Where in the world is Stewart?

This is one of those days where the ‘Add Media’ button has decided not to function, thus the photo I planned to post of Stewart on our walk last night cannot be seen. Sorry!

Stewart seemed a bit tired on our walk last night. I had changed course and took a totally different walk. For me, that is unusual as I tend to fall into routines that I can expect and just go on auto-pilot. Anyway, at certain spots where Stewart might have expected to head home, where he knew directionally where he was, dog that he is, he almost pulled me. I had other plans for our walk.

We walked from our house north and ended up doing a pass by of Walden Elementary School. It was a perfect walk on a perfect, almost unseasonably cool, summer evening. Walking Stewart without his canine cohort, Lincoln, is a much easier deal. Stewart looks almost with disdain at the little, yippy, barking dogs who see him and rev up their communication. Lincoln on the other hand, gets incensed. Lincoln lunges, wanting to be with them. Walking Stewart without Lincoln is easier. Lincoln periodically gets spooked and stops cold. If you are not careful, he will yank his body out of the dog harness. He does not come to his name, he will run, and he has done that for me. Stewart is just less pressure. Sometimes, it is annoying when he decides that a sniffspot is just more than he can handle and just doesn’t want to leave, but usually he walks ahead of me in his Border collie prance.

Last night, after our walk, I decided to take a shower and left Stewart with MK outside on the patio. When I came down, she was still on the patio but I did not see Stewart. I didn’t see Stewart until around 8:15 AM this morning.

When I was lying in bed, as things go, I realized that I hadn’t seen Stewart since somewhere around 8:00 PM in the evening. I asked Mary Kay and she couldn’t remember if she let him in. It is not like Stewart to stay outside in our fenced in back yard, he would bark at the door. So somewhere around 11:30 PM, I checked the front yard, the back yard, and there was no Stewart. I checked all of his usual places down below, on the main floor, and on the top floor and saw no Stewart. I think that he was sleeping in under the bed where our son had gone to sleep and not wanting to disturb him, I looked in, heard snoring, and closed the door. Stewart did not surface.

Just to be sure, I poured a small amount of dog food in his metal bowl. He always comes running. There was no Stewart.

Uncharacteristically for me, I went to bed.

This morning I got up and was doing my morning routines and I saw no Stewart. He finally surfaced however, a bit later. For a dog who usually cries when you are too slow at feeding him, this was a surprise.

I am guessing that he was really tired and that he slept under the bed in my son’s room…go figure…

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Street construction, Confinement, Covid-19, etc.

A view of our overgrown raspberry and currant area with rhubarb, kale, paprika pepper plants, and potatoes.

It is Thursday and has been a busy week. Although our lives have changed immensely in the moving back of our ‘roomies’ to their own home, they have not. We have been seeing our roomies on a daily basis as their home is not good for the kids during the day since workers are still coming in to finish up. The finishing details can often be as insanely time consuming as the actual work. I remember when we endured the construction of a new Primary bedroom with a bathroom and what went on there. It was over twenty years ago and thanks to Technology, I was able to keep amazing lists of things that needed attention although I am sure that Normandy Builders probably had a name for me. I am guessing that our son’s construction group must feel the same way.

Anyway, the two grandkids are with us almost every day. That is good since what with the Pandemic and other things, we have only been blessed with the other two grandkids once since the Pandemic and that was for a quick family birthday celebration.

It is noisy as I write and sip on my coffee and await a walk with Stewart. His canine cohort comes to visit every day and he really relishes his time with us and his ability to sit outside in the backyard, something he cannot do at home since they do not have a completely fenced in back yard. The bigger issue for Lincoln, however, is that the couches are still under wraps in their house and he is forced to lounge on the guest bed. He loves being at our house, being able to chase the chipmunks and to lounge on our couch. He loves being able to have the variety of experiences. I am guessing that his home routine may change due to his Covid-19 experience with us.

The sun is getting hot and the neighborhood road work has commenced for the day. We are getting a new road, new sewers, widened carriage sidewalks, and new curbs. The noise at 8:51 AM is annoying. The good news, however, is that I have never, ever seen such an organized construction company: A Lamp. Wow!

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The Ship

Music is often our savior. To me, music is something that gives me triggers, usually but not always, to good things. There was one the other day that was a favorite of mine and yet not a trigger for the best of moments, but hearing it still made me happy. Anyway, the other day we were on the patio testing out our new Sonos Move, a speaker that we got as a treat for our outdoor (and even indoor) music situation. It supposedly has an eleven hour charge for music. The reality, according to the reviews is that it is a good five to seven. Anyway, it is portable, has a handle, and if you were to leave it outside, which is not my plan, it can withstand the weather.

To make a long story short, I played ‘The Ship,’ was the music I put on the Sonos Move as we sat on the patio. I had put on a Sunday morning music selection that we had often played in the past: Norah Jones. Then, I thought, perhaps, ‘The Ship’ should be played. It was as planned and a serious soothe to the soul.

