Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Panels 6 and 7 of A Castleton Christmas Carol. 

A response to Stewart's facebook post about their premium candy bars as stocking stuffers. I loved their chocolate bars, even though the Castleton store usually only had caramel and raspberry. (Why? Selling all the varieties would have been profitable enough with me as the only customer, since I thought so many! Yeah right -- they tried to save the store. I call B.S.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Panels 4 and 5 of A Castleton Christmas Carol 

And the latest doctored image, original taken rom the Stewart's facebook page

Friday, December 19, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A commenter on the original video post on the Stewart's FB page (appears to be an employee) labeled it "creepy." Well, yeah. I may never be able to eat sherbet again, regardless of the boycott.

This semester's evaluations are coming along. (Enoigh said.) We have an economic development meeting tonight, so grading will have to keep.

And...stay tuned. Another panel of "A Castleton Christmas Carol" is coming.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I thought dollar bills were the only thing Stewart's listened to, but apparently, it's a scoop of ice cream with eyeballs! And I'm the one who was called crazy?

Last week, in my post about the Stewart's song, I wrote that I felt a Nileston News brewing. Well, here it is: the first two panels of A Castleton Christmas Carol.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The shill activity continues. A new one surfaced yesterday. He alleges to be a 90+ year old WWII vet who said he is praying for me and will ask his congregation to do the same because I am mentally unstable and remind him of his daughter who is also mentally ill. LOL! My mother was furious when she read this bully's post on our FOCSS page. She said, if he os really a WWII vet, it's a wonder we won the war. And, if the FB picture is really him, it was taken 40 year ago. LOL again. I think I know who he may be, as the writing style is telling. Let me put it this way, it is someone very important over at Stewart's. At the same time the new social media person is busily threatening commenters and hiding comments. Hopefully, they are being paid adequately for this job! Ya think maybe the boycott and advocacy are working?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Today's images. Stewart's is now selectively hiding negative comments from others on their facebook page. 1,000 wasp stings hurt pretty bad, evidently.

Take away message: Boycott is working.

Take away message #2: Stewart's is a mean company. Give your business to ShopRite and Dairy Direct instead -- they appreciate Castleton!

PS Welcome new visitors.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Apparently, I have offended Gary Dake with my satire. I stood with Castleton, and Stewart's said I was unethical!
Today's fun.
 The new social media hire at Stewart's has been pumping out posts. The original post was a slap in the face, so I doctored it to be more truthful.

  But not to worry, Santa and the Spokescow are Standing With Castleton and Boycotting Stewart's.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Today as a "TBT" post on facebook, Stewart's put up the following sheet music:

This was almost too good to be true! I made some revisions, as follows:

I think that's a bit more honest for the 21st Century -- don't you?

PS I feel a Nileston News brewing

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I plan to conduct more Stewart's advocacy efforts here, now that I can't occupy their facebook page any longer. That was always the plan, but I didn't expect it to take this long to get blocked so I had sort of forgotten about it.

It will be good to chronicle the effort in more detail here. I know it's basically all I have been writing about here, aside from a brief mention or two about the looming end of semester. But I have not been doing much writing here lately in general, as my time has been absorbed elsewhere. There is all the Castleton advocacy, from facebook and the boycott, to conversations with ShopRite, to economic development research.

I got a Kindle Fire tablet. (It's awesome.) I've been doing some reading on my regular Kindle, one pleasure book (TR & Taft, The Bully Pulpit) and one teaching-related (College Girls). And of course there is always what seems to be endless grading to do.
Wow, what a nasty day!

I'm not sure whether this is unrelated...

Last night I tweeted the boycott numbers to Gary Dake and Stewart's Shops, and I also tweeted yesterday's picture. Shortly afterwards I had the following exchange:

 Today I tweeted the Banned picture & this one from a few weeks ago.

