my new fern

I’ve long had a houseplant on the file cabinet between my desk and computer table. Last fall, the old plant we brought down from Gilroy was pretty much on its last legs. There wasn’t much green and it wasn’t growing. We replaced it with a nice full green plant. I really liked it, but this winter we have had an influx of annoying little gnats. The gnats liked the plant and the water in the catch tray at the base of the pot. I hated to exile my plant to the back patio, but it seemed to be a necessity.

fernI asked Terry to get me an artificial fern at Michael’s. I don’t make a habit of sending Terry on my errands, but she is much better at craft things than I am. She came home with a basket, an artificial fern, some additional fern fronds, and a Styrofoam block. She said that she was frustrated and almost gave up, but I told her that she got me exactly what I wanted. Which she did. It needed a little finishing off, so I went back to Michael’s and got some more fern fronds and some artificial moss. The moss made a terrible mess, but once cleaned up I was delighted with the end result.

I’ve always liked ferns and won’t have to worry about keeping this one alive.

a neighbor departs

When we moved here to Four Seasons in Hemet in May of 2015 our neighbor to the west was most gracious and welcoming. Sadly, she was not well and died some months back. The folks who bought her house, however, are very nice and we like them.

Our neighbor to the east, however, was another matter entirely. Her name is Glenda, though she likes to think of herself as Glinda. Glinda she is not.

house next doorShe did not like Tasha and her barking. Rather than admitting to that, however, she said, “The neighbors are complaining already.” She didn’t want to say that she was the one who didn’t like the barking. When we tried to get her to sign off on our plans to install artificial turf to replace our lawn in front she ignored all of our attempts to contact her.

Terry managed to enable a sort of reconciliation by asking, “What did we do to offend you?” She gave us credit for keeping Tasha from barking so much, and Terry established a somewhat amicable relationship with her. My relationship with her was, at best, civil.

Last fall she put her house on the market. Her son lives up north on the coast in Grover Beach. He is divorced and has custody of the kids. His situation was such that she felt the need to send him a check to buy them clothes. She thought it would be good to be near them.

Her house finally sold. On Friday, a wet, rainy day, a U-Haul truck showed up with a pair of husky young men.

Terry and I wish her the best being close to family, as we are. She told Terry that the woman who bought her house likes dogs.

We look forward to meeting her.

taking different approaches

sfgate logoI hated leaving the Bay Area in May 2015. But we did what we needed to do. There are good things about being in Southern California and it’s good to be close to family. I follow the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I don’t follow the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland Athletics.

Terry reads the San Jose Mercury News web site,, the San Francisco Chronicle we site, and the Gilroy Dispatch web site. I don’t.Mercury News logo

We’re here in SoCal. I’m focusing on being here in SoCal. No point in making myself unhappy. There Is much to be accomplished here.

being prepared

overshoesThis winter, so far at least, has been one of the wettest here in Southern California in several years. That is great and I love it. The downside is that the drainage in our city of Hemet is less than optimal. It is excellent here in our Four Seasons community, but once we exit the gates it is a mess when it is raining.

When it’s raining you have to cross a virtual river to get from the parking lot to our primary grocery store. I soaked my tennis shoes one rainy day. The office that Terry works out of to do her permit running work has similar issues.

Terry found rain boots at Tractor supply. I looked there, but all they had was oversized yellow hip-high rain boots and overshoes, the largest of which did not fit over my tennis shoes.

So what did I do? I did what I always do when in doubt. I went to Amazon. And I found a solution that works. I’m keeping these in the car.

No more soggy tennis shoes.

serving two purposes

thermosSince Terry has been working, part-time at least, and since the days have been chilly, she has been heating up soup on the stove and putting it into a thermos. She also heats water in our hot pot, warms up the thermos with it, and then puts the water back into the hot pot before hot water potfilling the thermos with soup.

There are two good things about this. First, it reminds me of when I was growing up and my dad would heat up soup and put it in a thermos before leaving for work on a cold winter morning.

Second, I don’t have to wait long at all for my hot tea in the morning.

Good stuff, all of it.

a slightly askew, but very enjoyable New Year’s

New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday put things slightly askew this year. Terry and I have a regular New Year’s routine. For breakfast we have scrambled eggs, sausage, freshly squeezed orange juice, and orange rolls while watching the Rose Parade which we set up on our DVR. Dinner New Year’s evening is something special in one form or another.

However there is a nineteenth century ordinance that prohibits the Rose Parade from happening on Sunday. (It has to do with not wanting to frighten the horses waiting outside the churches while their owners were inside attending Sunday worship.) So this year the Rose Parade was on Monday.

New Year's DinnerFor New Year’s dinner I had planned pot roast. But I didn’t make it to the store until New Year’s Eve, and the full-service meat department had no chuck roast. I had to think fast, as there were a lot of people waiting for service. I got rib eye steaks. Not just rib eye steaks, but Harris Ranch rib eye. Rather at the opposite end of the spectrum of cuts of meat from what I had planned. Terry however, was delighted.

Terry took charge of dinner as she is a much better steak chef than I am, and we always do black-eyed peas and Canadian bacon, which is her specialty as well. To that we added steamed broccoli and a very nice red wine that our nephew gave us for Christmas. It was a marvelous New Year’s dinner.

On Monday morning I made breakfast exactly as described while we watched new hosts Leeza Gibbons and Mark Steines take over from the storied Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards in describing the Rose Parade.

A bit out of order from the usual, but it was a marvelous New Year’s.

our diffuser

When we were in Gilroy Terry and I stumbled upon a lovely diffuser. It has a base that holds a tea candle and the receptacle for the oil or wax is held up by three ceramic dolphins. When we lived in Gilroy it resided in my (late, lamented) loft office. So in the evenings when we were in the bedroom we could smell the scent but our diffusercouldn’t see the diffuser.

Here in Hemet, the diffuser never got unpacked. Recently, however, Terry was feeling a need for our firewood oil scent. She brought in her little, simple diffuser so we could experience that. At her request I unearthed  our dolphin diffuser and brought it into the bedroom. Now we can both smell the scent and see the candle flame at the base of the diffuser.

It’s nice.