Almost ‘Eclipsed’ and still itching

This is what the day looks like on the day of the ‘Eclipse.’

I must be jaded.

I know that the eclipse situation is exciting, that I could even go a couple hundred miles south for a perfect sighting, and yet I have no great desire. Must be the lack of the scientist within me.

I sense that given the right context, I might become downright enthusiastic.

I recall in my youth, grabbing the numerous black slides that we had, putting them together, and watching a pretty good eclipse, certainly not like the one we are having today.

Chicago’s version will be less spectacular but I am guessing that if the cloud cover is not there, it will be pretty good.

I am unmotivated.

I am having trouble getting moving this morning. I did feed Stewie and did my morning routine, but since I am going out to lunch in the city with wonderful friends, I am not overly motivated to do anything else.

My leg is itching, still a fallen victim to the poison ivy in my yard, the poison ivy that I didn’t think existed.

That will teach me. I remember full well looking at the plant and thinking that I always assume something is poison ivy and it ends up not actually being that. I remember touching it (strangely I have nothing on my hands) and thinking, “Am I playing with fire?”

Apparently, I was playing with fire.

So it is cloudy, the eclipse is on the way, whether or not it will be very visible is another story, and I itch.

Where is the Ivarest?

Posted in Life in general, Plants, Poison Ivy, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Itchy!

I guess I have poison ivy rash.

Judging from what I have seen illustrating it online, I have a very mild case. So far, it is easy to keep from scratching although the itch is pretty much omnipresent. My biggest worry was while I was sleeping, hoping that I would not scratch in my sleep. So far, all is good.

My tick bite is getting better and although I thought that the pesky, extremely annoying insect was embedded in my skin, it now looks as if it is gone.

All I can think about is that I need to attend to the area of my yard, at the northwest corner of my house, that needs some attention. I do not want to have poison ivy (or whatever the heck it is) there to attack us.

I am waiting for the day when I don pants and socks to attend to the removal of the fun plants.

Who would have ever thought that I would find this in my own yard?

The day is sunny, hot, and I am chomping at the bit. I so want to do nothing, I have limited myself to one activity, but I know myself well enough to realize that I will find things that need my attention and cause me to lose sight of my plan to behave and ‘take it easy.’

I shall report back on my success as I try to keep my almost invisible ‘poison ivy’ under control

Posted in Life in general, Plants, Poison Ivy, Thoughts and philosophy, Ticks | Leave a comment

Ticked and Ivied

The other day I was on the north side of my house and trimming a bush I had missed. I couldn’t help but notice the overgrowth of things, which somehow I have avoided.

I did my trimming, removed some wild grapes that were growing, and yanked at an odd looking vine-like plant I had noticed before.

Apparently I got a tick and a bit of poison ivy.

I have never experienced poison ivy before; I had pretty much thought I might be immune. The tick freaks me out because in all my thirty years of living in this house, I have never seen or gotten a tick. Actually, I have never even had a tick at all.

On Thursday, I noticed that I had a strange tiny black spot on my leg. I thought I had a splinter. On Friday, it was a bit red and so on Friday evening I had MK check it out. She has removed many a tick and this was questionable. There was no head; whatever it was was totally embedded under the skin.

I ended up calling my doctor, she is out of town, but her doctor husband was taking calls. He felt that I should go to Urgent Care and probably be put on Doxycycline in a preventative way. I went and yes, they think I have a tick. The odd thing is that they don’t remove it!

I am going to have to don pants every time I work on the plants in between our house and the one north of us. I guess the heavy, rainy summer we have had has been a boon to ticks.

Luckily, the poison ivy, if that is what I have, is almost nothing and barely making me itch. Fun on the North Shore.

Posted in Household and yard tasks, Life in general, Poison Ivy, Thoughts and philosophy, Ticks | Leave a comment

An Evening with Coldplay

I hate crowds. Ask me if I am going to ‘Lollapalooza’ and I will ask you if you are crazy. I don’t often go willingly into those situations. If it is excessively hot, that is even more intolerable.

I went to Soldier Field for the first time the other day. Obviously I am not a huge football fan; otherwise I would already have been there. I went for Coldplay and a concert. A gift of two tickets I received from a son and ‘daughter’ for Christmas and my birthday.

I had been to a Coldplay concert before at the United Center a few years ago. It was wonderful, everything I had hoped it would be.