...but, I meant the weather, of course.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Stewart's must have finally hired a social media person, because today they blocked me from being able to comment on their facebook posts. I thought it would happen much sooner! The boycott and other advocacy must be having an impact. Remember...100 people who spent $1,000 annually but now boycott = $100,000. 500 people X $2,500 annually = 1.25 million. 1,000 people X $6,000 annually = 6 million. These are not crazy or unrealistic numbers. Gas customers spend much more. It's 1,000 wasp stings.

Here's today's picture. The SpokesCow wants to Stand With Castleton.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Grand opening of the Stewart's East Greenbush mega-store today.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Great thanksgiving and now...one week left on campus! Grades due 12/22. How can this be?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ShopRite meeting was great. I think delivery to Castleton will work out really well.

Completely unrelated to all things advocacy: I got a Kindle Fire. It is perfect. I got a keyboard for it too, and plan to use it next semester in a technology classroom I have for my graduate class...which does not have a computer for the instructor.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Some things happening in our advocacy. The first meeting of the village economic development committee is set for early December. I am meeting with ShopRite about home delivery on Tuesday. And we saw boycott signs all over a house right next to the new megastore in Troy. I wonder what the spark was? It said "Stewart's isn't a good neighbor" and some stuff about greed.

On a personal mote, the semester is rapidly approaching the end, hard to believe. And our first snow was last night -- a little dusting.

 I love my recent creation:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Although fighting a big company that is indifferent to your community's plight, and that everyone loves (as I did) is a big lift with daunting odds -- somehow I am doing it. The "Friends" are fired up, and that helps. There are other volunteers, and I'm most appreciative. Still, much falls on me, at the busiest time of the semester. But I'm not caving.

That's not to say that I think Stewart's will cave. Sometimes I think they will, and other times I think there's no chance. The Channel 13 reporter asked me on the day they locked our beloved store's door forever whether I thought our boycott would do anything to hurt Stewart's, and I said yes, that it would be like 1,000 wasp stings to the 1.5 billion dollar company. This particular sentence was the one I hoped would make the news, but it ended up on the cutting room floor.

That was OK, as the most important thing about our story is the devastating impact on Main Street -- both in terms of people and economics. I have been working on several fronts, trying to remedy all the catastrophes that the loss of our store has caused. It's not easy -- but I will keep at it.

I believe the boycott and associated negative publicity are indeed doing something! First, because they have hired shills to counter our constant presence on social media, to alternatively taunt us and pretend to be supporters, and second because I notice the East Greenbush store (boycott target # 1) is not busy! A lot of people -- more than I hoped -- are boycotting all stores, and I think maybe everyone is avoiding the new store!

I get no pleasure from this except in my darkest times, I never wanted it to get to this. I wish they would just concede, renovate our tiny store and reopen it. All would be forgiven. But until then...Stand with Castleton. Boycott Stewart's.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Stewart's closed on Sunday. It was a very sad day. Four unknown employees of corporate came who seemed to have little purpose aside from counting inventory and standing around blocking the aisles with plastic containers, making it difficult to shop. No free cone promotionals were to be seen.

They have now removed the sign and thrown most of the interior into a dumpster in the parking lot. The store is already listed on the real estate section of the Stewart's website with a deed restriction -- no convenience stores. We also have leaned the three to get the axe: Camden, Castleton, Saugerties.

Friends of Castleton Stewart's are in full swing, however. The company's stonewalling has only strengthened our resolve. We continue to attract media attention. The "Stand With Castleton. Boycott Stewart's" campaign is moving along. Much more to come, so stay tuned.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Our media attention continues to grow, and the FB friends site is adding members. But Stewart's continues to stonewall, parroting the same tired statement over and over again. They should fire their PR person, because seriously? They suck. They may be good at thinking up new ice cream names and promotionals, but they are in way over their head when it comes to crisis.

I wrote the paragraph several days ago and saved it as a draft.I have not gotten back to finishing it until now, and surprisingly, the sentiment is fine. We have had television and newspaper coverage galore, and now we even have the support of some elected officials. No matter -- Stewart's refuses to budge. The shop is scheduled to close tomorrow.  I am not giving up -- and will go into boycott mode if they lock the door.

