2021 Life Logs, Day 127: A Lot of Running Around

2021 Life Logs, Day 127: A Lot of Running Around
Date: Friday, May 7, 2021
Weather: Sunshine; High 58, Low, 43 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I feel like I have been running in circles all. Actually, it wasn’t in circles, but it was up and down the highway—just a lot of running around. Shadow had his once every six-week appointment with the groomer this morning. The groomer’s location is all the up Route 28 to the Bourne Bridge. When I dropped off Shadow and started to drive home, I stopped. As long as I was that far north, why not do a couple of shopping ‘jobs’ on my to do list? So, I switched direction and headed on across the bridge, did the shopping, and got back home three hours later. Exactly eight minutes after I got home, I got a text saying Shadow was ready for pick-up. It was three hours earlier than usual, so I got back in the car and went to pick him up. That took almost another hour. I came home, had lunch, and then it was time to pick up Ollie. We pick up Dunkin’ Donuts for everyone on Fridays, so we took those to 43 Grasmere, but then Ollie decided he would go back home with me for an hour to earn some money. So, we drove back to my house where he mowed Shirley’s side yard for me. The landscapers should be coming soon, but the grass in the side yard was so high that I wanted it cut. I played ball with Shadow in Shirley’s backyard by the water while Ollie cut the grass in the side yard where we usually play. Ollie is a good little worker and never takes a break until the job is done. But at one point, I threw a tennis ball too far and I needed Ollie to go down on a neighbor’s dock to get it. I could get down on their lower dock, but I was not sure I could get back up! After cutting the grass and putting lawn mower away, we had a little time for him to help me open and distribute a couple of bags of compost in one of my raised beds. I needed to get him home by 5 pm so he could have his daily antibiotic infusion, so we were in the car and back down the road again.

Tomorrow is another ‘Soccer Saturday’. Jonah and Sam are camping with Scouts this weekend at Tony Andrew’s Farm in East Falmouth. So, Soccer Saturday will require Heather and Jed to pick up one boy and then the other for their games at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. Then Jonah has a second game off-Cape tomorrow night. Tomorrow is going to be Heather and Jed’s turn to do a lot of running around.

2021 Life Logs, Day 126: Saying Farewell to Windbird . . . Again

2021 Life Logs, Day 126: Saying Farewell to Windbird . . . Again
Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021
Weather: Sunshine; High 65, Low, 45 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Sam and Dawn Weigel, the current owners of Windbird, purchased her from Mark and I in the summer of 2016. They were both in their mid-30’s and have spent the last five years living aboard a sailboat that I love with my whole being. They originally thought they would live aboard and sail her for three years, but that extended to five years. Sam is a pilot for Delta. Daddy D, as Sam sometimes refers to his employer, was kind to him and allowed him to fly June through October and sail from November through May for the past five years. I have known since January that they were putting her up for sale and moving on to a new chapter in their lives, but it was an Instagram post today that made it real. They left Miami three days ago headed to Lighthouse Marina in Little River (North Myrtle Beach). That is where Mark and I left her in February of 2016 and where they bought her five months later in July. Today’s Instagram post said, “What a passage! An incipient cold front forced us into Winyah Bay 55nm short of Little River, but we sailed 460nm offshore in only 57 hours, averaging over 8 knots (and sailing almost all of that) thanks to a free lift from the Gulf Stream and uniformly pleasant south wind. Dawn’s cousin Katana came with and had an excellent first sail, no seasickness and lots of dolphins. It was a nice way to say goodbye to Windbird; last night on our way into Winyah Bay we passed 12,000nm on her. She’s been a great boat for us, and I’ll miss her a lot. It’s time for the next chapter of our lives, though; can’t wait to see what the next adventure brings.”

When Sam and Dawn reach Little River, they will pack up their things and head west to Washington state. They bought a parcel of land on an air strip on an island off Seattle. Before Windbird, they owned a Piper Cub and once they build their new home, they plan to buy a new one. They have been wonderful owners of Windbird and she is a better boat for it. I have enjoyed sailing aboard Windbird with them . . . three weeks in the Bahamas in 2017 and in 2018, I joined them in the Dominican Republic and sailed the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico. I wish them the best and hope that John, the same broker and friend we used, will find new owners for Windbird that deserve her! She is a special sailboat who taught me so, so much. Thank you, Windbird. You deserve only the best.

Today was a beautiful day. I spent part of it outside and part of it inside. The morning started with the arrival of the plumber to install a new faucet in the kitchen sink. The old one had all kinds of issues and the new one is wonderful. Slowly, slowly I am getting the raised garden beds ready to plant. I hope to continue that project tomorrow.

2021 Life Logs, Day 125: Coffee and Cleaning on Cinco de Mayo

2021 Life Logs, Day 125: Coffee and Cleaning on Cinco de Mayo
Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Weather: Overcast with Some Rain; High 51, Low, 46 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

What is Cinco de Mayo other than the fifth day of May? When I asked myself that question, I had no answer. So, I looked it up. Cinco de Mayo is a festive day commemorating the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Some say this battle gave the Mexican’s the incentive to eventually drive out the French. And some say that this could have changed the course of American history as the French would have supported the Confederacy in the Civil War. For whatever reason, it is more widely celebrated in the US than in Mexico. Who knew? Not me.

