the Lions had 130 members. Today, Frankfort population is near 20, 000 residents and the single Lions Club has seventy members. Why so? Take another example, the La Moille, IL Lions club has thirty members and a town population of 750. What are they doing that is so different from Frankfort? I think I could use that kind of information to make an interesting video for Lions all across the world.

My body clock is running down and I have a lot of work to do before the main spring finally reaches the end and stops ticking. This pursuit however, may make life more interesting along the way. What ever I do, I’ll give you a report on Grumpa Joes Place in the future.

Day 57 a.m.-Traffic

This morning I had to attend to a number of errands which I have been putting off until such a time it was worth risking a trip into the public forum; Post Office, Accountant, Bank. One thing I noticed was the greatly increased traffic since my last venture out. This can only mean that people are beginning to lose interest in COVID-19 and are giving Governor Pritzker the finger for his directives.

Otherwise, it is a beautiful spring day in Illinois, the sun is actually shining. This will bring out people en-mass to the walking paths. The dogs in the community seem to be losing interest in their owners sudden burst of energy for exercise. Many are no longer leading on the leash, but rather lagging and requiring a tug to move forward. Although the dogs navigate on scents, and with so many dogs marking the same routes there are many new and interesting chums to check out.

My Tuesday Night Stray Bar Club meeting on Zoom is also beginning to lose members who opt to do other things. It just isn’t the same drinking as a group within without social distancing rules. Pouring your neighbor more wine is not possible, so the ability to get a hot lady high is just not happening. Not that the group is so crazy as to cohabit, but the conviviality, and bawdiness of the conversation makes for more fun.

As soon as I hit the post button I will descend into the bowels of my home to the wood shop to make dust on my new project. I began with a burst of enthusiasm, but over the last couple of days I have faltered and ignored the project, the same has happened with my garden goals. Sunny days should be spent in the garden and rainy days in the shop. The prediction for today was for rain, therefore my desire to grind wood, and not transplant perennials. The ground is still cold and the plants will be healthier if I leave them alone for another week.

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