This 2014 documentary, “Save Our Stewart’s,” chronicles the struggle of the Friends of Castleton Stewart’s to prevent a popular village grocery store from closing. The store is one of the few remaining businesses on Main Street, and its loss is devastating socially and economically for the tiny Hudson River town in upstate New York. It is a powerful film about the people of Castleton-on-Hudson and their protest to save their Main Street store, and ultimately, their community. It starts with a news story and then continues with a rally and finishes with Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin’” (1964). 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I have written little here about this or anything else lately, because "this" + work + personal matters are all-consuming. "This" is the fight to save our local Stewart's shop. I learned on October 8 that the company planned to shutter store #138 forever at the end of October (later discovered the actual date to be 10/26). Apparently they associates were informed 10/1 or so. It wasn't a very public announcement, the way opening a new or remodeled store is. I suppose someone at the Saratoga headquarters is aware that closing a 40 year old store will be unpopular. A resourceful volunteer started a petition, which is how I found out. 

This is a devastating loss to the village, and as a loyal customer, it it heart-breaking personally as well. So I switched into high gear, making this effort my #1 priority. I've been sending facebook messages and then writing letters to the company, targeting politicians in person and electronically, making phone calls, preparing packets for the media, sending tweets #saveourcastletonstewarts , creating fliers that have been handed out by foot patrol, and establishing a facebook group called Friends of Castleton Stewart's. The story has now been picked up by the Times Union and YNN. We are having our second rally at the store tomorrow.

So far the response from everyone except Stewart's has been enthusiastic. The company has relied on boilerplate (with the same typo, lol -- sloppy, sloppy, sloppy). If these efforts don't work, we will switch into chain-wide boycott mode. It will be hard, but I know I can get it going. But we are not there yet, and won't be for eight days. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

I've had a bunch of things I wanted to write about here recently, but in an effort to stay on top of priority tasks while also having time to enjoy the absolutely glorious, picture perfect weather...well, maintaining this journal just hasn't risen to the top of the to do list.

I've had a short break from campus (this fall's schedule is great) which ends tomorrow, so I thought I'd take advantage of being *almost* caught up and mention two things.

First, Ken Burns' The Roosevelts. I have one episode to go (love the freedom of roku) and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. One thing I wanted to note, however, was that I thought the sixth episode really glossed over (by giving only about two sentences of voice-over coverage to) the internment of American citizens of Japanese descent during WWII. This was especially obvious as a contrast to the POV concerning TR and his inclinations to war / imperialism, where there is much commentary from talking heads (one segment that comes to mind is George Will at his most prune faced, scolding us to look at TR with a "dry eye").

Second, I continue to be alarmed by the quality of student writing. No dry eyes here, I need a hanky. Or maybe an aspirin.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This is my birthmonth. Last week was my birthweek. A week ago (almost) was my birthday. I maintain a tradition of celebrating on more than just the day. This isn't a milestone year (I'm 53) but that doesn't matter. I find that with my teaching schedule this semester I don't have much time or inclination for posting, but since we are on a short break (yay) due to the Jewish holy days, I thought I'd sneak one in. All is well...and when it is, that's something to celebrate.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Some recent pictures.
My view is a construction site.
Fun day

Purple hair and Beagle-Proof Fence coming soon
I got to the BB room early in Thursday night and immediately switched the tables and chairs in the last two rows to be facing the "back," where the closet is. I arranged them into two curves, and took a table for my stuff, moving it near the closet. There was one chair on casters that wasn't there last week, and that made me very happy!

I only needed one projection screen, and I used the monitor and built-in keyboard, but it is awful! Can it really be that the closet design is the result of consensus? If so, this is one case where that didn't work well, and a person with good sense should have made an executive decision.

First, it is hard to both pull it out and put it away, and second, you have to stand up, facing the closet, not the students, to operate it. Finally, It has a touch pad laptop-style mouse that is marginal (I hate them). There is nowhere to put the wireless mouse if you wanted to use that instead.

