The ants have returned. It’s an annual event all over New England. They usually don’t show up in April. Typically, they wait for May or even June. This year, they’re here. In force. Everywhere.

Being as I don’t feel inclined to kill the birds, the dogs, and us, I have to find solutions that aren’t going to do serious damage. I also have to be careful since the water table is high and we have a well. Not poisoning our own well is always a good thing.

poison eco-smart

I bought two big spray bottles of Scott’s Eco-Smart Home Pest Control Spray for Crawling Insects (it works as well as the horribly lethal stuff) and a 10-lb bag of Scott’s Eco-Smart poison pellets for the yard. Because not only are the ants back, but so are the ticks. I can’t prevent them entirely, but maybe I can reduce their presence.

All of this reminds me of …

Have a great day!


If there’s one universal truth about life on earth, it’s that all that lives — plant or animal — eats. From the birds in the sky and the Christmas cacti in the dining room, to the ants who annually invade my kitchen — it’s dinnertime.

Biscuit time - All dogs

Ask the dogs. Gibbs has been with us just a month, but before he had been here two days, he knew the sound of the biscuit box being opened. It would bring him hot-footing it from the farthest edge of the yard to the kitchen, dancing with glee at the chance to get a piece of dry, hard, tasteless dog biscuit.


Of all the dining venues the U.S. has to offer, nothing is as uniquely American as the diner. George’s Coney Island in Worcester, Massachusetts is old. Serving hot dogs and other quick foods since 1918, its retro look is not feigned.

It’s still pretty much in its original form, from the dark wood booths to the huge, mustard dripping hot dog neon sign.


What’s your preference? If you are peckish, really hungry or just looking for a toothsome nibble, what do you crave?

If you’re not sure, try the diner. They’ve got everything!

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

DINNERTIME – The Daily Post WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge


This isn’t a friendly town. People fraternize with the people who attend their church and seem to regard anyone else as potentially hostile.


Of course we didn’t know that when we moved here. We knew that it was a very white town, that Garry was likely to be the first (only) person of color, and I might well be the first (only?) Jew. In fact, apparently well-intentioned people said stuff like “Gee, I’ve never known a Jewish person before” and honestly didn’t see anything wrong with this. Meanwhile, Garry got stares. No way to know if they were staring because they’d seen him on TV or because he’s brown. Both?


Our situation was made even more complicated by our neighbor, Ned. A big guy. Rode a Harley. I love Harleys, but there are Harleys and then, there are Harleys. This one was chopped and really loud. When Ned started his bike, the vibration alone could knock me out of bed.

Ned was massive. Tattooed. He hung with a bunch of skin-head friends. They had raucous parties with lots of beer. We didn’t expect to be invited, nor did these seem to be our kind of party.

picture of snow all white

Ned flew a Confederate flag over his house. Prominently. We learned he’d always done this. It was part of some family roots thing tying him to his original home state of Georgia. Me? I think it’s time the south moved on. The war ended a more than a century ago. Time to get over it. But I’m from New York so I probably don’t understand.

Our neighbor’s house was the only one in the Valley flying a confederate flag and we were the only mixed-race couple in town. Ironic, to say the least. And we were a poster couple for hate groups.

black jockey racist statue

Garry is pragmatic and tough. His mild-mannered demeanor belies his Marine Corps interior (semper fi, and note I did not say “former Marine” because there’s no such thing as a former Marine). Moreover, he couldn’t have survived 40-years as a reporter without being tough.

One fine summer’s day, music screaming from Ned’s boombox, Garry looked at me and murmured those fighting words: “This is ridiculous!”

He marched down the driveway, through the woods that join our two houses, to Ned’s front door. Garry knocked. Loudly. When Ned finally answered, Garry said: “Hi. I’m your neighbor. Garry Armstrong. Do we have a problem?”

Shortly the flag disappeared along with a noxious black jockey statue. Turned out, Ned was a plumber. He fixed our bathroom pipes. The whole skinhead thing dissolved in the face of a brown-skinned guy who did news on Boston TV. Seemed it was less important who Ned was than who Ned, with a little encouragement, was willing to become.


