Trisha’s Pick for Hot Hunk Thursday

                                                                         

I have been following the divine Anja as she posts her HOT HUNK THURSDAY picks and I felt the need to copy her lead . Her pal, Widdleshamrock, started the whole thing. I just like looking at pictures of gorgeous men. Don’t you?

My choice today is: Robert Downey Jr.

Now I know he’s had some setbacks in recent years but nothing is sexier than a man who can do so many things and still look as scrumptious as this. He can act, write and sing music, write screenplays and fiction…. well, he’s my pick of the day.

 I LOVE this image!

 

 

 

 

As Iron Man!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  And then we have the formal view:                                                

Yummy!

Enjoy, ladies!

The Marcellus Black Shale Formation

                    This is home to me.

  As if I didn’t have enough on my mind these days, I got a call from an old friend who lives just up the road from me. She is concerned about the way her neighbors and the local landowners are signing leasing agreements with landmen from companies which mine natural gas deposits.

You see, this part of Pennsylvania sits on the Marcellus Shale Formation, one of the biggest natural gas deposits in the United States. According to Terry Engelder, professor of geosciences at Penn State. . the Marcellus Formation  “contains 168 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place and optimistically suggests that the amounts could be as high as 516 trillion cubic feet. “”At the present level of technology, he believes approximately 10% of this, or 50 trillion cubic feet (1.4 trillion m³), could be recovered. This is enough to satisfy approximately two years’ of total U.S. consumption, or a total value of approximately one trillion United States dollars.”
 If this recovery is realized, the Marcellus reservoir would be considered a Super Giant gas field. . .and life in our rural countryside would change forever.

 One company, Chesapeake Energy, is offering local landowners in excess of $1,500 per acre for 7-year leases with royalty offers as high as 15%. That’s a lot of money for some of the people here who subsist on minimum-wage jobs or whose dairy farms are dying due to high costs of production and increasing property taxes. For some folks in Wayne County that could mean a nice chunk of change for large parcels of property.

  The resulting noise, pollution, and traffic would mean decreased property values, higher incidences of sickness, and toxic water tables in an area known for its pristine beauty.  This is an image of a drilling site .

 I hope I never have to see that but I’m afraid of what the future brings for me and my neighbors.

To see a video of what drilling (or “fracing”) a well looks like :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QefLQKLb5co

 My friend has over 120 acres of land. She, her family and her two horses and her Labrador Retrievers enjoy the beauty and peace of it all. She is terrified.  I own 70 acres and think of it as my responsibility as steward of the land. The thought that all of this could one day soon be taken away by the greedy and irresponsible corporations which feed the American way of life hurts me immeasurably.

One more thing to keep me awake at night. If the divorce doesn’t kill me then thinking about this will surely contribute to my early demise.

 

 

 

Recipe For A Perfect Weekend

           

What goes into making a good holiday weekend?

   It helps if you can get at least three to four days off work. D. was able to maneuver his three-day Memorial Day weekend into four by taking a PTO day so he arrived on Friday evening around 7:00 P.M.

 It also helps if the sun cooperates and actually shines long enough to warm up these cold northeastern Pennsylvania hills. After weeks of cold and dreary weather we finally got some warm sunshine…ahhhhh. Saturday got off to a slightly cool start.  D. and I went into town to pick up some last minute items for our little cookout later that day. It was to be a simple menu: hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats on the grill with potato salad and rolls. Nothing fancy.

 The only thing we did that was slightly decadent was to make Bananas Foster for dessert. YUMMY! Here’s a simple way to make them. I did not have any banana liqueur on hand so I eliminated it. It was still great.  

Bananas Foster-                                    

4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 bananas
2 ounces banana liqueur
4 ounces dark rum
Ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

    In a frying pan combine butter, sugar, and liqueurs and cook until liquid and melted. Add the sliced bananas and cook for a couple of minutes . Do not overcook as they will fall apart! Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in dessert dish. Spoon bananas and sauce over. May be served with whipped cream (but you won’t need it!)