I had to call for help to put it away when class was over. The nice young man from tech support showed me the trick to doing it, and I think it won't be a problem in the future, but that does nothing about having to stand with my back to the students.

That said, I was able to show them Collaborate and a brief powerpoint. The students overall are very good, a nice mix of PhD and MS and they all came prepared. Class discussion and small team meeting #1 went well. Unfortunately two have dropped (leaving me with 10).

After class, two students helped me put the tables back into four rows, but we also switched all the chairs to face the opposite way from how the room was originally set up, on the theory that no one will change it back since it makes more sense due to the closet's location.

Near the classroom is deserted Thursday nights -- there were one or two classes in the rooms in the main part of the basement with interior windows overlooking the lounge, but nothing in any room in the entire section where my class meets. Kind of strange. Does no one like the building?

Something I notice now that I am teaching a graduate class is students’ Blackboard skill level is lower than among undergrads. Anecdotal of course, and it is true that undergrads occasionally have issues with the same tool (figuring out how to view my comments on evaluated assignments) but it seems more common with grad students. I get asked for feedback and when I ask “beyond what I already wrote on your paper?” invariably they confess that they couldn’t figure it out and only saw the score with no comments.

Something totally unrelated: I had my left temple dyed purple. I tried to have this done 20 years ago and it was a disaster. My hair did not take kindly to having the black stripped out, and it didn't accept the dye well, either. It turned orange, and eventually snapped off from too much processing. I'd NEVER dye my hair to cover my salt and pepper -- I love my hair -- but this little purple patch is awesome! Hair products have improved tremendously in 20 years.

It seems I let even more time go by! Went to the state fair and saw BNL, the semester started, celebrated labor day weekend -- it now we are having the hottest spell of the summer!

This Fall, I am teaching my usual toleration class, foundations, and a new class for me, a graduate class about higher education history. It is slightly blended: four web conferences throughout the semester, where we will again do my “developing prompts and questions” for an online discussion journal.
At the first class,.there were 12 students, and I think any more than 15-16 (or maybe 17-18 MAX) would be too many for the classroom I scored in the new much-hyped business building. The room has four rows of small tabled and chairs, and no instructor desk, console, podium or chair! It’s very structured, and while the seats and tables are not bolted down as in the stadium-style large LC classrooms, the chairs are not on casters, the tables are close together and will be a hassle to move around.

I didn't have any trouble with the room tech, which was a major relief, as I didn’t attend the training. My fault if anything had gone seriously awry, so luckily nothing did. After seeing the technology cabinet in the room, I found it easy to figure out, so training would not have been worthwhile for that purpose, but it would have been useful to have seen the physical room set up in advance so I would have had time to recover from my irritation over the poor design.

The absence of any furniture for the instructor is ridiculous. I wound up dragging a chair around to face the students and sitting so I could work the mouse and keyboard. I didn't bother with the monitor (there are way too many gadgets to tote. The tables and chairs are set up so the closet is in the back corner of the room). But no monitor means having to use two projection screens and I found that didn't completely take care of the problem of needing to turn around to look at the screen, since from that distance, I couldn't see whether the mouse was on what I wanted to click, and also it didn't mean I was able to look at their faces -- when sitting down, the screen is so high above their heads! So next week, I may have to resort to the monitor.

The tables and chairs in rows are awkward. We didn't move them, but in most future classes, at least during the second half, I don't see another option. We received a Registrar’s email about not changing classroom set up, and I’m not sure if this applies or not. Regardless, I am going to risk it.

Finally, I wanted to show Collaborate  to them last night (we will use it on 9/11), so I brought my camera. But the PC is so far away and behind the students -- for me to be on cam and capture audio I'd have to stand back there. There's nowhere to place the camera except in the cabinet, so I'd have to face the cabinet rather than the students (who I guess would have to turn their chairs and watch my back) or the camera would be capturing my back. (They'd have to turn their chairs, regardless). When I am in front, the classroom image is of the back of students' heads.

