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Heat wavejuly 2019

Cooler than yesterday, but still in the mid 90sF. This is the third too hot day when we are warned to stay inside and keep cool. The city of Akron published lists of cooling centers for those who are without air conditioning. I have this upstairs when I am mostly staying  and rereading Aaron Elkins wonderful Gideon Oliver mysteries.

Every so often I walk across to my computer/quilt room and watch a rerun of Bones. I’m up to season 8 of 12. I see an anthropological theme here!

But guess what! Tomorrow is to be a high of 74F!


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Butterflies in July


Butterfly monarch 7 2019 female wiki

(This is a female monarch from the wikipedia article. I was not able to get a good photo from the ones in my yard who were always moving too quickly.)

My milkweed is blooming now in Ohio…And I am seeing butterflies, monarch butterflies! Well, it may only be one butterfly, but I am seeing him frequently. At Chautauqua in late June I saw a Monarch and also often  Tiger Swallowtails.

Any siting of these makes me happy because of late there have been so fewer Monarchs and butterflies generally. Our sadly degrading environment may be to blame.

butterfly monarch 7 2019 male derek ramsay wiki

(Here is another photo from wiki, taken by Derek Ramsay. This is a male Monarch.)

I blogged about this five years ago. https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/a-sad-absence/

Today I talked on the phone with my DES friend Susan in Toronto. She had similar good news, probably even better news. She has seen multiple Monarchs in her front yard over the past few days.

butterfly monarch 7 2019 wiki mex sunflower

A third wiki photo of a Monarch above a Mexican sunflower. I couldn’t see who took this.

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June Memories

Towards the end of June I enjoyed another gathering of my D.E. Stevenson friends – and it was as magic as ever! We did a lot of porchsitting and talking. I really had to laugh that I had feared that we might run out of things to discuss! That doesn’t happen with this group.

Chaut DES june 2019 Dessies together!

From left to right: Susan, Alice, Me, Betty, Linda, Sulie and Perry. Karen is standing behind Sulie who flew all the way from Olympia, Washington to Erie, PA, and then drove a good hour to be with us. Susan drove down from Toronto. Betty drove from eastern Tennessee and picked up Linda in Virginia and on to our beautiful little lake. Recently I heard Chautauqua referred to as “the little Finger Lake that strayed west”. Karen flew from Nashville, TN to Cleveland and drove two hours.

Susan took this photo. She knows how to set her camera and get back into the picture! There was a lot of talk, a lot of prosecco, a lot of cheese, some trips to bookshops and the Cheese Shop (Cadwell’s Cheese) owned by Susan’s cousin Jane. Again, Perry bought lobstah the morning of the first day and drove them all the way from Maine to western New York. She called when she got nearer to the cottage so that we could begin boiling the water. This year we had more crackers and picks. Last year we had one or two sets and passed around a garden clipper!

Chaut DES june 2019 more karen and sulie

We “porchsat” a lot and had great conversations and a lot of laughter! People shared the miniatures they had created. Susan has had another short story published in a Canadian anthology and she had a little launch party for us where this was read. One afternoon Alice took most of the group in the boat for lunch at The Fish in Bemus Point. Sulie had invited everyone for this event….

I began this post about a week ago. Every since returning from Chautauqua it has been very busy! And my mind has been very distracted. Besides the normal discombobulations and perplexities of everyday life there have been some wonderful events.  Emily’s mother in law has been visiting for two weeks from Germany and we’ve had them out for dinner twice, once this evening, her last evening of this year’s visit. Alice and Emily’s family were at Point Chautauqua over the 4th and they picked cherries one of those days. This was always a family tradition when my kids were growing up and I was sad that it seemed to have fallen by the wayside. And therefore I was quite happy that they went cherry picking this year. They picked about twenty pounds in 15 minutes, or so they tell me. I believe them. The price was $1.20 a pound. Paul always said the farmer should also weigh each of us before and after the picking!

I have been tested for hearing aids and last Friday I got them. My hearing was not terrible, but I do think the hearing aids are helping even if I am noticing more background noises than I really wanted to hear! But I’m quite happy about how easily I seem to have gotten used to them. The technology is so very much better than it used to be when I saw my mil struggle.

And my darling granddaughter Clara had her birthday party yesterday! She has entered the double digits. There was a great party with some survival quizzes and lots of swimming in the pond from the younger guests. Also some kayaking. Then too many wonderful cakes from her talented Papa! Black Forest Torte and raspberry cream roll up. Also little waffle cakes. A few hours after all the desserts there was a supper with pulled pork and lots of different salads. Lots of them!

Clara july 2019 bday




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I’ve been away too long! The first two weeks after my last post I had a bad cold, now fled away…I did begin a post on the 19th of May – “My new flip phone has died.  We have no idea why. It began vibrating without ceasing and saying that there was no sim card. I’ve had it for about six months but never found it at all user friendly and am not sorry that its demise has led me to decide to bite the bullet and enter the world of smart phones. My dd Alice has been doing research and found I can have a free iPhone Six as a new smart phone user. So this is what I will do, I think. When this is accomplished I’ll let you know how I’m managing with the new technology. Meanwhile, I have my I Pad and the headset Alice got for me some time ago. I can Skype with this when I need to, though it does cut down on my impulsive calling. I have this headset because after I finally cancelled my landline I wanted to be able to call my flip phone when I misplaced it.

My dd Emily is in San Francisco helping her Aunt Maria after her second knee replacement surgery. Em won’t be home until Monday evening. And Andy was off to Chautauqua helping put in the dock for the summer of 2019.”

Now it’s nearly a month later. My sil Isa, in Budapest, has just had very successful hip replacement surgery. She will be 93 in August. The doctors said she has the heart of a fifty year old. This may be because she has always walked, every day, until recently when pain made this impossible. Her mother lived to be nearly 102 years old.  (Woops, a typoo had me saying my mil lived to be 201 years. That would be a bit too exciting.)

