can't you see the sunshine….

Valentines, Letters, Keeping in Touch

This is the Valentine that we sent to Ben’s grand daughter

You can’t really see it, but that is the Effiel Tower behind the kissing couple. Ben and I honeymooned in Paris. The grand daughter is in a French Immersion Charter School in New Orleans. Her French is so good. And Ben and I were the first set of grandparents to take her to France. I like to remind her of that, subtly, of course. Side note: The grand daughter has a FULL set of grand parents, 8, yes that is correct 8. Each parent of the child (aka Ma and Pa) has divorced and remarried)

On to the letters. I recently updated my traveling address book.

My traveling address book used to be little bits of paper that were stapled together. I realized that a number of folks on the list are no longer with us. So a new address book was in order.

Our mailman loves us. Every 2 or 3 weeks I send notes or cards to a number of folks. I started this when we first moved to Italy. I wanted to keep in touch with my aunts and uncles and some friends. This is also when I started my blog. Sending mail from Italy was expensive. I cut my card and letter writing back some and sent them links to my blog entries. Anyway, I still write about 10 notes every two weeks.

And just the other day there was a notice at the city park center for ACTIVE ADULTS that we go to. They were looking for someone to respond to letters from 5th graders who are working on the art of letter writing and cursive writing. What’s a few more letters….

One was beautiful. The handwriting was easy to read. The child wrote about her interests and asked about mine. No problem. She got a 2 page response. The next….well, I had to take my highlighter to it. I couldn’t read some of it. He/she got a response. I was nice. Suggested that more work was needed. Try again. We’ll see what happens….

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Happy Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year was the first full week of February this year. The year of the pig. We celebrated on the first Sunday of February by having friends over for lunch.

For Christmas my Uncle John had sent us a check so I decided to use that money to replace a few pieces of my Chinese fish china that were broken during storage or the move. I thought that would be easy to do. It is a very common pattern. Or was a very common pattern. I had to order it from Pearl River Trading Company in New York City. I was very pleased when I received all the pieces, so I was excited to be able to set a nice table.

The recumbent Dragon Fruit and the pineapple became dessert.
Also used the Asian beer glasses that came from Nice, France.

I never got around to printing up menus. But we had Hot and Sour Soup, Thai Chicken Larb on a bed of noodles, Vietnamese Eggplant Salad, Gingered Yard Long Beans, Pork Tenderloin with Chinese BBQ Sauce on a bed of Roasted Butternut Squash and Roasted Baby Bok Choy. I am lucky to have at least two well stocked Asian grocery stores.

Besides fruit for dessert, there were egg custard tarts, almond cookies and ….

There were 3 kinds of Asian beers. And of course some wine. How can you go wrong spending a Sunday with friends eating and drinking?


Winner Winner

Ben won a gift certificate from Wayfair

Getting paperwork notarized

There was a bit of paperwork that had to be notarized and shipped back and forth but we managed to do it. Then we spent considerable time ‘shopping’. It would have been nice to have had this 18 months ago when we needed more things. We didn’t really need anything but decided to upgrade and then donate the old.

Old on left, new on right

So we got a new electric tea pot. We have also ordered a new toaster to replace the small one in the back right corner but it hasn’t come yet.

We moved over a service for 4 of stainless flatware which we had ‘bought’ using loyalty points from Esselunga (do miss Esselunga). I am really glad we moved it. It is a nice heavy set and would have cost a good bit to have replaced it. But it was a European set, meaning no teaspoons and only for 4 folks. So we have been augmenting it with Ben’s collection from

Ben’s collection

you guessed it, assorted airlines. From his days of being and international business man and flying business class all over. So we added another set.

It is not as heavy as I would have liked but you knew I couldn’t resist it. And of course we upgraded something for Guppy

Considering her new bed

A new bed. Her old one got moved to the small amount of floor space in front of the TV and she seems to still be using it. Since our floors are so cold I am not surprised. I am not sure I will be able to get it away from her to donate.

Thanks Wayfair!