I do see the new building as a big improvement over the old business building, where the classrooms are worn out and dirty and the consoles are old and broken., but frankly, for a room with no windows, I don't see an advantage over the classrooms in the humanities building or the small lecture centers. And both have adequate tech that only requires a log on, not a card swipe and balancing a keyboard on my head. The small LCs has nice high ergonomic chairs on casters at the console, and the humanities classrooms have student desks that can be easily moved around. All so much closer to my office, also! It was been warm and (mostly) dry, so the walk is pleasant (if far), but December is going to be a different story. There are several just-as-nice tech rooms with windows in nearby buildings and many others not as close, if I felt like walking far) that are also better, IMO.

I am not sure it's worth the hassle of requesting a move so I'll make it work (I still could change my mind though), but I am definitely going to request humanities for next semester. The new BB is a nice building, but the classrooms could use a little re-design.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I let more time than usual go by from my last post (13 days). I had a draft saved for a week or so, but did not have the inclination to finalize it until today. "Inclination" because really -- lamenting "no time" gets old. I've been wondering lately why I allow myself very little time off from the to-do list? I've been working away on my fall syllabi, even though my second summer class ended on Friday and the grades are not due until tomorrow. So today (and tomorrow) had to be devoted to evaluating. Then back to the fall preparation. I'm hoping to be all ready for classes so that the Beagle proof fence can be finished 8/23-24. Only the gate (and staining about 2/3 of it) to go. I also want to enjoy the trip to Syracuse. I guess it's not completely true, the "no time off" thing. I don't work most weekends. But a weekday off...rare.

I haven't been writing much about my garden because it hasn't been a banner year. Not hot enough and it has rained to much. The stuff is growing, but it's late and I doubt there will be the quantity I'd hoped and that I had some years. I like 80 and comfortable better than 90+ and humid, but tomato plants don't! Some flowers have done well, and herbs of course, but that's it. As a result, a few weeks ago we went to Shaul's Farm in Fultonham and stocked up on bushels and pecks. I made some refrigerator pickles.

Afterwards, we drove out to Oneonta, drove through campus and the city, went to Autumn Cafe and Brooks. We decided that our old dream of retiring there someday (abandoned long ago) is back on the table.

On Thursday, we went to see Jackson Browne at the Palace, and ate dinner at Yono'shttp://www.yonos.com/.  The concert was all acoustic and fabulous. His voice sounds the same as it did 30 years ago. And he had about 25 guitars lined up, switched for almost every song. We had awesome eighth seats. Bob joked that the mean age was 57 -- not a person under 40 was to be seen, aside from a few teens with their parents'.  The highlight of the evening (not) -- the drunken woman who spilled an entire glass of red wine on Bob's sleeve (a brand new LL Bean dress shirt)!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I am so excited...going to the first day of the NYS Fair! I've never been to the fair before (hard to believe). BNL is going to play! Great way to celebrate summer as the new semester looms.

More progress on the Beagle Proof Fence. The musket slot is so the Beagles can still monitor critters. (We'll add 2-3 more).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I cannot vote in the 19th district. Castleton was gerrymandered out of the former district some years ago, and then a few years ago New York lost a House seat, and a couple of districts were carved up as a result. Still Castleton was not put with our neighbors, but instead is an add-on to the district across the river. However, I do own a house in the 19th district, my family lives there, and I grew up there, so I am very protective of the district. The current race is really getting on my nerves. I want a huge Gibson sign to plant in the hayfield in Samsonville.

The Freeman did an interview with this kid last Tuesday that really frosted me. I saved this twitter transcript for a week, intending to post it, but no time until today. Since I am in a bad mood at present, this is a salve. (Sort of.) The Freeman reporter’s tweets are in italics, followed by my responses.

1. Eldridge said when looking at this Congress he's frustrated. It's a wake up call. Wants to be part of the solution to make it work.

Because being a 30 year old with the sole qualification “married money” is such exemplary preparation for Congress.