  My daughter, son-in-law, and grandson came over around four and we grilled and ate and played with the hula hoops until they had to get the little one home for a bath and bed. It was such a nice afternoon.  The only down-side is that we here in the northeast have had a plague of Forest Tent Caterpillars for three years running. This year they are as bad as ever if not worse. They fall down out of the trees onto everything or crawl up your foot or they are on the chair when you sit down!  They are nasty, nasty creatures who’s foul shit, in the form of tiny, hard, round balls of manure is on every surface, too! I have to use my Toro leaf blower every day on my deck or I can’t stand to walk out onto it. 

Needless to say, we ate indoors!

 BUT that didn’t stop D. and I from having a great weekend.

On Sunday we got up fairly early to the most glorious sunny day we’d seen in over a month. We started the day off on the lower deck with coffee, just sitting in the Adirondack chairs sipping and lazing in the warmth of a beautiful morning.  The birds were chirping and swirling all around us. We decided that this was to be our laziest day so went inside and changed into tank tops and shorts, got the chaise lounges out and rolled them down the yard to a sunny spot away from the big maple tree and its resident caterpillars.

  We opened a bottle of sparkling wine and made the best Mimosas and I scrambled some eggs for our brunch.
 Mimosas are the easiest and sexiest drink for making a brunch feel luxurious. It couldn’t be easier: Fill a champagne flute a bit more than halfway with a dry sparkling wine and then fill the rest of the way with orange juice!

We made a few of these even after the eggs were gone!

The afternoon went quickly with another bottle of champagne down the gullet!

I lingered a little too long in the sun and my back and the backs of my knees got a pretty nasty shade of red. Oh, did that hurt later when I took a warm shower!  !!! @*$!&#& !!!!!

Later that evening we decided to take a ride in the Miata (top down, of course) and scooted north a few miles to a lovely restaurant where we sat by a window overlooking beautiful Starlight Lake and enjoyed a bottle of pinot grigio and dined on rack of lamb (for me) and a NY strip steak( for D).  Returning home the sun was changing the evening sky into gorgeous shades of gold and peach. We watched it set as we rocked on the front porch swing. The hummingbirds kept us company as they busily swarmed the feeder I hung on the porch hooks. We basked in the glow of the most perfect day.

 Monday we made a wise decision to let our sunburned bodies rest out of the glare of the sun. We drove to Scranton where we hit a few Memorial Day Sales . D. got the best deals on long-sleeved T-shirts ($2 each!) and I got a pretty pair of sandals.  We called it an early evening by lighting the fireplace around 7:30 and watching an old movie on TV. We cuddled and held hands and just enjoyed being together. I did not want our time together to end.

 D. had to leave early this morning for the drive back home. He was out of here by 6:30 and I tried not to get all mushy and teary as he pulled out of the driveway but it was hard. As I turned to go back inside I heard him roaring away and then came the faintest little “beep beep” that I knew was his way of saying “Me,too!”

 

The Cleaning Lady

  I’m ready to call it a day.

    On Thursdays I usually clean my oldest daughter’s house. Not because I’m such a good mom (although I am ) but  because she said a few months ago that she wanted to hire a housekeeper. My ears perked up at that!!  What? I can do that!  Who keeps the cleanest house around? Who can you trust more than yo’ mama? I could sure use the money!!  Me! Hire me!!!

   She was happy to agree but asked that I not mention it to our family and friends that “Mom” was cleaning her house. She was a bit embarrassed!! Not me! I couldn’t care less if people know I clean her house. I am not ashamed of it. Why would I be? I have always said that any job has dignity if it’s done with dignity.

   We agreed to the going rate which ain’t bad, folks. Not plumbers’ rates but still, not bad. And Lord knows I could use the money. STBE (Soon-to-be-Ex) is not exactly playing fair with the marital assets so cash is king (or should I say Queen) with me right now.

                          I like to think of myself as the cute French maid.

 

      But I am more like Dobbie the house elf.

 I was at her house at 7:30 this morning with my cleaning supplies in hand. Shelby, their dog, is a short white log of a dog, somewhere between West Highland Terrier and sausage link. She loves me. I give her great drool-inducing back scratches… and treats occasionally.  Shelby barks at me when I put my key in the door but goes into  “back-scratch whore” mode as soon as I walk in. It’s nice to feel wanted.