‘The Ship’ as MK explained it to me, was the name of the group and also of the album at the University of Illinois in the early 70s. It seems as if she got a better exposure to the folk music of the day. There was a serious coffeehouse scene in mid-Illinois. She and I had similar tastes in liking classical music but also folk music. She and I have a liking for Joan Baez and Carole King , perhaps maybe she more than I and I gravitated to Judy Collins and some more of the rock music, and the Beatles in particular. Anyway, she brought The Ship into our lives.

We had the album, we still have a good amount of vinyl (on my part more than hers) and were sad when we couldn’t hear it at a time when we no longer had a record player. We now have a Crossley simple stereo to play vinyl on periodically. A few years ago, with a google search, I found a CD of The Ship. The whole album sounds like one long song. It is simple, it flows like the waves on the sea, and it makes us feel good.

Thank God we have music, especially in these trying times. It is day 144 of Confinement. The Pandemic rages. People die.

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Withering away…

A simple white phlox that normally thrives under all conditions, dying next to the poisoned soil next to the fence.

My hybrid phlox by the house, blooming like crazy, yet struck by the powderly mildew.

It is amazing how a vibrant, beautiful thing can wither away right in front of your eyes.

You stand by and pull out all the stops with remedies, with ways of improving things, and you still see the same thing happening: vibrance turns dull, what was once healthy, or at least appeared healthy, is not. The prognosis is questionable.

Look at the two photos: one is loaded with floral embellishment, the other is brown on the top and looking as if it is headed for disaster, victim of being neglected, poisoned by mean spirit and Monsanto, pushed to the edge from people who claim to love and yet do not, pulling out their poison in hope that they will make a mark and make something once very alive die.

Empathy is lacking. Care is lacking. Only hatred and bitterness is alive and kicking, forcing its venom into the soil and slowly, ever so slowly killing off the spirit of a plant that is truly hard to kill.

The irony here is the the phlox with intense flowers is actually problematic. It was planted and thrived, and actually has some issues, being a hybrid; it is prone to powdery mildew, and my lack of being careful with its watering, has been attacked. Yet, it still has flowers beyond belief. The one that is withering away is a plain white variety, gotten from Dr. Pagi’s Des Plaines Valley Animal Hospital. He told me that his simple pink and white varieties were not as beautiful, but they made up for that by being immune to the mildew. Apparently it is not immune to the

My poor phlox is victim of a mean-spirited human being who has so much internal venom from his dealings with life, that he needs to spew poison in his rocks on his side of the fence and poison the phlox. He cares not for what is right, we are just human beings who, for whatever reason, have gotten in his way. His black and white view of life, his hatred, his ire at his own problems, have granted him the desire to create his own narrative of the problems he has with us. To him, we are disposable, and to be used as he sees fit. He has no empathy. He just thinks he is right, and to him that is all that matters. He is not alone.

So sad…so much and so many of us waste our time on poisonous hatred instead of taking care of each other and filling the sad world we live in with care and love. One can only hope that this time of monumental sadness in the world will be over so that love and happiness can blossom again.

I am hopeful, but impatient.

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Denon to Sonos…

Working with my new Sonos ‘Move.’

It is kind of our music weekend. We kind of went Sonos crazy.

We have a great entertainment system with a Denon receiver and quite a few speakers and a subwoofer. It has been problematic at times. The main problem we have had is the number of remotes that we have and the confusion that arises when you want a different channel. For example, some of the programs we watch are on U-verse and others are on apps like Acorn. That necessitates changing the connection between the receiver, in another words connecting the smart TV and its apps to the receiver or connecting the U-verse to the receiver so as to see the shows on TV monitor.

So, I was eyeing the Sonos system, having seen it for some time at our oldest son’s house. I really have to say that I was skeptical of it. I really didn’t think it was possible to have a wireless stereo system. I see, however, that Christian has had it for some time and it really works. It is especially good with the TV. The sound quality is really good and it is surprisingly reliable. The remote aspect of it is the best however because it does not take a rocket scientist to use it. For the current one, I have a list of steps that need to be taken for anyone but me who is an immigrant to Technology. It is just that hard. I need to mentally think about the process that I am involved in. I am guessing that it is good for the brain.

So, we think that our Entertainment System set of a soundbar under the TV, a subwoofer, and two speakers will be good for our modestly-sized family room. At this point, anything without the current three remotes will be an improvement. On a side note, our wonderful Denon system will be donated to one of our other sons who will be able to use it.

I also purchased a Sonos ‘Move’ which is rechargeable and can supposedly play for eleven hours at a pop; realistically, I have read that it can play for five to seven hours. Anyway, it can use either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and can supposedly be left outside. I am not planning on doing the latter, but I am happy about the mobile music.

Such is life in the time of Coronavirus, where we make our outdoor area even better since we spend even more time there than we have in the past.

Tomorrow, we talk about ‘The Ship,’ an album which is a favorite of ours; music found by Mary Kay at the University of Illinois.


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