Making Summer Last   Leave a comment

Summertime and the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the cotton is high.

This song spoke to me when I was a child. It was the epitome of  long lazy days made expressly for play. Summers seemed  to last longer when there was nothing to do but go out and play from morning to night. When did they start to fly by in the wink of an eye? I’m on a mission this summer – to try to make this summer go as slowly as it can. I switch radio stations in the car if I hear the words Back to School. I grab the remote when I hear the word football coming from the TV.  I delete e-mailed ads that mention Fall Fashions or Back to School.

Just the thought of winter sends shudders through my soul. You see, I’m chilly when the temperature dips south of 75 .  I am that one person in the world who actually loves, yes loves heat and humidity. So if you ever run into me on one of my kind of days do not, I repeat do not, make the mistake of complaining about either the h or the h. If you do, you’ll hear me growl “Would you prefer the polar vortex?

So how am I making my summer last? By handing it over to my senses.

Sometimes hearing gets there first. My ears are early risers. Some mornings, I haven’t even opened my eyes when my ears are already on the job, trying to decipher the calls of the birds who  compete to fill the air with their own particular calls. There are chitterers and tritterers, the chatterers, trillers and squawkers. There’s even a Yankee fan bird who calls Jeter, Jeter, Jeter.

Some days touch steps up to bat.  I step outside and my skin actually sings for joy as the warmth bathes it

Sight’s been putting in duty since early spring, pointing out the first crocus brave enough to break through the frigid soil next to my front walk. Sight also distracted my driving each April morning,  showing me the first leaf buds on the skeletal trees, and keeping track each morning  as   they unfurled and grew  into fragile green miracles. Anticipating the summer to come, I’d always call out the window. “Welcome to the world, little ones.”

As for taste. Coffee never tastes as good as it does when I take that first sip of coffee out on the deck in the fresh calm of a weekend morning.


Unfortunately I have no time for coffee al fresco Monday through Friday, but thankfully I work in an office complex with lots of outdoor spots to satisfy my senses.

  There’s the bench where I take a five-minute nonsmoker’s break mid-morning.



Where I walk at lunchtime


And what’s lunchtime without a place to eat lunch.


That’s my secret for slowing down summer. It’s like John Lennon said.

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round. I just love to watch them turn.

Actually I’m just sitting here watching my tomatoes grow


And my peppers


And my cucumbers


She Can’t Hear Me Either   4 comments

One of my nieces is a prosecutor and it appears that she developed an eye for inconsistent statements early.

My mother had a way of calling the refrigerator an ice box, as did many of her generation.  When she did, Niece J would very politely remind her “Grandma, you don’t have an icebox.”

When the phone rang in the middle of dinner preparations, my mother would turn down the burners before padding into the living room, a la Edith Bunker, calling “I’m coming, I’m coming.”

Niece J would shake her head, and gently say”Grandma, they can’t hear you.”

I wonder what Niece J would say about her Aunt V last Sunday.

I took a giant step toward the 21st Century and got a router so I can set up a  wireless  network in The House of Mars.  Network? Ha! It’s a network of one device, my laptop. I still don’t have a smartphone or tablet, but I’m looking forward to checking my email, or writing blog posts from out on the deck.


DSCN1521Thanks to Rudy Router, this post  is the first to come to you “cable-less.”



I had no problem setting up the router but I must have done something wrong in setting a network name and password because I kept getting an error message advising me I had the wrong security key. So I called Optimum,  my internet service provider. As I feared, a computer-generated voice interrogated me with multiple choice questions, none of which fit my dilemma. The closest choice to my problem was  Unable to access the internet.

I chose it, and (n-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!!), I found myself talking to the computer-generated  help lady. Now I’d spoken to this lady before, so I knew her spiel, and that she’d be useless in helping me with my problem.

“NO, NO,”  I yelled into the phone. “REPRESENTATIVE ! REPRESENTATIVE!”

On she went, asking me irrelevant questions to diagnose my problem. I pounded on the # key (ha ha pounded on the pound key)  Someone once told me that pounding on  the # key could get you to a real live person. It didn’t. As soon as I let up on the pounding, she kept asking me questions


#### ####

I know it was a delusion, but I imagined someone, there in the background, would actually hear me. So I yelled louder and pounded harder

Finally I got a different voice, a male – not a real one, but at least it wasn’t her!

“Please hold, we are transferring your call to an agent,” “he” told me

Agent, I noted, I should have yelled AGENT!!!!!!