My Cinco de Mayo began with a coffee date with a friend. If, and when, I drink coffee, which is not often, I drink decaf with cream. That is what I had this morning when my friend Midge had tea. So, it seems unfair to coffee to call this a coffee date. I’ll have to come up with some other name.

When I returned home it was noon. I had lunch and then launched into a kitchen cleaning frenzy. The plumber comes tomorrow to replace the kitchen faucet. Since I moved into the cottage, the kitchen faucet has had a pinhole on the front tip of the faucet. I have continually applied Super Glue and have been successful in keeping it from spraying in the face most of the time. In addition, the faucet leaks around the base which keeps the plywood under the sink damp all the time. So, it is time to have the faucet replaced. And that gave me the incentive to clean the whole kitchen.

My next cleaning project is to reorganize the basement. The natural gas company’s energy assessment team comes on May 21. When they give the go-ahead, a whole list of energy saving projects will be done. One of those is insulating the basement walls above the half shelf (I’m not sure that is the correct term). The cottage basement has a three-foot deep and about three-foot high shelf all around and the concrete block wall above that needs to be insulated. In order to do that, I was told on during an earlier assessment that everything I have stored on the top of the wall has to be relocated. My goal for Mother’s Day is to get that done. Then hopefully I can get back to writing.

2021 Life Logs, Day 124: Dog Training Dilemma

2021 Life Logs, Day 124: Dog Training Dilemma
Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Weather: Rain Early, Overcast; High 52, Low, 45 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Shadow and I spent our morning with a dog trainer named Ian. It was supposed to be a short assessment session, but I had so many questions that our session lasted more than an hour and half. Before Shadow was six months old, I entered a training program with a local trainer. The name of the training was “People Training for Good Dogs” and I flunked the course. Shadow’s determination to be the leader of the pack continued, but it has gotten to a point where I have to do something to stop his running and jumping on people. I have used a choke collar to do corrections and it just doesn’t work with Shadow. Despite his behaviors, I love the little critter. I really don’t know what I would do without him. So, I have to do something. In today’s assessment I was told that I need to go back putting Shadow in a crate overnight, anytime I am away from the house, and when he does not do as he is told when other people are around. Putting him in the crate is not because he misbehaves but because being free in these situations adds to his feeling of being ‘top dog’. I hate putting him in a crate and am just not sure I can do it. That, plus the fact that the training is even more expensive than the “People Training” course, is making me reluctant to commit. Shadow is a very smart dog and a wonderful companion . . . as long as I am the only person around. Add anyone else, especially the grandchildren, and I just can’t control his exuberance. I’ll probably give in and ‘break out another thousand’ for the training. But if I do, I have to make sure I am willing to follow the rules. I’ve kept a kennel of fourteen sled dogs and raced them, had a wonderful Collie for twelve years, and then had a very spoiled Cocker Spaniel for fifteen years who could probably have used some training. There were issues, but I never felt like I was being held hostage by my dog as I do now. What to do?

It was an Early Release Day in Falmouth schools today, so I spent my afternoon with Ollie and Jonah. Then, as I do now on Tuesdays, I took Sam to drum lessons at 3:30 pm and then on to Hyannis for rowing practice. We don’t get back from that until about 7:15 pm when I drop him off for his Scout meeting. I then stopped by Heather and Jed’s to hear Ollie play a new Suzuki violin piece, Gavotte. It is the last piece in the Suzuki Violin Book 1 and a plucky tune that was always one of my favorites. Heather told Ollie about my crazy dancing to this tune when she played it as a little girl. I tried to revive those dance steps tonight, which included a bit of ballet, but I fear my days of ballet are over! But Heather remembered the steps and was quite good at it.

2021 Life Logs, Day 123: Thanksgiving and a Tribute to NPR

2021 Life Logs, Day 123: Thanksgiving and a Tribute to NPR
Date: Monday, May 3, 2021
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High 65, Low, 49 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Thanksgiving is 204 days away, but I am already looking forward to it. Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco will be flying in from Puerto Rico on November 23. It is a long time to wait, but at least there is a plan for having my whole family together again. We will certainly be giving thanks!

I spent today dealing with the little problems in life. Somehow, I did not make an appointment to have Shadow groomed in May and now there is a back log of a couple of months. So, I gave him a bath today and will continue brushing out his coat over the next couple of days. And I will attempt to trim his nails when I can get Heather or Sam to help me hold him. This was cheaper by far, but at some point he will need a haircut and I don’t think I can do that. That was one little problem. I had a mid-day annual doctor appointment and then stopped by Heather and Jed’s to install the new parts to the irrigation timer. The water pressure regulator I bought last evening at Lowe’s worked! But there were a few little leaks that need to be dealt with. I set the system to run for an hour and came home for lunch. When I returned after picking Ollie up at the end of the school day, there was a new irrigation problem. The water ran straight through the upright wall planters and came out at the bottom forming a river of water on the deck. The potting soil in the planter seemed to simply shed the water without soaking the soil. So, this is the next problem to be tackled. The upright wall planters come with the drip irrigation tubing already installed. So, either we have the wrong kind of soil or I set the timer to water for too long. We’ll continue to work out that little problem over the next few days.