Eventually Ned got into drugs. Or something. We were never sure what. His wife left. His life fell apart. One day, he vanished. Fortunately, he returned our extension ladder before going.

I miss Ned. No one fixed pipes like Ned and we really need some plumbing work. He always gave us a huge discount.

He turned out to be a funny guy and a pretty good neighbor. Who’d have thunk it?



From Cee: This week’s Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge (CB&W) topic is Kitchen and Dining Room Items.  You can show tables, chair, dishes, appliances, food, silverware or utensils, sinks, stoves, etc.  Use your imagination and have some fun along the way.

Our kitchen, in the early part of the afternoon. A time of soft light, and busyness. Corn beef cooking on the stove top. Peace reigns.





Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge



Object lesson of the day: I picked up my camera. Removed the lens cap. Pressed the ‘on’ button. Nothing happened.

I panicked.

Then I changed the battery.

Lesson: Before you panic, check the battery. You’d think after 40 years, I’d have figured it out by now, wouldn’t you?

It is not spring. That’s two weeks in the future, but the weather hasn’t looked at the calendar. It thinks it’s spring. I’m not about to argue the point.


It’s lovely. Warm. Gentle breeze. Bright blue sky. Too early for leaves, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the forsythia bloomed early. After three years of brutal winters when snow lingered late, what a treat this warm, friendly weather is.

dutch door spring-030916_05

The open dutch door lets in the fresh air — a luxury after a winter with everything closed up tight.

Sunshine is streaming through the aloe by the sink. The light glows in a little bottle on the window sill.


It’s almost my birthday … just two more days. The gypsy fortune-teller was wrong. I did not die in my 68th year (so there, gypsy lady). I might make it to the big 70!

Today, it’s too warm for my “between season” jacket! Too warm for a sweatshirt. Perfection will be more rain until our rivers are full again.



This challenge hopes you will find beauty in almost everything. I do. Because it’s really all about the light.


So, from yesterday morning, a few kitchen pictures. Indian corn on the hook.

72-Tools-Oddballs-030616_005Tools hanging on hooks by the east-facing kitchen window.

72-Aloe-Oddballs-030616_004An aloe which lives on the counter, ready to sacrifice a piece of itself to soothe a burn.


And the camera that “once was lost, but now is found …” Hallelujah!


Our cable company changes their software frequently. They call these upgrades, though nothing improves. The equipment doesn’t work better. It isn’t easier to use. If there are new and useful features, no one tells you what they are or how to use them. You might discover them accidentally while trying to figure out how to do what you did before they removed the menu you previously used.

The newest feature is adjustable recording times. You can set them to before or after the times posted in the guide. It’s trendy for shows to begin and end at odd times, a few minutes earlier or later than on the hour or half hour. If you set up recordings using the default settings from the guide, the end or beginning of each show will be snipped. Annoying. Very.


Why can’t developers make the software use actual start and end times? It couldn’t be that hard.

With shows starting and ending at random times, despite how they’re listed in the “guide,” being able to adjust them ought to help. It would if you could just set start and end time using regular time. Start recording at 8:01 PM. End at 9:03 PM. Simple, right?

Nope. Too easy. So you have to use “start earlier” — or — “start later” or “end early” — or — “run over.” We have no problem with clock time, but the “earlier” and “over” thing is fuzzy. We need numbers OR better yet, make the DVR’s internal computer deal with this so we don’t have to.

So. To record shows in a sequence when one airs right after another, is Kafkaesque. You must start with the final show in the sequence, then work forward, adjusting each show in turn so it does not overlap the next or previous or whatever.

Garry has been engaged in combat with the DVR for months. Yesterday, he got so frustrated he was ready to throw the remote against a wall. I wouldn’t let him quit. If you let a computerized device defeat you, news travels and all your widgets will take up arms against you. They will overthrow civilization as we know it.

Today, the DVR. Tomorrow, the world.

Nothing is safe. Snick, whir, beep. Chirp, buzz, click. Ding!  Can the Zombie Apocalypse be far behind?

Show no fear!