Finally  a very patient, real,  flesh and blood, young man, er agent,  (real, as in flesh and blood) came on, set my network name and password for me, and voila, I’m now effortlessly wireless and loving it.

All’s well that end well but it ‘s good that prosecutor niece J wasn’t here. I can imagine  her looking at me with pity and whispering  “Aunt V, they can’t hear you.”








Reading Comprehension vs Word Recognition   1 comment

Back when I was in elementary school we had to take a yearly tests in reading and math.  I can’t recall what they were called, but I guess they were similar to what today’s kids take although they didn’t carry the weight  No Child Left Behind did. Although I was an avid reader and a good student I never scored as well in reading comprehension as I did in word recognition. Well folks, it looks like the tables have turned on me

If you recall I recently wrote about the occasional difference between what I hear and what TV personalities are saying, actually an improvement if you are a fan of the absurd. Well my eyes are in cahoots. Here’s a few alterations that resulted from reading too fast.


At work I was researching  red light cameras for a blog I was writing.

red light camera


I found an article about their extreme unpopularity and how many drivers feel they’re less about keeping the roads safe and more about generating money. It went on to state that some states are sensitive to the criticism and make sure some of the money goes to a good cause. Here,  you read what they do.

Some states limit where any excess revenue generated from the program can go. In Texas, for example, any revenue in excess of what it costs cities to run the program goes to trauma care centers that care for car crash victims.”

I though it said car wash victims.

I thought of poor old Dukie Dog, our family pet. He loved nothing better than going for a ride. He just had to hear the word and he was whining and circling about. One day I took him for a ride in my VW –  to the drive thru car wash. He was traumatized.


car wash


Then there was the day last winter in the midst of the polar Vortex. So many people  ended up with frozen pipes that plumbers couldn’t keep up with demand. And of course this being the era of social media, a friend posted her experience on Facebook. She’d finally found a service who could come out to her house the same day. Clog Busters.

I was stumped. Did they send little dachshunds through the  pipes.


Then I realized it didn’t say Dog Busters.



I read a blog about a photographer who published a book about homeless men in London in the 1970’s. He visited a shelter for alcoholics and got their permission to take their picture. To show his appreciation he came back and gave each man a print.

I couldn’t believe the agency let him do that. Then I saw the r.


I thought he gave them pints as the British refer to a 16 ounce glass of beer.



And last but not least Let’s start with this advertisement I got in the mail.



Wow I thought, there’s a hair stylist with a sense of humor.

I thought it said Shaky Michaels


My Father’s Day Cap   Leave a comment

My Father’s Day Cap.

Posted June 18, 2014 by virginiafair in Uncategorized

My Father’s Day Cap   4 comments

A little history before I launch into the very strange thing that happened to me on Father’s Day.


When I first adopted my cat, Marble, the rescue woman told me two things. He’s a character and he loves to play. That ‘s an understatement on both counts! The good news is there’s no need to spend a fortune on toys. He prefers household objects. The bad news is he prefers household objects. Things have a way of disappearing, especially bottle caps.


I don’t know if cats see color but if they do, Marble definitely has a preference for pink.


Then there’s my brother Jimmy who passed away over twenty years ago. Jimmy, as little brothers are wont to do, enjoyed teasing me, practically from day one.  My mother loved to tell the story of how she was giving him a bath in his little tub on the dining room table. (Don’t ask. I don’t k now why she chose this spot.) But I do remember the occasion. I was five. He couldn’t have been much older than two or three months old. I walked over to the table and he got this demonic look on his face and started splashing me.


Now how many infants splash their big sisters?


Believe me, he was just warming up!


With that in mind, we return to Father’s Day 2014. I always plant flowers on my father’s grave, and since Jimmy too was a father, on his grave as well. I started at Daddy’s. I cleared a few weeds, dug a hole, inserted a red Salvia, covered it with the special soil mixture I bring from home, all the while chatting with an elderly woman and her daughter tending to their husband/father’s grave two stones away – Daddy’s neighbor so to speak. I walked to the spiggot, filled my watering can, walked back, watered the flowers there and after gathering up my gardening tools, pail of soil, and watering can, walked down to Jimmy’s grave in the next section. Nothing out of the ordinary .


At Jimmy’s I chattered away to him as I worked, telling him all I’d been up to since my last visit.  When I was through, I gathered up all my paraphernalia and headed back to my car which I’d parked a distance away, not wanting to get caught up in  the Father’s Day congestion in that area of the cemetery with its narrow climbing roads.  I was almost back to the car when I felt something in my pants. No not that! Something that scratched. At first I feared I was being stung by a bee, but then I realized it was a round object.