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And we try again

I think I missed a step on FB so let’s see if this works now

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let’s see what happens

It used to be that when I posted something to my blog, a short summary would also appear on my Face Book feed. Face Book changed something and that stopped. So I have just gotten around to trying the fix that will get my posts back on Face Book. I miss seeing a lot of folks so maybe this will help. Here goes

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I was a house guest

Guest Post by Guppy, the Lucky Dog 3

For New Years Eve Ben and She were invited to their friends Jim and BK’s place at Lake Gaston. And I got to go too! We have been up there before but never spent the night. This time we spent the night.

It’s a long ride. And I was nervous all day, before we even left. Since I wasn’t really sure what was going on. But anyway, this time I only threw up in the car one time instead of twice. And then only a little bit. Probably because I hadn’t eaten anything all day, on account of being nervous and all. And it was rainin…. it seems to rain a lot here.

We finally got there and She had a nice glass of wine and I had somethin to eat. Since it was rainin we didn’t miss the sunset. I made small talk with our host Jim before dinner.

Look! He laughed at my joke…

So they ate dinner. After dinner I showed Jim and BK what I would do with all those squirrels that they have living up there in their yard. Sheweee, the place was just full of squirrels! Jim and BK were tuckered out so they went to bed before the big celebration. I stayed up with my Ben and She.

I was gonna tell Jim a story but he was already tucked in bed with his book

I had a whole nice couch to sleep on. I slept a long time. In the morning, all the doors have big windows to look out of so I didn’t have to wake anyone up to watch early morning squirrel TV. That was about the only program that was on. You know I like to watch early Morning Dogs and in the afternoon, 5 O’Clock Dogs, when dogs are out walkin with their people. But I guess you can only watch that in the city.

Anyway, I had a big time. She said I was a good guest. I hope we get to do that again.



The best…..Wegmans

Wegmans Rising

We found out before we moved back from Italy that Wegmans would be expanding in to North Carolina. I was so excited then and even more excited now that I see it rising from the ground.

The Post Office in Cameron Village is closing. HORRORS!!!! We heard about this last fall and thought that closing was supposed to happen after the first of the year. I asked the other day and it seems that a loophole was found in the contract and the post office can remain until another location in the nearby area can be found. This was the post office where, a number of years ago, a postal employee was fired for talking like Donald Duck. Of course, I thought this was wonderful and always chatted with him in Daisy Duck’s voice. I am sure he was warned before he was let go. And he did not use that voice all the time. I guess it was one time too many. I think his dismissal made the paper. Still, I was crushed.

In recent years, a number of buildings in the Cameron Village have been torn down and replaced with a larger, taller buildings. But the plan is for the building to be renovated inside while the 1960s facade will be updated but essentialy remain the same. A medical facility will go in there.

Post Office on Oberlin Road

I think I have written about the Baskin-Robbins in Cameron Village becoming a ‘Kale Me Crazy’. I don’t know what to say about that.

And as sad as the Post Office closing is, Little Art Gallery is closing. I have been going to the Little Art Gallery since I moved to the area in 1971. I have numerous pieces from there. The founder, Ruth Green, was a beautiful, elegant, knowledgable woman who knew her art, what the public wanted and how to run a business. I always admired her. And I admire her daughter, Roseanne, for becoming a part of the business. While I am so sad to see it close, I am happy for Roseanne to be able to retire. Good for her!

Otherwise, our building is getting a new roof and larger gutters. We finally got all of the old, ill-fitting wooden windows replaced in our unit and I have gotten fancy made to order shades. So we are a little warmer. The mistake we made in renovating was to not put in under floor heating. The cold rises from the floor. I might still go back and insulate under the floor. Such terrible problems we have…. just kidding. I know they are very ‘first world’ problems and I am privigled to have them.

Lastly I apologize for my mis-spellings. I am using a new ‘editor’ program to write these posts. I can’t find spell check…..

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What’s this?

Yes, it’s a tooth with a screw in it, also known as a dental implant. So let me tell you the story…..