  I start upstairs usually. It’s a big house so I start with the upstairs master bath and bedroom and work my way downstairs. It usually takes me between 4-6 hours to do a good thorough job. I don’t take breaks except to pee.

  Today I got the major portion of laundry done, cleaned all three bedrooms, two full baths, laundry room, and hallway and started on the downstairs vacuuming as I went. The most challenging thing today was cleaning out the Diaper Genie. Holy shit! That thing weighed about 30 lb. and when I opened it to remove the bag filled with soiled diapers the stink almost knocked me over. It was weird. I had never emptied it before. The diapers go in the top and then you twist the this thing on the top and it seals the dirty poop rag so the odor is trapped. Yeah, till someone tries to take it out!! When I remove the bag from the device the diapers were sealed in sections in this plastic bag. It looked like very nasty sausage links!!

    I had just gotten the front entrance way vacuumed when the electricity went off.

    I waited a minute or two to see if it would come back on but no; it stayed dead. OK, what to do. I really wanted to get this done, get payed and then spend the remainder of time before the weekend preparing for D.’s arrival on Friday night.

    I decided to use that archaic tool, the broom! It worked great except on the carpet, of course. I was able then to mop the downstairs and except for cleaning the hall bath in total darkness I think I did a pretty good job. Done and home!!

     I got home anticipating lunch and a shower and then realized I couldn’t nuke the soup I had planned on eating for lunch. Plan B. : cottage cheese and fresh salsa!! Yum! God, I’d kill for a cup of coffee now! No can do, you fool!

     I always think of myself as an independent sort of woman but every time the electricity goes out I remember just how dependent I am on it.  Living in the country I have a well, so no water without an electric pump to bring it in. No microwave. No lights. NO …ah… OMG… NO COMPUTER!!!! AGGHHHH!! What will I do? How will I survive the afternoon???

   Luckily the power came back on shortly after 1:00 so I got my shower after all. The rest of my day was spent grocery shopping and cleaning my own house. Tonight D. said, in anticipation of his arrival: ” don’t fuss!”   Well, duh! I already did!!!!!! I got his skim milk, his Rose’s Lime Juice, his English Muffins and his Diet Coke. I baked yummy brownies.  I cleaned the shower. I changed the sheets. I even spritzed them with linen spray so they smell nice.

   Lord, I’m tired.

   It’s already 11:30 so I should get some sleep. I can barely stand the wait till I see him tomorrow night. I’m so excited.

                                I’m thinking a skirt, thigh high stockings and my bad-girl shoes…….

 

 

 

Limb-less

  It would seem that the STBE (Soon-to-be-Ex) is taking me seriously finally!        

  The tree branch has been removed. After some consideration of my options I decided that enough was enough. I called STBE and said that unless he did something about the branch I was going to call the most expensive tree surgeon in the area and have it removed, then bill HIM!

Not only did he come over with a chain saw but he brought two other employees with him. In about 15 minutes the limb was cut up into decent firewood size and the debris was hauled away. Gawd!  Why do I have to go through this crap.

Now some of you may be asking yourselves ” why didn’t she just ask him to cut the limb up?” Well, I did.

He pretended that the limb was news to him, that he had somehow not noticed it when he drove past my house 12 times.  He is very busy, he said. He will “get around to it soon.”  I know his “get around to it soon”.  I asked him three years ago to fix the hole in the woodshed roof.  I ended doing it last year. A shit job, yes, but at least it kept the worst of the snow and rain out.

When I posted images and wrote about this a few days ago I got some brilliant responses about how to handle the situation. Some of the more inspired ones are: “Maybe you could manage to pull it just a little ways… isn’t it only 20 feet or so to the middle of the road? I bet if you could get it that far the rest would take care of itself. “  and ” Hook a chain to it and drag it to one of those assholes driveway.”  Also I got ” Go thru the kids old toys and find anything with wheels; rollerskates, skateboards, wagons etc. Get them under the bulk of the branch and push that puppy into the middle of the street. Giving just enough room for YOU to get in and out of your driveway. “  All inspirations to me!!  But the one that sounded like the most fun was this one :”I say pour some gas on it, set it ablaze and roast some marshmallows.”