It was right about here.


No one was around but although this was extremely annoying I wasn’t about to drop my drawers in the cemetery so I started working it down with my hands toward the back of my knees. Unfortunately they were skinny jeans and so I wasn’t making much progress.


Finally I arrived at the car and sat sideways on the front seat,  legs straight out in front of me.  I  nudged and pushed and wiggled and coaxed it until finally it was at my ankle.


Ah ha! Just as I thought.


How it got there is no mystery. I recalled seeing a bottle cap on my bed when I layed out my clothes. I also remember Marble jumping up on the bed when I went to  take a shower. There’s little doubt he had a hand (paw) in the joke. As for Jimmy?  Hold on before you shake your head, and say she’s finally gone off the deep end.

Doesn’t it strike you as a bit  strange that I was able to load the the car, drive twenty+ miles, hike  to daddy’s  grave, decorate it  and repeat  the scene at Jimmy’s grave with nothing untoward happening? Until – I turned my back on little Bro?

I don’t know – just saying. Do you think these two are in cahoots?











Beware the Apple   2 comments

On the way home  tonight, my attention was drawn to a young woman walking on the opposite side of the street. Since I couldn’t keep my eye on the road and her at the same time, I took a mental picture. It left me with an impression of  Cousin Itt from The Addams Family. She was all hair and no face. The reason being , with her head bent over her smartphone, her long hair had choice but to hang down curtain-like over her face.

Cousin Itt

Cousin Itt

It wasn’t the hair in her face that bothered me. I’ve spent most of my life answering the question “How can you see with your hair over your eye like that?” No, what bothered me was her absorption with the smartphone with not a clue or a care for what might be coming toward her.

Yes, I can hear some of you saying here she goes again, on another smartphone rant. If you’re one of those people,  you’re correctly right!

I’d just left the gym with its share of people who couldn’t rest between sets of exercise without doing something or other on their screens. Afterwards while making my way to my car in the parking lot,  I’d had to correct my course slightly to avoid crashing into a phone zombie young man. I regretted my maneuver immediately wishing I’d sped  up and  lowered my shoulder to meet his so I could offer my hand with an I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you  as I helped him up off his butt. Oh well, maybe next time!

No one seems to be content with the real world anymore, and not just the millennials.   I have friends of my own generation who spend an unconscionable mount of time on their iPads crushing candy.

iPods, iPads, iPhones.


Apple Apple Apple.

Wait  I see the connection. So t hat’s why the Steves,  Jobs and Wozniak chose the name.




Adam & Eve



snow white

Think about it!



Posted June 9, 2014 by virginiafair in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Memorial Day – Charting New Territory   2 comments

Let me start out by saying I had a very very very enjoyable, fulfilling, peaceful  Memorial Day Weekend – in the company of friends. What could be better?

  • S. came over to The House of Mars for coffee on  Saturday morning and then we went hiking.
  • Sunday I went to  see a movie with C. and enjoyed a wonderful home-cooked dinner at her house afterwards.
  • Monday? Monday I spent the day with the Masters of The House of Mars. Well, kind of. They stayed inside and held down the fort while I caught up on my To-Do  List outdoors. Caught up? No, that’s not  accurate, it’s more like I managed to stay in the race.

In the midst of the three-day weekend, Sunday morning, to be exact,  a wistful memory of Memorial Days past – long past –  tried to ruin my peaceful morning –  a vision of  days in my early 20’s when I used to go in on a summer group house rental at the Jersey Shore. Those were the days my friend! Our first weekend at the shore – a whirlwind of beach, bars, and BBQ’s and looking forward to a summer of the same! Now here I was,  sipping  coffee on the patio, reading  the Sunday Times and glancing from time to time at the  beautiful rhododendron next to me . Not quite the same. But hey, I decided I’m okay with that. To every season, turn turn turn… Life goes on.


At the movies,  revisited the same peaceful acceptance of what can I call it – growing older (er, er, er growing older, not old) Entering the  lobby of the theater I was surprised to see a line at the ticket booth  – on such a beautiful sunny warm afternoon.  I wasn’t the only one not living it up at the  beach. When we finally had our tickets, senior tickets,  and were in the lobby, C, who was more observant than I, commented. Did you notice everyone on line was buying senior tickets!

And you know what –  that made it better. Now I know what the gang does on Memorial Day Weekend!


Unlike those days of old, I met the shortened workweek with  no  sun-burn, no hangover.


Ya know, Life is still Good



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