The 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro ended yesterday. I’ve watched a lot of events over the past couple of weeks. I’ve learned the meaning of athletic maneuvers I didn’t know existed. Or maybe I knew but forgot four years ago. And, now I understand how important 1/100th  of a second can be.


Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if everyday activities were scrutinized and graded the way dives and gymnastics are. There would be names for the different techniques for folding sheets – and folding the fitted sheet would rate a higher level of difficulty.

Dish-washing would be my favorite event. There is so much technique involved and so many options for equipment and strategy. You can use a dishrag or a sponge (don’t get me started on the varieties in sponge technology). You can use one of those things on a stick, but some of those have a built-in soap dispenser, which I think should be banned as cheating. The choice of dish soap is a whole other category. Maybe if you use the Consumer Reports favorites, your difficulty level should be reduced.


Now for the actual washing of the dishes. Do you pre-rinse? Do you use hot water or just warm? The different wrist movements should have fancy names as well as the circular arm movements (clockwise or counter-clockwise?) How do you try to scrub or scrape off baked on or age hardened food? That is the test of a real champion. Do you resort to additional equipment or rely solely on elbow grease? And then there’s the decision as to whether you rinse with the spray setting, which is faster but which causes splashing – a serious deduction.

72-drying-dishes-081616_008.jpg August 16, 2016

Sticking the landing would be quickly and accurately securing the dish in one of those annoying plastic dish drying racks. This would be my personal Waterloo.

I think that putting dishes in the dishwasher is more of an art form than a sporting event. You have to be creative and have a really good sense of spatial relations as well as patience and perseverance. But you could make this a timed event; the most plates, bowls and cups you can fit in the dishwasher in the least amount of time wins. You can challenge your spouse or roommate and make it a family affair.


And then there’s parking a car. This is another fun event in the Olympics of life. Maybe if I give myself running commentary the next time I’m parking in a parking lot or trying to back my car into the garage, it’ll make it a less frustrating and more enjoyable experience. One can always hope.


Mundane Monday Challenge #72 : Learn Photography

It has been so ghastly hot outside, I haven’t been going out unless I have no choice. This means I’m finding pictures inside. Surprisingly, there have been quite a few indoor photo ops.


I’m addicted to pictures of light filtering through things. Leaves, curtains, glass. This isn’t new. I’ve been following light as long as I’ve been taking pictures – 47 years this summer. I got my first “real” camera the summer of 1969, a few weeks after my son was born.


Today, armed with more than enough cameras and lenses, I’m ready for anything. How come the wrong lens is always on the camera? Why is that?

Is this another Murphy’s Law?


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Any Seating including Tables and Chairs


If we stay up too late, the dogs get annoyed. We are sitting on their bed. Or, more to the point, Bonnie’s bed. Gibbs prefers the big sofa in front of the window. They allow us to use our upholstered furnishing to a point, but when it gets late, we are expected to gracefully retire leaving them to get a good night’s sleep to add to their long afternoon and morning naps.

Bonnie and Gibbs need a lot of rest. Begging for treats, eating, and occasionally going outside for a good, hearty bark is exhausting!


Garry feels he ought to have a few rights, like using the loveseat and his laptop.


Stuff — especially camera equipment and reading matter — tends to spill onto all available surfaces. Also, anything that I prefer the dogs not drag outside. Particularly, my shoes and sandals. Maybe it’s unreasonable, but I don’t think the tooth marks add to sartorial elegance.


Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge


It has been many long years since I craved luxury, if I ever did. My mother used to tell people I didn’t care about “that stuff” … even when I was young. I was surprised that she had noticed because it was true. I wanted things that were interesting and different, but luxury never entered into it.


In this part of my life, we live in a home that is more than enough for our need. It’s a bit too big, really. It contains twice as many rooms as we need and too many stairs. But it’s comfortable (excepting the stairs). It is sufficiently isolated so we can use it as a hideout for two not-s0-sociable people who do not crave close neighbors. A friendly chat by the mailbox is enough.

Stockbridge - Red Lion Inn -- my idea of luxury travel

Stockbridge – Red Lion Inn — my idea of luxury travel

When we travel, I don’t look for luxury, unless you count cleanliness and good mattresses as luxurious (I don’t … I think those are the basics). Anything beyond that is luxury to us. We’ve stayed in some pretty awful place … and then again, lucked into some wonderful, charming places.

In our lives, luxury is almost never even a part of the goal. We want a car that runs, and will run even in the middle of a bad, New England winter. I want good food to eat, especially since there are so many things I can’t eat at all. I want good quality appliances, but they don’t have to be the best or fanciest. All they have to be is up to the tasks for which I need them.

Although I don’t consider it a luxury, I’m willing to pay for the best computer I can stretch my money to afford. I want the best video card, the most V-RAM. A fast CPU, a huge (dependable) hard drive and a very high-definition monitor. I want all of it to fit into a five-pound package.

Cameras, too. Although none of my equipment is currently top of the line, much of it was when it was new. I have every lens I might need and a few I really don’t need, but enjoy having anyway. Since I don’t make money from photography and have no plans to make it pay, I guess you could say all my lovely camera equipment is a luxury. I wouldn’t argue the point.