We’ve had wonderful flowering – wild phlox, peonies of several shades. the bay magnolia tree, Harrison’s Yellow Rose of Texas and a beloved pink rambler which has clambered up into my crab apple tree. For years it has bloomed on the lower branches which I do love, but this year it reached up to an area about 35 feet above ground. I am impressed.

My Maigold Rose in the front yard is also blooming more than it ever has, though this is not too much.

The sad news is that the sodden earth (due to our never ending rain) caused a huge oak in my next door neighbor’s back yard to crash down on her house (a bit, I think) and driveway. Such a sorrow. Such a pain in the neck to deal with. I worry about my trees.

In good news, I am getting ready to leave on Tuesday for a small gathering of some of my favorite D. E Stevenson friends at our Chautauqua cottage. I fear the weather will be pretty cold and damp, but I have warned everyone. We are such kindred spirits that I am hoping it will not cause our conversations and pleasure at being together to diminish.

Summer vacation is here for my grandchildren! Clara had a week of Acting camp. Sofia had a week of Science camp. They both had a music recital when I was too sick to attend. Stephen adored his field day at the end of school…He has a real talent for running and jumping and is having great fun on his baseball team this summer.



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Lunch at Fisher’s

That lunch was at Fisher’s Cafe and Pub in lovely Peninsula,Ohio


I was having lunch with a blogger who lives not that far from me, Joanne Noragon of Boston Township.Her blog is called Cup on the Bus and the reason for this is quite amusing. You can read about it on her blog. Well, it must be somewhere on the blog because I read it there myself long ago. Yes! If you click on “Inquiring Minds” under the header photo you can read all about it.

In the early days of meeting people I had only known online, my husband and son were quite suspicious and went along to protect me, despite my assurances that no one would read and know all the works of D.E. Stevenson, for years, just to lure me to my peril. And once, when another D.E. Stevenson fan from Toronto came to visit me in Chautauqua a friend of hers invited herself along for similar security purposes! I’ve probably known and met more book discussion internet friends than fellow bloggers who tend to live fairly far away. But today, meeting Joanne, a similar thing happened. I discovered her to be a very kindred spirit with interests and political views  similar to my own.

Of course I forgot my I-Pad which I use as a camera. So you will just have to imagine two beautiful young women meeting for lunch. (It’s good to exercise your imaginations.)

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As I’ve mentioned earlier, my ds Andy recently finished two months of Grand Jury duty for Summit County, Ohio. One of the interesting things he told me during this time, was about Avery, the Emotional Support dog.


Avery belongs to the Summit County, Ohio, prosecutor’s office. They call him a “facility” dog. He is half Labrador Retriever and half Golden Retriever and has a calm friendly temperament.

He had two years of training from a group called Canine Companions for Independence and was a gift to Summit County. My son thinks Avery really does help victims, especially those who are children, giving testimony in the prosecutor’s office and in the courtrooms. He gives emotional support. He calms them and gives them confidence. Avery knows forty commands and can sit quietly with victims for long periods of time. He has all the training of a disability dog and then a bit more….Children are reassured and less afraid when they are with Avery. I think having him is a brilliant idea.  I believe I’ve mentioned before that our local library has a day a month when children can come in and read to dogs. It really seems to help them, the children, do better and not feel judged. Dogs can have a very special rapport with humans!

There are several videos about Avery on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=summit+county+ohio+Avery



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When I was younger and more mobile I used to walk around my yard ten or more times a day in springtime, just to see how much my plants had grown since the last time I’d seen them. And I was not disappointed.

The cool weather has helped many flowers last longer than usual. My magnolias are just ended now, but the crab apple is in bloom. I planted it, thinking it would have the size and shape of my mother’s Oriental Jewel crab apple, planted in 1940, I think. But this is much taller and not what I’d hoped for. And the flowers are quite short lived. But I love it because of a rose I’ve trained to climb up into its branches and bloom.

blog may 2019 st. fran

My younger daughter Emily is in her early forties now. When she was in fifth grade the Girl Scout troop I co-led had a sleep over in our back yard. This happened because, though I love camping, my co-leader did not like it at all. She would not camp out at the official camp in Peninsula, but was willing to compromise in my yard. A year later, on the scar from our campfire, I planted a Redbud tree. It’s still alive, but it’s the sort of tree which has parts die from time to time and then springs up in another spot not far away. At the moment it actually looks like three trees which is fine with me.

blog may 2019 red bud panorama

Tomorrow, the Barberton tree company is coming to deal with a lot of wood on the ground and part of one tree which fell over in a big storm a while ago. Another group of tree people came and did some work, took four hundred dollars, and disappeared without finishing anything. There is certainly a lesson there. They actually did a small job for my oldest daughter and were able to finish it in a few hours for a great price which led her to recommending them to me. Alas. But things should be looking better tomorrow and I will be poorer but happier.

blog may 2019 crab and mags 3

The above photo is the crab apple with a few of the last magnolia blossoms. The strange hook-like thing on the left of the photo is, yes, a hook which holds a wind chime.

I also noticed my primroses are in bloom. I have planted lots of them over the years, in different colors, but in time they all end up returning with dark yellow flowers bordered in red. That’s fine. I really like them. I need to go look at what’s blooming in the front. Emily’s Solomon Seals are gorgeous this year. Last year she had one rather wimpy looking one and now there are about eight or nine all blooming.

Andy finished his two months of Grand Jury duty and was given a very nice certificate thanking him for his civic duty. He took a little road trip to celebrate and is now home again.

My order of herbs from Richter’s in Canada is arriving today and it’s time to begin planting the deck. I think it’s safe now.


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