Happy birthday to National Public Radio! The first NPR broadcast was on May 3, 1971. Hurray for 50 years of NPR! Mark and I met in 1973 at a public television conference. Mark was working at PBS in Washington, DC when Heather was born in 1975. But shortly thereafter, we changed our allegiance from public television to public radio. By the time Heather was two and Justin was born, we had removed the TV from our home. Heather and Justin heard only NPR. In the late 70’s and 80’s we were just listeners, but by 1984 Mark was putting a public radio station on the air in Salisbury, Maryland. Heather actually helped Mark get his job at Salisbury State College. When we drove from West Virginia to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the job interview, we had to drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. All Things Considered with host Susan Stamberg was on the radio at that moment . . . something Heather had heard everyday of her life since she was two. Halfway across the bridge, All Things Considered went silent. Heather asked, “What happened to Susan Stamberg?” As we drove on to Salisbury, there was no public radio at all. WAMU out of Washington, DC did not transmit across the Chesapeake Bay. Mark was interviewing for a teaching position in the Communications Department at the college the next day. When the college president interviewed him, he asked Mark what he would do to better the community of Salisbury if he were hired. Mark immediately thought of Heather’s words, “What happened to Susan Stamberg?” He answered by saying he would put a public radio station on the air. He was hired to do just that and spent the rest of his career in public radio. By the time we left to sail around the world, he was President and CEO of New Hampshire Public Radio and Chair of the Board of NPR. Mark put his heart and soul into “creating a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures.” That is the current day mission statement of National Public Radio. Mark believed in that mission statement and was proud to be a leader in the continuing development of the stations in the NPR family for a little more than twenty years of his life. Then our daughter Heather entered the public radio world. In December 2019 she wrote, “I walked into WCAI fifteen years ago with a newly minted Ph.D., and no radio or journalism experience to speak of. Could I learn to be a science reporter, I asked? The answer – yes – literally changed my life.” It took her a few years to leave the research world and join the public radio world, but she never regretted it. Heather wrote this as she left public radio to take the position to lead communications at the Woodwell Climate Research Center (formally the Woods Hole Research Center), a top-ranked climate change think tank. Her passion is climate change, so she now is now putting her passion to work full-time. I am sure a part of her heart will always be with public radio. NPR—my family loves you. Happy 50th!

I was tipped off to NPR’s 50th by my friend Lynne Kirwin in New Zealand. She sent a WhatsApp message last night saying she had just listened to an NPR podcast about the start of NPR 50 years ago. Then today when I was listening to the local NPR station, WCAI, I heard a great interview with Maria Hinojosa talking about her years with NPR as their first Hispanic news person. It was then that I Googled NPR and found that today was the first broadcast in 1971. But how interesting that I learned of this from someone halfway around the world. NPR has certainly carved a place for itself in the world. I talked with Lynne tonight and was jealous as usual. She lives where she can pick up avocados that have fallen on the ground while walking a dog. But winter is coming there as summer approaches here. Soon I’ll be able to make her jealous when I am picking fresh veggies from the garden. Love you, Lynne!

2021 Life Logs, Day 122: Slow Sunday

2021 Life Logs, Day 122: Slow Sunday
Date: Sunday, May 2, 2021
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 63, Low, 45 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Some days are so jam-packed with activities that there isn’t a chance to catch your breath. Today was not one of those days. It was a slow Sunday and I’m not even sure where it went. I dabbled at a few different things—cleaning house, sending photos from Bill Frieswyk’s birthday party to friends, making hardware cloth enclosures for some of my plants that rabbits have eaten over the past couple of days, and walking with Shadow. Then mid-afternoon I went to Heather’s to work on the irrigation system. When I left yesterday, I thought I had it working, but there were still a couple of leaks that had me puzzled. Well, at some point after I left, the tubing blew off the timer and water went gushing everywhere. Heather thought it was just that the some of the connections were not as tight as they should be. Not knowing any of this, during the night I dreamed about the irrigation system and woke up realizing that I might have put in the wrong piece for the water pressure regulator. A drip irrigation system has to have a pressure regulator to take the incoming water pressure down to 25 psi. Otherwise, the system blows apart . . . which is what happened after I left yesterday. So, my dream was right. I felt so absolutely stupid not to have double checked that. But to redeem myself, I drove across the bridge this evening to a Lowe’s which was the closest place with the piece needed. We have a Home Depot on the Cape, but they don’t stock the part needed. Hopefully, I can get the system right tomorrow.