Our ultimate luxury and the only one I think I can’t live without? Our bed. Every night, when we settle in for however many hours of peace we can steal from a crazy world, I am grateful for that bed.

Life is hard, but our bed is soft.



WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge | ANY MORNING


Our house is set with the bedroom side of the house — which also includes the kitchen and dining room — facing (mostly) east with a nice piece of north.


It’s why we catch the sunrise all through the winter and spring, but later, when the leaf canopy covers the woods and our house, only the shafts of sunlight show as they sneak their way through the branches.


This was a strange year, when the gypsy moth caterpillars defoliated every hardwood tree in our woods. The leaves are back, but a much lighter green than normal this late in the summer.


I love my house in morning light. The brightness of the kitchen. The way sun filters to the deck, casting shadows from the rails.


I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016


The day before yesterday was a day and a half. Maybe more.

I knew my son was coming to mow the lawn, but I didn’t know he was coming with a new (to us, but not “new” new) dishwasher. I didn’t expect UPS to deliver a stack of items that have been hanging fire. Jam for my morning muffins. A new mat for the shower (the old one has turned a funky orange). Shower cleanser and mold removing spray, both of which (my preferred brands, that is) are not available in the local store.


These days, I order it from Walmart central and it gets delivered for free … a great improvement over hunting the aisles of our local Walmart in person.


After the installation, I had to wash the kitchen floor again. Two days in a row is a lot of floor scrubbing. It’s impossible to install an appliance without needing a complete floor wash afterwards. Then I vacuumed again too. Because hauling stuff in and out hauled in a lot of lawn and leaf debris.



Then, realizing it was now or never, I put dinner up in the slow cooker because I had the distinct feeling once I sat down, I would not quickly rise again.

I was right.

I did manage to take a few pictures in the midst of the chaos. For reasons I can’t explain, suddenly my dogs are cooperating and hold still while I take their picture. Gibbs and I had a little disagreement about him marking furniture in the living room. He felt a need to hide. Not very effectively, but pretty funny.

Gibbs in hiding

Gibbs in hiding

I apologize (again) for not visiting all your blogs. I fell behind and then slipped even further today. It was obvious to me I’d never get through the email, much less the blogs. It wasn’t lack of love. I ran out of time. I think tomorrow will be more or less normal. I hope.


I came back out of the bedroom last night to collect the folded clothing Garry had earlier washed and put on the coffee table for appropriate distribution. Gibbs and Bonnie were standing four-square on the end table next to where I normally sit. They were rooting for crumbs — or anything I might have left they could eat.


They are not, despite the lies they tell about it, starving. Gibbs has lost the lean and hungry look he had when he arrived here. Bonnie’s belly tells its own story. No starving dogs in this house. Garry would never allow it. Yet they beg, dig, and search for food constantly as if whatever meal they most recently consumed will be their last.

NOT. True. They lie like dogs.


Consider the water-bowl thing. We use a stainless steel stock pot as a water bowl. This was necessary for Bishop who drank a huge amount of water. Sometimes, we wondered if he was part camel and we always said he had a drinking problem

Now, with just the two smaller dogs, we could use a smaller bowl for the Scotties. But they’re used to the big one — and so are we. I bet a smaller container would end up knocked over with the floor flooded.

Regardless, no matter what we do, there’s always water on the floor. I bought a special tray to put under the water. We recently added a bath towel under the tray to sop some of the overflow. But still, there’s always pools of water here, there, elsewhere.


I could not figure out why. These are not jowly dogs. They don’t drool buckets after a taking a drink. Okay, they have beards, but seriously … how much water can a Scottie’s beard dump on the floor?

Came the day I found Gibbs in the water pot. Not all four legs. Just his two front paws. He was paddling happily with merriment and lots of splashing. A nice little swim.


Terriers in general and Scotties in particular are not known for aquatic enthusiasm, though my first Scottie — MacADog — liked to wallow in shallow water along the shore at the beach. As long as he could keep his feet on the ground, water was okay. Apparently Gibbs likes a bit of cool water on a hot summer’s day.


Garry and I went into a huddle? Should we buy him a pool? That seemed a bit of overkill. Especially given the drought conditions we’re having. But something perhaps to give him a bit of water playtime not in the water bowl. Nothing inflatable. A dogs claws can merely rake lightly on the surface of an inflatable and it is thence forward a deflatable.

We compromised. I bought a washtub. A big, 18-gallon metal tub. I’ve got pictures of me and my brother chilling out on warm summer days in tubs just like this.


Garry’s shoulder has been very sore, so the tub remained empty until this morning when Garry decided he could carry some water down if he carried the buckets in his left hand. And he did.


Of course, the dogs have no idea what to make of it. They’ve been sniffing all around it and poking their heads over the side.

I’m counting on natural curiosity to get one or both of them wet. If that doesn’t work, you can bet I’ll drop them in, then enjoy the show. And the mopping up as our wet dogs come galloping homeward.


It’s summer here on Rancho Kachingerosa. Let our mini-Olympics begin!