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Yesterday I did all the chores, paid the bills, folded the laundry–and even did a little yard work!–after which I felt completely justified in meeting some friends for a lovely dinner at a charming Belgian restaurant.
I have known these ladies for many years; we are all widows, all mothers of large families, all grannies. So there we were, demurely sipping our wine, chatting enthusiastically, and wielding the fork and knife with surpassing skill–when I heard someone calling my name. “Hope! Hope!” I looked up and there was my cousin from Minnesota, his wife and his son! Sitting at the next table!
Well! The lad is going to AU, and his fond parents have visited before, but still, we looked at each other with a wild surmise, struck all of heap. Then of course we all got to chatting and then they said goodbye and went off, leaving us to carouse as before.
Not really so surprising that they should be in that fine little restaurant, actually, being discriminating diners, and as this is their last child, of course they come to visit often. Still, it was a surprise!
It made me think of all the hidden coincidences we know nothing about, the person next to you on the bus whose grandmother, perhaps, was a dear friend of your grandmother–or whose cat is brother to your cat.
Or sister, as it might be.
Or uncle, of course.

In any case, a very fine dinner.

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Shows and more shows

Britbox offered me a free week, with the new Maigret as a tempting lure. Well, why not, I thought, and accepted.
LORDIE!
Rowan Atkinson has never been so subdued, so totally depressed and low.

Nattily dressed, I own, but there he is, riding around for hours in a genteel car, while murders are taking place in Vieux Paris under the very NOSES of les flics. Moreover, the action is not readily perceivable, as the city is always very darksome and dank (as dictated by the regulations of modern detective series). NOTHING HAPPENS, hours pass by, someone is murdered, hours pass by. A clue is found! Hours pass by.
Then, it seemed Maigret had captured the murderer! YAY! Except then another murder happened. But it was late, I was tired and I went to bed.
The next day I was about to cancel Britbox, but it cunningly offered me Dickensian, an odd melange of Dickens characters set together in a story which starts with the murder of Jacob Marley–well, well, one does wonder why, but such an assortment of excellent actors in fine costumes is difficult not to like.

So I’ll pay Britbox $6.99 a month for now. Those sly baggages.

Oldness

Dear friends, I have passed the human sell-by date, and am now completely aged. Sunday was my SEVENTIETH birthday.
In my 60’s I was able to feel as one of the madding throng–for instance, Google didn’t automatically cut me off when I entered my birth date on their little polls, at least not always–but now–! Well, well, who wants to hear what kind of coffin I am shopping for.
However, it was a grand birthday weekend! Family and friends rallied round, and my grandson was particularly winsome. Flowers, chocolate, wine, all came flowing in the door! My younger son gave me a set of antique postcards, each not only carefully addressed to one of my 5 children, but STAMPED too. That boy is a wonder.

Every year from now on is a blessing. Extra, don’t you know. You will say, but HOPE–70 is the new 60! But somehow I feel sure that 70 is 70.

So, I shall try to treat each new day as the miraculous gift it is–listen to the birds in the morning, and watch the leaves growing on the trees, and remember as much as I can of the years that came before, and enjoy as much as I can of the years to come.
Precious time, each day running by so swiftly.

Today the kindly bus driver greeted me and said he’d missed me yesterday–I said I had been ill, and thanked him. A courteous gesture, pleasing to the person who lives alone–I honor his thoughtfulness!
Yesterday was NOT a good day, my insides were behaving badly and my mind could not rest what with all the turmoil. This interesting session started at 3 in the morning and ended promptly at 8. I had a cup of tea and then worked from home, Bertie on my lap for much of the time. Cats LOVE it when I am unwell.
Today I read a story in the paper about a family cursed with a genealogical flaw that predisposes them to stomach cancer. Now that they know, and can be tested for the gene, some of them are electing to–HAVE THEIR STOMACHS REMOVED. How do they eat, you ask? With difficulty.
But at least they’re alive, you see. Things could always be worse. Always.

Chin UP little buddy!

Mistakes Were Made

On Sunday evenings I welcome a darling son to dinner, and thus have a delightful afternoon of cooking and baking–and as I am having a party NEXT weekend, I also made up a few batches of cookie dough in preparation for future festivity.
Sunday is also the day my darling daughter calls from her far away habitation in the exotic northern parts of the United Kingdom, and we chat pleasantly for a time.
Sunday is in fact a charming catch-up-with-family day.
Yesterday’s menu featured chicken pot pie, a favorite dish. As I chatted with far away daughter, I got the chilled pie dough from the fridge and commenced rolling it out. Up and down, back and forth! Finally it was the right size, I set it over the chicken filling, brushed it with egg wash, sprinkled with salt and pepper and WHISKED it into the oven.
An hour later, out it came, handsome, brown, bubbling: a triumph!
But as we ate our pie, it seemed to me that it was somehow–sweeter than chicken pot pie usually is. Good, you know, but...sweet.
AH.
The pie dough still languished in the fridge. I had used the cookie dough to top the pie.
Sigh.
Still, rather tasty. We ate it without complaint.

Arthur O’Bower

This morning a wild wind whipped snow through the air–which was odd as it was 40 degrees out. The snow has stopped, but my, how the wind roars.
700,000 without power in the area–how very happy I was to see my front yard light on when I came home this evening. I passed several trucks chopping up a downed tree, and feared the worst.
I pray that the trees about us bend rather than break, and that those slender lines that feed us precious electricity stay unharmed.

Arthur O’Bower has broken his band
And he comes roaring up the land;
The King of Scots with all his power
Cannot stop Arthur O’Bower.

Grim Update

A musical noise? A noise of scuffling?
No, but a very loud, respectable noise —-

Like groaning to oneself on Sunday morning

In Chapel, close before the second psalm.’

These charming lines from Robert Graves’ poem Welsh Incident came to mind upon hearing the news that my company is moving to Office 2016.
The work place was echoing with groans–politely stifled, mind, but groans all the same.
Farewell to comfortable Office 2013–or in the case of some benighted clingers, Office 2010. For the coming weeks–perhaps months–every effort to do the job will involve online searches to discover where Word has hidden this useful menu, Excel that invaluable tool.
I suppose I am just a SILLY to wish that things could stay the same. Particularly when they seem to be doing quite well, actually.
SO, Office 2016 is blanketing the workplace tonight.
What could go wrong?
And speaking of vile technology, I have updated my lovely Welsh Incident animation here, so that it is now in an accepted format, NO LONGER a deprecated and wicked Flash movie. Effecting this change, let me tell you dear friends, was not a walk in the park. I am Techno Queen: just saying.

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