Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Peanut Brittle: Bits, Pieces and Loose Ends 2010

I barely slept at all last night. The pain was too great. That assassin Arthritis hasn't attacked me for weeks, but he's back. I guess he was renewing his strength because he plunged his dagger hard yesterday. By bedtime the agony within my toe bones just above the instep was in full war dance. It is a pain you can't escape. No where I tossed my foot, no way I turned my body brought ease.

The only product that has ever given me any relief is Tylenol Arthritis, but I had none in the house. I popped some of the pain relief tablets my wife keeps for headaches a couple time during the day, but it had no effect.

First step I took this morning on my walk was into a supermarket to buy some Tylenol and a bottle of water. Intriguing packaging for arthritis medicine. First you must tear through the glued tabs of a box to reach a bottle, then you must struggle to peel away a thick cellophane seal. If you successfully break this barrier you are confronted with a lid you must press down with great strength and twist. What do they have in this thing, gold nuggets? And just when you are about to yell in triumph as you lift the lid, you see a silver round disc is welded across the opening that must be penetrated. The only good news is there wasn't a three inch wad of cotton between this barrier and the pills. This is what they give arthritic people to open. It almost made me grateful my foot was ablaze and not my thumb joints.

Now you may think me crazy, going walking when every step felt as if I placed my foot upon a knife blade. Well, yes, I am crazy. I realized I was when it dawned on me I had chosen the park with the stone gravel trail today. Well, it has been said an artist must suffer for his art, thus a walker must suffer for his walk.

Speaking of walks, remember the cat I encountered twice in Bellevue State Park?  [ "On the Down Low: The Last Plateau" and "Cauffiel"] My concern was at first whether the cat would follow me. After the day I ran into this feline a second time my concern became whether it had a home.  As a result of my posting about this, I am happy to have heard from someone named Andy who says the cat is just fine. It will be a regular resident in the park because it has been adopted by the park supervisor. Its name is Hemingway, one of my favorite authors.

It is amazing who all reads your Blogs and what information they can impart to you on occasion.

Speaking of posts about parks, I mentioned a few times how different the paths became from summer to winter. In the summer they seem so far from civilization, so private and primitive, but with the striping of the trees by Jack Frost you discover how close are homes and highways. One object I talked of being well hidden to the point of invisibility as you walked by on the main trails surrounding it was the high-point gazebo at Rockwood. ["Where Civilization Crumbles"]

The other week I went about the turn in the parking lot drive and realized the gazebo was now even visible from the lot.

The steepness of the steeper path also comes clearer. Remember I usually walk up what I call the gradual hill trail, which starts to the far side of the mansion and circles the back of the property along side a community of homes.

If you look closely at the photo to the right you can see the white lampposts that line the upward slope of what I call the steep path. You have to look closely because they can be easily mistaken for trees.

I have gone up this path in the heat of summer and arrived sweaty and panting at the top.

It is easier to see just how much this path turns steep in this photo of the drive lane between the lower lot and the Carriage House lot.  The drive is an uphill walk, but if you look to the left you will see two orange cones blocking cars from turning.

These mark the beginning of the steep trail up the hill. I think you can see how sharp the slope becomes here.

It stays pretty much at this angle of accent until  parallel to the gazebo and there it levels before joining the main path at the hill top.

I had also mentioned that the hill drops off like a cliff behind the gazebo and along the path that leads down to the Bringhurst Woods. ["Conversations With Dogs"]

This picture with the trees bare and shrubs gone lets you see it.

You can see the gazebo in the very center of the scene and then all along the front it is cliff.

As long as we are again in Rockwood, there was a Holiday Open House there in early December. The Little Woman and I attended. I had told her I was going and she decided to join me. I was a little worried after we went up the walkway to the mansion. She was having some difficulty breathing from the hill climb and the extreme cold, but fortunately this cleared once we sat briefly, although I though the folding chair would freeze to my bottom. Folding chairs froze to buttocks are often an impediment to having a good time.

They decorate the mansion quite well for this event. Here is a sleight on the ground before the Conservatory.

The event was held for four hours at evening on Thursday and Friday, then on Saturday afternoon. We went the first day for the 6:00 opening and the lighting of the "Big Tree".

It was strange to be guided to a spot on the parking lot and see the lots filling. Usually when I am here I am among a handful of cars if any at all, but then I do go for my walks at sunrise.

All the walkways were edged in bands of white light.

The hills are alive with the music of color.

I apologize for the poor quality of these pictures. I shot them in the dark without a flash so as not to disturb the many people around me. I use to shoot all the time with my old 35 SRL using fast film and no flash and most my night photos were fairly clear. When you snap in dim or dark, the aperture lingers longer to catch what light it may, allowing time for movement to disturb the steadiness needed for fine lines. My hands shake anyway and the cold didn't help. At least the lights look pretty.

We arrived nearly a half hour early. I had no idea how many people might come and knew how limited parking was. We actually beat most and were sent to the upper tier front of the lower lot, almost where I pull in when I walk there. This gave us a bit of time to kill along with a great deal of confusion of where to go and what was going to happen.