I love my readers!

 Now I can just lay my fat ass down on the couch and be a happy bitch! Cause sometimes we all need a nap! Ahhh, if only life was like this……….

Peace, y’all! 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaf It Up To Me

  Last week, for reasons unknown to me, a huge maple tree branch detached itself from the tree right next to my garage and fell into the driveway. It is huge. It blocks one entire bay of the garage and had it gone a foot more to the right I wouldn’t have been able to get my car out of the garage at all! Since it’s green it is very heavy. I’m pretty strong for a 54-year-old 5’1″ woman but I couldn’t budge it!

Since it fell last Wednesday night I figured someone would see it and offer some assistance getting the darned thing cut up by, oh, the weekend?  I live on a main road. All my STBE’s (Soon-to-be-Ex) friends and employees drive past my house on a regular basis. Half of them hunt on my property. Many of them store vehicles in our machine shed. Some of them are semi-retired with time on their hands.  Not one of them offered me any help.

 I HATE being dependent on others. It is a true character flaw that I am totally incapable of asking for things I need. I occasionally will ask my daughter for something but only in rare cases. Usually not, however. When I had carpal tunnel surgery a couple of years ago, I had a huge load of wood delivered. It was dumped in front of my woodshed. I stacked it all myself. With my hand in a cast to the elbow. I painted the stable two years ago, dragging and lifting an 18-foot extension ladder from one building to the other and setting it up myself. I climbed up and down that damned ladder for a week a half with a paint roller till the job was done. No one helped. No one offered.

 I am proud of this!  I like being independent. It makes me feel strong and good about myself. If I can do a job I do it. I mow all the fields. I fix and repair most all the things needed around this old place. Not a problem. But once in a while something like this comes along and I am stumped ( ha! a pun!)

 I don’t have a chain saw. The danged thing is too heavy to drag down to the wood line. I could probably cut it up with my hand saw but sheesh! That would be nuts!

I so want to put a sign up on the road that reads “Thanks, all you big , strong men, for all your help in cutting up this tree limb! I’ll be sure to lend YOU a hand some day!”

 I hate feeling needy.                                           

 

 

Proud Freak

yippee 

I told D. I would do it and it took three tries but I finally made……drum-roll………FREAK OF THE WEEK!

Yes, folks, my dear BlogFriend and notoriously wicked and delicious Purefnevyl granted me the ultimate title (for the week) and I couldn’t be prouder. If you aren’t familiar with this guy, make sure you get over there and check him out. He is a true original!
  Every week is a new contest and let me tell you, they are inspired!  The competition is fierce.  Anja, a fearless blogger won the first contest followed by the inimitable Red on week #2.  I am proud to be listed among them!
 OK, now that I’ve helped spread the word I imagine my chances of ever winning again are getting slimmer!
Wonder what he’ll come up with this week……….

Friday Funkalicious

Some random musings on a funky, rainy, miserable Friday:

  • I just found out that this little (OK, it’s not that little) overhang I have goin’ at the top of my jeans is now being referred to as a “muffintop“!  AGHH!  And there is some debate (evidently) over which is the greater clothing offense: muffintops or “whaletails“!!  Whaletails are when you can see the top of the thong over the top of the jeans in back.  In my case, that ain’t gonna happen. Me and thongs…uh uh. …

  • My kid, my brilliant dog-grooming daughter, Birdpress, blogged yesterday about the “O” magazine (aka  The Oprah Magazine ). She and I agree that the magazine reeks of  hypocrisy  but I (hangs head in shame)  already bought the last issue so I felt beholden to read the danged thing in its entirety ’cause once in a while one of her writers (a room full of shit-slinging monkeys) actually says something pretty profound. I’m not saying that these writers have no talent. I’m saying some of them are shit-slinging monkeys.