Years and years ago, I had my wisdom teeth pulled in preparation to getting braces as an adult and having my jaw surgically broken and reset. In the process of pulling the wisdom teeth, the root of a  nearby tooth was damaged. It didn’t really bother me for a long time. But when we lived in Virginia it started to bother me and had to be removed. I was convinced to have an implant to replace it. For VAST sums of money (because even if you have dental insurance it never seems to cover anything) I had the socket put in my jaw. And then after that healed the day came to put the implant in. It won’t stay. The socket surgery had to be done all over again. Causing me more pain and MONEY!

The surgery was done on Halloween. I was in pain but I drove home. Ben called me at 4:30 demanding that I come to help him drop off and pick up a rental car while his car was being repaired. At Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia at rush hour on Halloween. “It just has to be tonight!!!!” I was in pain. My last nerve had been plucked. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays which I always spent with our neighbor Jane. He was making me late for that. And I was in pain. FINALLY, I got home. I picked up my bottle of Cook’s champagne, stomped over to Jane’s and was not seen until much later that evening. (I think Siena (the sainted dog) made a note in her diary that no one made her dinner that night)

Weeks later I went back to have the implant put in. This time it sticks. The dentist tries to schedule a follow up appointment for six months. I point out that I will be living in Italy by then. So whatever tweaking he needs to do needs to happen by August. “Oh, well when you come back from your vacation…” I have to explain the concept of moving out of the country to him….

So, I have an implant. Other than the fact that I can tell from a dull ache in my sinsuses when the weather is going to change I don’t have any problems with it. Even when the Russian dental hygentist in Italy scrapes my teeth like she is mining gold, I have no problem. We move back here. I go to get my teeth cleaned and I announce, “I have an implant”. Teeth cleaning happens. Next day, implant is loose. OH NOOOOOOO! Doesn’t hurt but it is annoying. I put up with it. We go back to dentist for Ben. I mention implant is loose. Have to come back again to have dentist look at it. He doesn’t do implants so can only offer to grind it a bit to help it hit the lower tooth better. Doesn’t really make it better but I put up with it. Back again for Ben. Point out to dentist that my implant is still loose. He says you need to seed an endodontist.

Go to see the endodontist who is married to a man who is probably a cousin to me on my Italian Grandmother side. $375 later, (because, of course, our dental insurance does not cover any of it) I have a beautiful CD of a 3-D scan of my entire jaw. No root problems. She can’t do anything about an implant.

Off to an oral surgeon. I explain the whole story, tell him I want it out! Annoying as the dickens. Well…., he can make another appointment and do that ($1000) or I can go back to plain old dentist have him break the implant and remove it or I can wait until it falls out. This is in October. $75 more (What, I think my dental insurance should cover it?) and it is still in there rattling around being annoying. And no one really seems to want to do anything about it.

Fast forward to Monday of the week before Christmas. After really feeling EVERY weather front coming through for months, it has moved beyond annoying and now actually hurts full time. I call the oral surgeons’ office. Can only get an appointment at 8:00 AM at a satellite office 40 miles away on the Friday before Christmas break begins. And this is only an appointment for a consultation. REALLY! I take it. Make it through the day but pain has really increased and pills are not knocking it out. Make dinner. Can eat nothing. Decide to apply a bag of frozen peas. Well that did the trick. It must have made the metal contract. The tooth part slipped down enough so that I could unscrew it. There was less than 1/2 teaspoon of blood. And Hallejulia! The pain stopped. I eat dinner.

Next day, I cancel the most undesirable appointment of the season and reschedule for after New Years. There have been at least 4 cold fronts that have come through since then and I only know about them because Greg Fishel (local TV weather guy) told me. The oral surgeon is going to have to have a pretty strong argument for me to let this be screwed back in my mouth.

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The Standoff

Thank goodness for doors and windows. This happens several times a day. Fortunately Guppy does not bark at squirrels, instead staring them down.

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My favorite thing about winter has started. (actually started a few weeks ago but without cable we don’t see as many games until the regular season starts) This is one of the bonuses of moving back to the US. Watching ACC basketball.

Of course I was more than upset that the first game I could see, UNC and U of K, UNC lost. Really!. But it is early in the season….

Fortunately, you know who, could care less about basketball so I was able to watch without being distracted. Ben learned a long time ago that unless on the verge of death, needing anything during a basketball game was a bad idea.

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