2. Eldridge said he respects Congressman Gibson, but they have some fundamental differences.

Such as life experience and understanding the district.

3. Eldridge said he opposes fracking, while Gibson supports it.

The only thing this tells me is that you support a change to Federal control while Gibson believes it should be a State issue. What difference does your opinion make otherwise?

4. On women's health, Eldridge said he served on Planned Parenthood board.


5. At end of day, influence of large corporations in Washington have dominated conversation and we need more independence, Eldridge said

WTF? You would be one of the, if not the, wealthiest members of the House if you are elected.

6. Eldridge said chose to come to Hudson Valley because loves the area.

Especially viewing it from the top of a mountain in a two million dollar house.

7. Said he didn't move here just to run for Congress.

“Just” being the operative word.

8. Been an active member of the community and proud of work he's done, Eldridge said.

Really? Have you served on the Gardner town board or something? Who knew.

9. The Hudson Valley is our home and we're very committed to the small businesses we're working with, Eldridge said.

Hey mister! Let’s get something straight. The Hudson Valley is MY home. You couldn’t find it on a map two years ago, and you probably still don’t know whether Shokan is Dutch, Algonquian, British, or None of These. (And forget about pronouncing the names of the warriors of legend who have been defiled by your ritzy development.)

10. My husband and I have been fortunate, but that's a recent development. We didn't grow up wealthy, Eldridge said.

This response really demonstrates how out-of-touch you are with ordinary people. You are the child of doctors.

11. Facebook started 10 years ago, I met Chris 9 years ago, Eldridge said.

How old was the doctors’ son then...21? On what planet is this not growing up wealthy?

12. First job was working at Taco Bell and earning $5 .25 an hour, Eldridge said.

Hun? You had a teenage (I hope, because this really would be pathetic if you were older) job in a fast food joint. That this is even mentioned among your qualifications makes me wonder about how truly thin your resume is.

13. He said he believes in public service.

All right then. Route 28 really could use young, healthy volunteers to pick up trash along the highway.  Why not sign up? (Be sure to bring your tick spray.)

14. Because we've been blessed, we know we didn't make it on our own, Eldridge said. Want to make sure other people have that shot.

Is it possible for you to make all parents doctors and all spouses facebook millionaires? Did not know that. You are even more powerful than I thought.

15. We're not accepting any corporation of business political action committee money, Eldridge said. Wants to be an independence voice.

The benefit of being rich enough to buy a seat.

16. Fortunate that have money to be an independent voice in Washington, but want everyone to have same chance, Eldridge said.

See #14.

17. Yes, we have a diverse set of investments, but will fight for those companies to do what's right for environment and pay fair share, he said

Boy do I wonder exactly what horror is in that portfolio.

18. Seen veterans group speak out about SAFE Act. Is a gun owner himself. Believe can be balance, Eldridge said.

My BS-o-meter goes off with that one. (Not to mention, this dude has a gun? Why? Maybe to protect his property from the 99%, the peons down below in the valley?)

19. Would support many parts of the Farm Bill. But can do those things, while preserving free lunch programs, Eldridge said. Do both

Translation: Does not support farm bill.

20. Had a lot of national interest in the race, but have been focused on the publications/media in the district, Eldridge said.

Translation: Major support comes from outside district.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Three things:

1) Have long, scraggly beards become in? Bob googled and discovered that "Duck Dynasty" made beards popular again. That can't be it, can it? These men I'm seeing seem to be copying Amish beards..
2) The Troy Record had a photo essay about the Price Chopper grand opening -- where St. Patrick's church in Watervliet was torn down. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do I have to boycott the Record too? (PC is already dead to me.)
3) It's that time of year again, Saratoga racing season. When people act as if cruelty is cool and gambling is high class. Spare me.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Recently I did something I vowed never to do again. I purchased a print book! I was reading Lost Towns of the Hudson Valley and one chapter is about Roseton, where several large brick manufacturers were located.