          In the article entitled ” The Doubter’s Dilemma” I found this written by Elizabeth Streb, a choreographer: ” When I’m taking my last breath , I want to look at how I used up the best of myself. How much did I sweat, push, pull, rip, fall, hit, crash, explode? Maybe it has to do with being able to suffer discomfort in zones away from those I know- the mud zone, the ‘I don’t know’ zone. We’re given to planning for the future, but if you fully invest yourself in this half-second you’re in right now, the future will take care of itself. My dream is to be so well-used that in my last half-second, I just burst into dust.”

    I like that. I believe that’s my philosophy. I would add that we own and write our own destiny. That we get the opportunity to make a difference or not, to live life large or small. I want to live large.

  • Tonight I treated my hungry self to something I’ve been craving: meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I made the meatloaf my standard way with lots of finely chopped onions, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, catsup, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper, and of course, good lean ground beef. Not TOO lean. You need some fat in there for flavor! I made the mashed potatoes rather healthy by mixing the cooked potatoes with Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Broth rather than my usual cream and butter but they were oh, so good with steamed broccoli flavored with a tiny bit of olive oil and lemon.

  • I opened a fun bottle of red wine while the meatloaf was cooking. It’s one D. and I found in Rochester,  a 2002 Feudo d’Elimi. This is a medium-bodied Sicilian red, lots of berry flavors, nice soft tannins. A very easy-drinking wine and the price is right at, are you ready? around $3.99 a bottle!    

  • I’m loving my hoop dancing!

                    “Buddha-Lounge 5“.

 

  • Let me tell ya, a couple of glasses of that Sicilian red, this CD, and a hoop make for some fine pre-dinner entertainment when you and your man are three-and-a-half hours apart!  I got my exercise and had so much fun wiggling and swaying to the music! I don’t feel at all guilty about the meatloaf now!

 

  •  I miss D. something awful. When I spoke with him tonight it was all I could do NOT to get in my car and drive to Rochester! He had a rough day. I wanted to just be there for him to rub his back, make soothing noises and help him forget the facts that  a.) his mother is probably never going to leave that nursing home,  b.)that work is gonna be difficult, and  c.) that we live so far apart. Long distance relationships are a LOT of work!

  • Have a great weekend, my friends.

 

 

Death of a Dove

Sometimes the best intentions go awry.

   Last evening I was worried that the rain and chill would be harmful to my new little dove friend so I brought the cage inside and covered it with an old tablecloth like we used to do for the kids’ parakeet at night. It was doing well, I thought. There was evidence that it had tried eating since there was birdseed scattered about the floor of the cage and some bird poop there as well indicating it was “evacuating” in a healthy way. All good.

  I said good night to the pretty white dove and went to bed anticipating seeing it well and happy in the morning. Alas, it must have been sicker than I thought or injured in some way I didn’t realize.

 When I came downstairs this morning I called out a “good morning, little bird!” and pulled the cover off the cage and I saw he was dead.

  I never really used to get emotional about some animals deaths. My dogs, yes! Definitely. Some of the cats but not the barn cats since that was the natural order of things there. Cattle came and went as did some other farm animals and you learn not to get emotionally attached. You can’t as it is a business as well as a lifestyle. Too much involvement would make you nuts.

  Yesterday was a really bad day up until I found the pretty white dove. I drove the three hours home from D.’s house in Rochester after spending an entire week with him to come home to take care of all the details of my other life, the one where I take care of this big old farm and am going through a divorce.  I hate leaving him. I feel so alone when I walk into that cold, empty house of mine.

  Later that day my STBE (Soon-to-be-Ex) got in a yelling match with me in the parking lot of our building in town when he informed me that he was reneging on our agreement regarding some of the financial arrangements we’d made. I told him I’d had enough and would see him in court. Actually I yelled that at him as I spun the tires out of the parking lot in my Subaru (NOT an easy thing to do with an 8-year-old Forester!)

  I went home feeling like sh*t and that’s when I found my little dove. Holding that dove felt good and nurturing and I liked that .

  I am sad.

 I guess it wasn’t my good luck sign. It wasn’t good luck for the bird, that’s for sure. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to care for it at all  since so much sucks in my life right now.

  Poor dove.