Not Again!

The night before last there were many serious storms north of us and reports of many trees down and lots of flooding. I thought that we were spared all of this, but then sitting down to breakfast, I looked up and was shocked. An enormous Norway Spruce which I had brought from our home in Brecksville thirty-seven years ago had been felled to the ground, sprawling across the west side of my garden.

Tree one of Andy's photos 11 2017

The second photo Andy took with the drone. It gives more of a sense of the size of this tree. Now I have to figure out how to have the remains taken care of…At least it was in the back yard. It did not take out all the power and cable lines to the house as a giant aspen did some years ago.But lots of sadness!




Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Hills blue 2

Sometimes one encounters a phrase so often that questions about its meaning begin to take over ones mind.

There is the A.E. Houseman poem I have known for decades….The memoir by Rosemary Suttcliff….Or Suttcliffe. Even amazon seems to have different spellings of her name in different places. Lawrence Fox as James Hathaway in one of the Lewis series episodes quotes it………..And today I discovered a blog with this title.

In honesty, I cannot say it is this poem which has brought the questions about the nature of time into my mind. They are often there. I try not to live in the past, nor the future, but it would not be true to say that I don’t feel the happiest days were those on “the uphill slope” when my husband and I were young and healthy, raising our kids, having adventures. But it would also be dishonest to suggest that now is not also very good, with grown up children and their children living so close and seeing each other so often.  So – I would say my content is not lost, though I cannot relive the past as it was that first time around.

Perhaps All Saints Day made me a bit too nostalgic.

Hills blue





We had a surprising visitor this afternoon. We’ve had deer in the yard for six or seven years, but I’ve only seen does and fawns. This afternoon we had this eight or more point buck show up…He is rather impressive…But slightly intimidating.

I think Thursday was our last warm day for the year…It’s quite chilly today, even though we have not had any hard frosts as yet.

The schools have had their Halloween parades already! Stephen was an astronaut again. This is the third year he has worn this costume! My granddaughters were here for dinner last night and no one told me what costume she had worn. We forgot to talk about it.

Nathan in middle school had “dapper day”!  And he looked very cool, but I am not allowed to post his photograph. He seems to be entering an age of being more easily embarrassed, alas. But I am sure it will not last forever. He wore an Austrian hat which Paul bought when we lived in Budapest. Paul never wore it much, but Andy and Nathan have enjoyed it from time to time.




Andy has had a wonderful summer with the Nyitra, the steam launch he built himself.

It had a few outings on other small lakes near home, but has spent most of the last many weeks at Point Chautauqua. Usually he has others on board to help, but sometimes he is doing it all himself – steering, checking the boiler and engine, adding fuel, and looking over his shoulder because he’s also operating his Mavic Pro drone,  Rabca III.

Some of my favorite videos are these:

If you watch this on YouTube, please comment on the video. I know Andy would really appreciate it.

September Already?

I’ve begun trying to put up a blog post twice and twice WordPress has put some add about some sort of special buttons into the beginning. I could not delete it, nor write around it, but this time, perhaps it will not appear. Let us pray!

Chaut aug 2017 em charleigh me clara

This has been a summer of many short trips to Chautauqua with only a few days in between….There was a wonderful Labor Day weekend with all my children and grandchildren and grand-dog Pepper together under one roof. This doesn’t happen that often, so I cherish it when it does.  We also got to meet the neighbor’s daughter Meredith’s new daughter Charleigh! She is a lovely peaceful alert little baby. Her family lives in Buffalo, but visits Joan and Danny often.

Chaut aug 2017 Fia and Charleigh

Sunday it rained all day and we stayed inside and played board games a lot! Ticket to Ride was one I enjoyed. Emily won with the longest route. I think I may have come in last, but have new ideas about strategy. Others spent hours with Settlers of Catan and we had also an interesting card game Emily was given by a Dutch colleague. It reminded me of the game SETT….It’s called Ghost Blitz or Geistes Blitz.  (See Meike’s comments! I think the designers didn’t understand. OTH, a ghost is one of the wooden figures used in the game…)

Ghost Blitz

We also read and late at night watched Despicable Me 2. This was rather special because Emily’s girls are not allowed to watch anything at the cottage. We never had any TV (still don’t) or DVD available during our summers at Chautauqua. In fact, it was really funny, years ago, when the young Amish boy who was painting our roof asked if he could take a break and watch some TV and we had to explain that we didn’t have any TV. His face had such an expression of dismay and incredulity.

Monday was absolutely beautiful and most people were out on a boat. Andy and I left about 1:30 or 2:00pm and had a great drive home with little traffic and no police presence. Not what I expected for Labor Day. He stayed home Monday evening and most of Tuesday until finishing his stint volunteering at Akron General Medical Center. Andy left for Chautauqua right after that to work on the Nyitra some more. Tomorrow will be a birthday party for my granddaughter Sofia who is becoming two digits. Yes, Sofia will be 10 years old. I am really looking forward to another family party! I hope it will be warm and we can be outside looking at their beautiful pond!

While so many friends are complaining of dire weather, some with wildfires added to extreme heat, I certainly cannot complain here in northeast Ohio. June was hotter than I thought it should be, but July was cooler and so is August proving to be, thus far. If they would refrain from beginning school until after Labor Day they would not even need air conditioning, I think. It never began in August in my childhood (shortly after the earth cooled as my friend Michele would say).

Last Monday I had my first lovely evening ride on Andy’s steamboat, the Nyitra. Steamboats are quieter and slower than the motor boats I know, and therefore I really enjoyed the journey around Point Chautauqua to Tinkertown Bay. Andy flew his drone, the Rabca and took some photos, but I don’t know how to get them onto my computer….

I just realized that I can give you the link to his youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixT_MLHKWEY

Tuesday Andy and I returned to Ohio. He had an appointment to see about volunteering at a nearby hospital. But immediately after he returned to the Lake and his lovely Nyitra and Rabca. He’ll be back tomorrow.

A friend from the lake posted this very nice aerial photo which gives you a sense of the upper half of Lake Chautauqua.

Chautauqua july 2017 sue olar air photo

August Already

Last Friday my dear granddaughters, Sofia and Clara, finished two weeks of a theater camp for kids at our wonderful local Weathervane Playhouse and on Saturday they were part of a performance of Peter Pan. They had a lot of fun in those two weeks, and especially on stage! Sofia, who dearly loves animals, wanted to have the part of Nana, and Clara wanted to be one of the Indians. They both got what they wanted.

Sofia july 2017 28th Peter Pan cast

Sofia july 2017 peter pan with Clara

Sofia July 28 2017 Peter Pan

Andy is back in Ohio again and we are both going back to the lake on Friday. While there he spent some extraordinarily sooty time cleaning out the tubes in the boiler.

Andy july 2017 cleaning the tubes in the boiler

That’s our wonderful neighbor Dan Hicks beside him. He just became a grandfather and while Alice and her family were up last week they met his darling new granddaughter Charleigh. It seems to me that Charleigh’s mother was just this newborn stage only a few weeks ago.

Alice july 2017 with family at Merediths