We've been putting up a new Beagle- and critter-proof fence in Castleton, and our hard is pure Hudson River clay, perfect for brick-making. I've been working in the garden, and I have a bunch of bricks holding down the bottom of the deer fence. Some of the bricks were toted all the way from Brewster when we moved to the Capital District in 1985, and others were here, undoubtedly made at the long-defunct Brickyard.

The chapter piqued my interest, and I examined some of my bricks more closely. One has "JMC" on it. From the lost towns book, I figured that meant Jova Manufacturing Company, and I was able to confirm that at this website. I wanted to know ,ore about the Brickyard in Castleton and the brick industry in general, and discovered this book is one of the best sources.

It is out-of-print so an ebook is not an option.So I bought a copy on amazon from a seller offering used copies. Many were the same price, so I chose the most highly-rated vendor with the best condition copy. I paid no attention otherwise. Shortly afterwards, I received an email from this local bookstore.

Turns out they were the seller! The owner dropped the book off at my house and gave me a gift certificate for the shipping.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some of this story is confusing and contradictory. She bought a dog from a breeder, but color was not desirable so it can't be a show dog? How does that differ from the reason some dogs wind up in shelters? She's obsessive about lineage, but this dog has an undesirable trait (so I assume wouldn't be bred)? She adopted Mookie from a shelter, had him for more than a decade -- a good, long time -- when he developed health issues. Somehow that reflects negatively on the temperament and health status of shelter dogs? Yes, she had two dogs who became ill and died too young (although I would be kissing the ground and singing praise if I was given the gift of three more years with my dog who had cancer). But how is any of this a reason to avoid shelter pets? She seems to need to blame someone for her pets' illnesses and deaths, does not seem able to accept that there are painful times in life. There is no guarantee that her re-homed dog will stay issue-free until age 15 and then will slowly decline in an easy to manage, vet-trip free old age. Maybe she should re-evaluate whether she can commit to having a dog. I have adopted several dogs from shelters over the years and all have been wonderful. I currently have two former shelter dogs, both Beagles. I adopted one as a senior. This woman's problem is one of perspective. She's very negative.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We watched the movie "Snowpiercer" last night. It wasn't my kind of movie, and I probably would not have wanted to see it, except that a friend recommended it, saying she isn't a fan of post-apocalyptic stories, but thought it was excellent. The notable thing about it was that it was released as VOD at the same time as it is in theatres. I am happy not to have wasted the time at a theatre. It was too loud even for home viewing, and it was way too violent for my liking. It did hold my attention (mostly) but the story was too much a rip-off of other, better movies. Even Bob was not impressed, and post-apocalyptic is one of his favorite genres.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I don't believe my vegetables are growing as well as I'd like. They are growing, and setting fruit, but seem too spindly and yellow. A problem I can't do anything about is that it's too shady for most veggies, but I can certainly change the soil nitrogen level and acidity. Stay tuned!

We saw 42nd Street at the Mac-Haydn Theatre on Thursday. It was great!

Monday, July 07, 2014

 Picked the first tomatoes yesterday! "Only" cherries, but still.
How we spent Independence Day weekend 2014. Beagle and critter proof fence 1/3 done.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Wise words from over thirty years ago: “Don’t expect anything and you’ll never be disappointed.”

Monday, June 30, 2014

The rose bush (in Castleton) is so pretty!

Spent the weekend in Samsonville, got chewed up by bugs (bugs hate, or love, me) and today I'm left with a couple somewhat worrisome, angry-looking , and very itchy bites.

All my seeds are up and looking good. Will mulch as weather allows.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I may feel this every year...but the front of the house looks really good this year!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The weather has been so beautiful! I planted a bunch more things this weekend. I thought I was finished, but I bought a few things in every garden or farm stand I visited. I'm not much of a shopper, but Harry and Rosie have escaped the fence (twice!) so that means the procrastination has to end, and we need to face up to the project. We've tried hiring someone to no avail. The job is just to small...and difficult.

But we can't risk the Beagles, so we bought all the materials this weekend (and unloaded the truck, carried 153 pickets, 30 2X4s, and 7 posts (10' long) down the hill, and stacked them.

Anyway...this means I was in a few stores. I can't resist the plants! So I planted more flowers (zinnias and begonias) and tomorrow I will plant more spices, and move around some of the other plants. Pictures will come eventually.

Got my strawberries :-). Five quarts. That will do for now.

My 6W2 summer session class starts tomorrow. Only 8 students!

Tired tonight, in a good way. I am so much more often mentally tired, than I am physically tired, that it's a novelty.

Another novelty will be barbecuing at home tomorrow! Haven't eaten dinner at home since Wednesday: Thursday, Friday (and saw live music afterwards), Saturday, Sunday.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Two unrelated subjects...

1) We watched "Her" (on amazon). If it hadn't cost $4, I would have bailed when it was half over. I was really, really glad we did not waste the price of a pair of Spectrum tickets when it was in theatres! It was too long, the last 2/3 was tiresome, and while it was interesting at first and the premise was clever, it too quickly jumped into a serious relationship between the guy and the OS with little or no warm up or background. After 15 minutes the OS devolved into a whining nag. "Annoying" doesn't begin to capture it. By the middle of the movie I wanted to delete all traces of the program, and then get a sledgehammer and smash whatever devices were hosting it, just for good measure. Why didn't he just turn the d-mn thing off?

We also watched several 1930s movies, all much better than the above atrocity...this is true even of the ones that were not great. We saw "Baby Face" which was excellent, "Stella Dallas" which was sad but OK, and "Grand Hotel" which was pretty good.

2) I planted my garden! It's pretty late, but it hasn't been that warm until recently. I've had all the containers: flowers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, kale, spices done for a few weeks, but this morning I sowed two types of pole beans, two types of cucumbers and one hill of zucchini. I used 800 pounds of cow manure on the patch this year, beneficial nematodes to combat potential cucumber beetles and squash bugs, and inoculant to help the beans with nitrogen. I never have luck with zucchini but I'm hoping this year will be the charm.

Strawberry time, and I want to go picking!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Another week goes by without a post! I really didn't expect that to happen this summer, but I've had many other thing distracting me. Last week I had internet problems galore (fixed now but set me back with my classes), and this week I have been taking advantage of the dry weather (also very hot) to do yard and gardening work. We went to Samsonville over the weekend, and when we got home on Sunday, both dogs got out of the fence! Oh no. This is how you lose your Beagles! They "bit the apple" and discovered the wonders in the ravine between our house and the cemetery. We did manage to get both of them back within an hour, and last night we did yet another cobbed repair on the pitiful fence. So this weekend's job will be putting in a brand new one, something we've needed for years. Contractors balk at the job (because it is small) and so it looks like it is do-it-yourselfer time. Can't risk losing Prince Harry and Rosey Posey!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Forgot to post this a week or so ago.

Today I got a loud reminder that I have a pair of hunting dogs. It's not that I am unaware of this in general, but rarely do they get a real opportunity to "get" something more than a plush toy. Well, today they did. Both participated in the flushing out, but it was Harry's kill. I couldn't identify the animal, but I think it was probably a groundhog. Afterwards he alternated between picking it up, carrying it around and sometimes puting it down so he could walk around to sniff elsewhere. Rosie kept a safe distance, but approached when he was less attentive. He always saw her threatening his prize, though, and would dash back and growl. This is the only time I've ever seen her not be the alpha.

One thing I discovered is that he eventually responded to "leave it!" He then sat and looked expectantly at me, as if I would collect it. No way! Luckily Bob got home a short time later. It's awful, but Beagles will be Beagles. I haven't had many dogs who killed things. More cats who would, but not Teddy. These  two dogs are driven, though and as a pair they may be unstoppable. Poor critters. Stay out of the yard or else.

They were both so proud and happy last night. And I think they were expecting praise and perhaps that I would cook us all a rodent dinner!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

 Harry's tail!
We've been having some glorious weather (though at times it is a little hot for sleeping).