This one was as well and made up for my foray into the heavy-duty crowd of some 60,000 human beings packed into a stadium.

I love music. I would pretty much play it all the time, if I could. As a kid I would study to music and the sound of the TV. I use it as a background sound. Good music makes me happy.

I learned some time ago that if I am doing a task I find hard that it is a good idea to play a certain type of music to help me find my mojo and work through it.

In the beginning, the music was (and still is) the Beatles. The next group was America, which is a really important feel-good music for me. The Bee Gees came next and then I moved into Coldplay. The other day when I was painting, Coldplay and the Beatles helped me over my initial difficulties with a new type of paint and helped put me in a good mood.

The concert was set for 7:00 PM and there were two opening acts: Izzy Bizu and Alunageorge. I found Izzy to be a great singer but not one that was best showcased in a huge stadium like Soldier Field. Alunageorge was a good group but didn’t send me for whatever reason. At 9:00, Coldplay began, our provided dual wristbands flashing colors, making the stadium go from red to yellow, to purple, to multicolor in an impressive display. The music was wonderful, the showmanship impressive, the pyrotechnics amazing, the fireworks with falling butterflies, cool, and the arching flames dramatic. The day was perfect, the clouds threatening, and we did have a quick moment of a gust of wind and a five-minute drizzle.

I was overwhelmed. I never even said anything to MK, but at times I could not have spoken had I wanted to. The music was touching and touched my very soul, for some reason. I felt as if the pressure of the awful times we are living through had lifted for a short moment, just enough for me to see clearly and realize something.

Hope.

There is hope, we just need the courage and stamina to be patient as we persevere. This too shall pass.

At one point, we all sang ‘Amazing Grace,’ which pretty much blew me away.

They did their song, ‘Kaleidoscope’ and had the words put on the screen as they did. Although there was not much mention of the political scene, Chris Martin managed to quietly put in his statement at certain moments.

Here are the words to Kaleidoscope:

this being human is a guest house
every morning a new arrival
a joy, a depression, a meanness
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor

welcome and entertain them all!

be grateful for whoever comes
because each has been sent
as a guide

I have listened to this song many times and it never had the significance that it did when I heard it on Thursday evening.

The Coldplay concert brought together old and young, and people of every color and persuasion. I am forever grateful to my son and daughter for the chance to have experienced this one hundred thirty-five minutes of solid Coldplay live.

Posted in Life in general, Music, The Scandal of the 2016 Presidential Elections, Thoughts and philosophy, Uncategorized, Wall painting | Leave a comment

A Cherry Pitter that really works!

When a friend of mine told me about a cherry pitter that works, I had to play the role of ‘Doubting Thomas.’ I have seen my share of cherry pitters in my day and frankly none of them has reasonably worked.

When we were in Stratford, we stopped in ‘Bradshaw’s,’ the kitchen store in which we have found more than one wonderful item to take back with us. We had glanced at a cherry pitter, since we are going through so many cherries these days, and didn’t really have a good chance to look at it. I thought that I needed to have a quick discussion with my friend before even thinking of making a purchase.

We came home and MK went online and checked out reviews and I got in touch with Joel to see which one he had. He had told me of buying sour and sweet cherries and taking his pitter and doing the whole lot of them in one fell swoop. He also told me that he washes it in the dishwasher and has had it for a number of years. I, of course, had visions of macerated cherries filled with pits that somehow missed the whole reason for the tool.

We found out which one, it matched one that MK had found in a ‘Cook’s Illustrated’ review and moved forward toward purchasing. Amazon.com was our choice and we quickly moved forward.

The pitter came and we tried it out, it is worth the hype, it really works. It has an interior tray that let’s you choose either black cherries or sour cherries (according to the size). You can do four at a time. We don’t have any sour cherries at the moment, but we do have sweet black cherries. We also have a grandson who loves to eat them and we have been pitting them by hand. Now we can do four at a time, putting them in the tray, pushing down, and finding the cherry pits in the lower tray and nice, neat holes in the cherries.

I keep thinking of the cherry clafoutis I have seen in France that have cherries with pits in them. This would allow you to have a very decorative clafoutis that you would have to look at carefully to realize that the cherries had been pitted.

What a great thing. Now that I am finished I realize that I must really have no life if I am writing about cherry pitters!

Posted in Canada, Cooking, Cuisine and Food, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment