Everyone and his or her cousin George has a “smart phone.” This is a hand-held computer on which you cannot hear a human voice or detect what the party on the other end is saying, so you substitute texting — a form of encrypted communication requiring great thumb strength and high-power magnifying eyeglasses.

72-Mobile and Regular Phones_07

I own such a device, so I am part of the connected world. In spirit. I do not actually use the device. It mostly lives in my bag in a “powered off” state . It’s purpose is reassurance.  Garry can’t hear anything on it and I’m only nominally better. But, it’s there, just in case.

Whether or not I could use it to make a phone call (probably not) or contact emergency services (“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you … I think I’m losing the signal … hello? hello? Are you there?”), I’m nonetheless glad to help support our economy by paying for services I don’t use, and a device which is more annoying than useful.

But hey, we all gotta have one, y’know? Just in case. Oh, wait. I think I hear it ringing …

Gotta go!



This is my photo of the week. Maybe of the month. It is the rapidly growing caterpillar of the Gypsy Moth. They have invaded our oak woods and they are everywhere. Last week they were tiny, but they’re a lot bigger now and will be twice the size in another few weeks.


These voracious eaters can and will munch their way through the hardwood trees in the woods. I swear I can hear them crunching away at night. They eat night and day until they turn into moths. At which point they stop eating and eventually lay eggs and die.

I tried to knock all the caterpillars off  the door so as not to bring a dozen or more gypsy moths crawlies into the house with me. This one refused to be knocked off and clung to the door jamb with all several hundred of his sticky little feet.


The birds apparently don’t like the way they taste. There are so very many of them! At least they are (mostly) leaving my fuchsia in peace.


I thought I’d add this piece from Ontario’s (Canada) INVADING SPECIES website. Gypsy moths are the number one dangerous invasive species in North America. I am not exaggerating.

Gypsy Moth
Lymantria dispar

Gypsy moth is an insect native to Europe and Asia that has been severely weakening trees across North America. Gypsy moth was introduced to North America in the late 1860’s near Boston and has spread over the past century. Despite the successful use of insect predators, as well as fungal and viral controls, gypsy moth populations do occasionally reach outbreak levels and continue to expand their range.

Gypsy moth caterpillars defoliate host trees, mostly hardwood species, such as: oak, birch, poplar, willow, maple and others. During outbreak years, nearly all broadleaf trees may be completely defoliated, caterpillars appear everywhere, and “frass” (caterpillar droppings) appear to rain from the trees. Adult gypsy moths are only seen in mid-summer when temperatures are above freezing. This species is known to infest trees in woodland or suburban areas.


Gypsy moths can be found throughout southern Canada, across the eastern and central United States, and most of the western states. Populations have been found in southern Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Each population varies annually and fluctuates with local conditions.

Impacts of Gypsy Moth

  • Defoliates and kills large amounts of trees, affecting the many benefits provided by trees.
  • Economic impacts affect all forest users.
  • Caterpillars may chew small holes in leaves or completely strip a canopy, depending on age and population levels.



It’s oddball photograph time again. Thank you Cee!

This is a pile of empty boxes from lenses, cameras, and other photographic equipment. I can’t seem to bring myself to throw them out. Half of them are in a trash bag … but I still have the bag. And the boxes. Just in case.


In the following photograph, a Japanese tourist was acquainting himself with America’s foremost fomenter of revolution, Sam Adams.


Which would be …


This would have been a perfect time to take some garden pictures … except that the rain is coming down in sheets. There’s a hurricane racing in from the Gulf of Mexico and a huge, unrelated storm charging up the east coast. It’s going to be a gray, soggy week. Funny about that. This is usually the best weather of the year.


It looks as if the kayakers abandoned their belongings on the pier. Given the weather, who could blame them?



After a lot of whining and complaining, I settled down. I filled out the ridiculous amount of paperwork, reconstructed as much of my medical history as I could — anything more than 5 years ago, is more than a little vague — and of course, my list of medications. I got my son to witness my permission to hunt down my records (good luck with that), and signed a new health proxy (everyone should have one — and I do mean absolutely everyone). Then, papers in hand, we drove over to the new doctor’s office — a mere one town over!


I turned them over along with the appropriate Medicare insurance information and went home to notify Blue Cross Blue Shield that I’m changing doctors. They actually didn’t care because I have a PPO and don’t require a listed primary care doctor. I can go to any doctor that takes BCBS payments … which is nearly every doctor in the region except the group to which my current doctor is migrating.


I explained that I needed an appointment with the new guy because I was going to need new prescriptions at the end of this month. Somehow, she found an appointment. Which conflicted with the dental appointment and the finishing up of my crown. So I took the doctor appointment, moved the dentist to the following day, leaving one day before the cardiologist appointment … and the almost immediate arrival of a houseful of out-of-town visitors. June and July have filled up.


Summer always fills up quickly. I’m sure you’ve noticed. The weather turns warm and suddenly, you’re booking stuff for next September. It’s because winter is brutal. You can’t count on anything in the winter. Nature might just decide to throw a blizzard on the day you plan to visit those friends in Vermont. Instead, no one is going anywhere for a few days at least.


It’s amazing how we manage to not see people we really want to see because when we are free, they are not. Everyone is busy seeing the people they need to see while they can … and before you know it, another year slips away.


I haven’t found the cure for not enough time. I’ve been looking for something to do about this my whole life. I thought, after retirement, we’d have all the time in the world. In a sense, we do … but we live in New England. Winter is at best a wild card. You can plan, but you can’t be sure it will really happen, which means we really only have half the year to do stuff . There’s always more stuff to do than time.

I’m working on this. I suspect I’ll always be working on it forever.