There was some sort of podium-like thing facing some rows of folding chairs, where we had first sat for my wife to catch her breath. I guessed this was where the tree lighting would be. There was a very large evergreen behind the podium-like stand.

So after wandering down to the Carriage House and back, we sat down on these chairs to wait. It did not seem like many chairs for what would be a large crowd. There were perhaps three dozen. We sat there shivering in a breeze on the chill metal seats as a bustle of activity went on off to our left. People kept drifting over to that side and standing, so we got up and joined that crowd.

There was a children's choir forming up, which performed some Christmas songs once the music director and assistants stopped fiddling about with things. They had lovely voices.

They sang perhaps three songs and someone announced the tree lighting would be held directly behind in the area where we had once been seated. As the crowd stirred and turned, the announcer continued. "Please leave the chairs for the use of the elderly among us."

Ah, this is why there were so few chairs. As the wife and I took a place standing behind the rows of chairs an old guy standing next to me said, "I'm not elderly."

"Yeah," I laughed, "none of us will admit to it."

Thus the chairs remained unoccupied, except for a few younger folk who either missed the announcement, didn't care or simply took advantage of we Senior's stubbornness and vanity.

The honor of throwing the switch went to the fill-in County Executive. Our duly elected County Executive is now a duly elected U. S. Senator and already seated. It was a special election to fill the seat of somebody named Biden. I don't know, this Biden got some other job or something and had to leave the Senate a couple years back.

Of course being a politician, he had to make a speech. After thanking all the committees and volunteers who made the event possible, as they certainly deserved to be thanked, and bragging about how much cost it is to the County to maintain this fine place, he threw the switch and the large tree behind him lit.

Everyone let out the expected communal gasp.

The Little Woman and I moved on from there to the mansion itself. They had an open house and we went in. I have never before been inside the house and was surprised to find it rather cozy and homey, given the size and Gothic style of the place. There were pleasant guides in each room to explain what we were looking at and answer questions. I always have questions because I am interested in such things.

The photo is the entrance to the Butler's Pantry, not the main hall of the house. Santa was holding forth on Christmas wishes from the tots in here.

Inside the front hall of the mansion I handed over the clothing donation I brought and we toured the rooms.

Since we are celebrating holidays, I will touch on the past Thanksgiving briefly. The kids came for the day and for the dinner.

I had awoken early as usual and while the rest slept, I put up our old tree and strung the lights. I leave the rest of the decorating to The Little Woman who does a better job of ornament hanging than I. I did stick the angel on top.

The tree had its annual falling over late that evening, but the kids did a good job of propping it back up and securing it hopefully through New Years. For once it wasn't the cats fault it fell. It just lost it balance. It is a senior citizen, too.

That is Mark sitting on the table next to it.

This is Hobo Joe's and Kerouac's first Christmas Tree with us. Hobo seemed unimpressed, but The Little Woman has had to fish Kerouac out of the branches a few times.

No one in my family likes their picture taken, so I am always sneaking up and rushing shots when I think they won't notice. This results in very poor and shaky images. I am surprised I managed to get both a halfway clear and a face forward photo of my middle child without her making a face or bolting from the room.

The cat next to her is Moochie.

My son, my youngest, was sacked out playing with some Rubik game he bought while watching a football game on TV.

Meanwhile in the kitchen my oldest daughter was baking cookies.

There is one more follow-up having nothing to do with anything else here. It is those dreaded basketball nets in the grass patches defying the Free Zone law. I wrote about them back in September in Invasion of the Basketball Snatchers and how someone had complained about seven homes with seven nets for seven kids or more.  The State had ordered the nets be removed within two weeks or the State Basketball Destruction Squad would come and remove the offenders.  One home actually moved their net from the grass patch to the safety of the area at the end of their drive, but all the rest stood defiant and the nets were left standing.

This is now mid-December and those nets remain as they were well past the dreaded deadline of destruction. In other words, despite the orders and threats nothing has changed. Oh wait, something did change. One more net went up on those streets. Calcare non sagena mea. Free libertatem sortem!


Ron Tipton said...

Ah, perhaps my number one pet peeve; packaging. Especially packaging of pills. My firt though when I'm trying to dig through the multiple seals (all for the protection of the kiddies of which there are none in old people's houses) is "What do really old people do?" Man oh man.
By the way, Bill recently developed painful arthritis in both of his thumbs. He just received his first prescription from the VA. I think it is helping him. I'm glad to find out about the Tylenol Arthritis pills though. I also have arthritis in my right thumb but it is rarely painful. I've been far. When I injured my wrist/arm a month ago I really had a time even opening my grape/cranberry juice bottle. Eveything is sealed so the companies don't get sued when unsupervised kiddies get into things. And I mean EVERYTHING!

Ron Tipton said...

I'm glad Hobo Joe is spending Christmas with you. I felt bad for him last Christmas having to stay out in the cold. I'm sure he appreciates the love and warmth of your family and home that he will enjoy this Christmas.