Locust Leaves

The locust leaves are insidious.

The locust leaves are everywhere, as pretty as they are, causing us to pull out the current version of the ‘electric broom’ and do our best to remove them.

Stewie, who should have been trained as a duster, given the beautiful, full tail and fur he has and a tail mimicking a commercial dust wand, manages to find them outside and in the house, entrapping them for a moment, then in a total self-cleaning mode, depositing them wherever he happens to plop down.

They are impossible to keep up with at this time of the year.

Cleaning our front and back stoops are totally a necessity as they get loaded with the beautiful, gold gems, and then come in on our shoes and on Stewie’s fur. Yesterday, we completely cleaned off both stoops. The first thing I saw this morning was the back stoop, loaded with gold from the back tree, ready to make a trip indoors.

I have not yet talked about the little golden leaves, but I am fed up with them.

I just read a book by Richard Powers entitled, ‘The Overstory,’ a book he won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for…an amazing read. I love my little gold locust leaves. I am sorry for complaining.

The book is fiction but it details a very unique book about trees, tree life, climate change, and Mother Nature. It talks about the destruction of virgin forests in the USA and throughout the world and how that devastation is going to be our undoing.

I cannot complain any longer about my locust leaves, the jewels of trees that are doing more than sometimes annoying me, but providing me with life.

Thank you, Mother Nature.

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A day with Grandma and Papi

It is approaching two o’clock and I am sitting down, quiet for the first time in the day, listening to the dishwasher and the Grandfather clock.

We picked up the youngest two grandkids at 8:30 AM and brought them home. I had a doctor’s appointment at 10:00 so I went there, stopped for a few necessities at the grocery store, and came home.

By the time I came home, the two older grandkids had just arrived.

All the kids were home from school. Our youngest, who would have had pre-school, stayed with all of us, as it would have been hard for him to accept the others all being together without him.

We have done many a thing this morning. First, we were all outside, with the oldest grandchild organizing the games. Then inside, to do some projects Grandma had come up with from a visit to Joann Fabrics. That lasted a long time.

Lunch came and the infamous ‘soupy woopy’ from Uncle Mikey. Great chicken stock with some Italian noodles. We are out of the Hungarian favorites and need to get there for some more. While everyone was doing crafts, I was working on making the crêpes, having made the batter yesterday. It took a while and although I though I had made way too many, we ended up with one left (there is still a small amount of batter in the refrigerator). Luckily, MK and I managed to each have one (lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar).

I just finished cleaning up the kitchen and although the dishwasher was empty, we somehow managed to fill it, which is why the dishwasher is being used.

Just another day in the Koerner household.

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Update on my language study of Hungarian

I bought this in France. I study Hungarian via French. Now how is that for interesting language study.

Here is an update on my Hungarian work to date. I have no idea where I am going with this but I do know several things: language learning as a senior is a plus as it works a part of the brain that helps counter the effects or arrival of dementia, it is good memory work, and because of the way I am doing it, it helps my cursive.

My cursive is a mess.

Not using it often enough has caused it to change and what I really don’t like is that I have to consciously slow my hand down as otherwise it becomes a total scrawl. I decided that one of my issues with the Pimsleur program, for me, is that I don’t get to see the written Hungarian and because I grew up hearing it, I am trying to figure out the sound system of a language that says it has an alphabet of forty-four letters. So what I have done this time around is to use cursive to write the words down as I am doing the lessons and then transcribing them on my iPad complete with accents. I find that this is helping my memory work immensely. I am going more slowly, I mean, what’s the rush? I feel I have better recall.

I am somewhat avoiding the grammar. Hungarian, like Latin and German, is full of declensions, For example, the first person singular form of the verb often doesn’t have the subject pronoun used, because it is clear form the verb ending for the ‘I’ form of the verb that it is first person singular.

I am using my ear and what I remember from my youth and a dictionary as well as Google Translate. So far, I think I have a pretty accurate idea as to how the words and expressions are spelled. Now I can say good morning and good day as well as the weather is nice or nasty out, among some other expressions like where is Vaci street. For me, it isn’t so much that I think I will be proficient, it is more of a connection to my past and who knows where it might lead anyway.

So on this cold Monday in Deerfield, where the temps were as low as 37 when I walked the dog, this warms my heart just a bit.

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Coffee and flowers

The hibiscus is blooming…

It is about forty degrees, perhaps not so unusual for this time of the year, but shocking when you consider the really warm temps we had less than a week ago.

The coffee is good and I have succeeded in making sure it is piping hot, having put enough water in the kettle to heat the mugs as well as pour onto the coffee grounds in the French press. The coffee is my latest, a mixture of a medium strength coffee mixed with a bit of French Roast from Colectivo Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee: Blue Heeler and Black and Tan. I buy the beans and grind them. For a while, I was getting decaf from Erie Island Coffee Company, but luckily, I no longer have to limit myself to decaf.

The hibiscus makes me happy and sad as I sit in the living room chair, just having skimmed the Sunday edition of the New York Times. I am happy because having an almost four inch bloom of a gorgeous orange flower in the house is wonderful; I am sad because I had to bring the plant in and before you know it, I shall have to cut it down. The plant is about four or five years old and I have managed to keep it alive through the winters.

Stewart and I checked out the weather; we did our usual walk. He wasn’t happy with me when I held him back from a muddy area he likes, the ground not yet dry enough after the massive rains we had at the beginning of the weekend.

Meanwhile, I need to get reading this book. I am sure it is overdue at the library, MK had taken it out, read it, and now I am reading it. It is ‘The Overstory,’ winner of the Pulitzer prize and written by Richard Powers.

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Final steps of winterizing

The hibiscus is blooming…

I seized the day.

It was cold and sunny. Unseasonably cold, the heat had gone on right before dawn. The wind was unbelievably strong.

I went outside and began to straighten up the garage and then I started pulling things in: the outdoor bar where we store our dishes and silverware, the chairs, the cushions, the watering cans I store outside, bringing them all in for the winter.

Before pulling everything in, I rearranged the children’s vehicles and cleaned while doing so. I brought in the small table and chairs, cleaned them up and covered them. I vacuumed all the nooks and crannies of the rattan chairs and set them up in the garage so that although they were there that there would be room for movement and to allow me to find things.

Sometimes, you just have to do that.

I am glad, I hate waiting until it is so cold that it is an extremely unpleasant experience. It is also hard because we so enjoy the time we spend outside. Normally we have from late May until early October, a good amount of time.

As I write this, I can see the hibiscus that seemed to take forever to recover from my having allowed it to be outside all too early. It has buds all over and has one bloom today and shows evidence of several from the day before. The passion flower bloomed yesterday when I brought it in and has at least one other bud that should hopefully bloom.

The grapefruit tree, from a seed I found in a grapefruit our son’s family brought for us two years ago, shows massive growth from its time outside. I enjoy seeing it since the plant itself is pretty and I can always hope that someday I shall get a bloom that will bring a fragrance that I find totally intoxicating.

Again, I am happy that I finished this, especially since on Thursday I shall be flying to Florida for a weekend of hiking. I can put my mind at rest as my major pre-winter tasks are done!

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