Moving onward…

In Virginia, we escaped the wrath of Irma, but so many in the southeast and in the islands did not.  We are sad for them – the mess we see on television is truly terrible.  I think it’s one of those things where you wonder how the people there will begin to cope with the cleanup, and then you realize that they will probably operate on auto-pilot to simply do what has to be done.  When anything bad happens, Happy tells me to not think about how hard it’s going to be to fix it, but to just do it.  I think that’s probably what they will do.  But I’m sorry for them.  Consider giving to the Red Cross – they do great work.

On a lighter note, Monday is Hitty Club.  They are a bit off schedule (normally meeting in November, February, May, and August) in order to accommodate a member who was out of town for quite a while, and they adjusted two meetings to catch themselves back up.  This meeting is special – it’s the end of their 5th year as a club, so they are celebrating their 5th anniversary with gifts for Hitty and a party-like atmosphere, without an activity.  I’m sure they will think of something to do – like talk each other’s heads off!

The temps are finally cooler, signaling the end of true summer and time to enter the autumnal realm in a week.  These are the final days of summer, folks.  Get in one last dip at the pool, have a picnic, take a boat ride, romp in the grass, look for any lingering fireflies, enjoy the final blooming flowers, and gather up any remaining veggies from your garden.  Summer 2017 is about to end.  Autumn is in session…but can winter be far behind.

But good news –  Spring and summer will both reappear next year! I say, enjoy each season for what it has to bring.  Moving onward…



Irma’s eye of destruction

OK, that’s hopefully an exaggeration, but we small dollies tend to get seriously worried about major storms and threats of major storms that might be headed in our direction.  We watched TV and saw all that Harvey did to TX and LA, so when Irma became an Atlantic threat, we took her seriously.  We still do.

We have family who lives in Charleston, SC, and extended family and friends in FL.  Here in VA, we have weathered several serious tropical storms and hurricane remnants ourselves, so we know what it’s like.  We don’t want it, but instead of worrying, we are prepping.  A FB friend of the Bean posted a great list of things to do, in case a hurricane heads your way.  We think it’s worth repeating, so thanks to Bean’s friend and to her friend.

1. Start running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space in between your freezer items as you can.

2. Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in tupperware-type containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between the top of the water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn’t crack the container.

3. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer.

4. Fill up all vehicles & check tires & oil. Fill up any gas containers you may have.

5. Cash from ATM, at least enough to get you through tolls and gas out of town. Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state so they don’t freeze your card for out-of-area “suspicious” transactions.

6. All important docs screenshot & send to your email. Take originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.

7. Pet & livestock food & supplies. Vet records in case you need to shelter them at a storm-safe facility.

8. Evacuation plans and share with family members so they know where you’re headed.

9. Consider putting heirlooms & photos in plastic bins in a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don’t plan on taking them with you.


11. Old rags & beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels is better than soaked drywall or floors!

12. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house NOW. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until its too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY PERSONNEL (hospital employee or first responder).

13. If you don’t already have your hurricane supplies, you might want to get them now. Shelves are already empty in most places.

14. Stock up on dry goods, bottles of water.

15. If you have a grill, stock up on propane.

16. Fill your tubs with water to flush your toilets with.

17. Lower your pool water to prevent flooding from that.

Although we are nervous – after all, Bean can’t save us all – we will rely on our instincts, our preparedness, our generator (Rumbles), and make it through Irma’s wrath.  It’s not going to be all that severe here, but may all others who read this and those about whom they care weather the storm and emerge safely on the other side.


Predicting Our Future: Almond cake

Sorry about being away so long.  I presume you all followed our Orlando adventures on Smidge Herbert’s Facebook page while we were away.  She travels in a special see-through pouch around our Bean’s neck and reports by cell to me in our hotel room where I type up all the stuff.  They give me photos to add when they are back in the room.  We had a whale of a good time, despite tropical storm Emily’s appearance.

We got home the evening of the 7th, and the following day at 7:30 pm, all was well, but by 9:30 pm, our Bean was totally down for the count with fever, chills, and THE WORST COUGH ever.  I heard her wish (out loud between the deep horrid coughs) that had Mr. Bean been there she’d have begged to be taken to the ER.  The next morning, she managed to slowly drag herself downstairs and drive herself to the doctor who told her she had infectious bronchitis and fluid in her lungs.  She did a terrible job of parking the car once home, and probably should not have been behind the wheel.  She was so out of it she didn’t even realize she had pneumonia until she had been off the antibiotics for many days. It was ugly.  Then this week, she managed to get a wee virus, just to complicate things.  Sigh.  That melody is not one we wish to continue humming.

It’s the end of the summer, at least in our minds.  The two grands who live here don’t start back to school until the day after labor day, one as a sophomore in a Specialty Center HS for visual arts, and the other a middle school 6th grader, a math whiz like her grandpa and uncle.  The three grands in SC started school over a week ago, two in college classes, and their baby sister in Kindergarten.  Happy says that makes her feel really old. Of course Bean works at a University as a writing consultant and writing tutor.  She started class on Monday, so she’s also back to class…sort of.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September in the US, is supposed to be a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  To Bean, it signals that it’s time for her birthday.  She hated that it always happened either just before school started in the fall or immediately after school began.  It meant no party, no recognition, since all the kids and parents were getting ready for school, and they had no time for parties or else had been out of touch since the prior school year ended.  It was pretty dismal back then, and rather sad for an only child.  Now turning 71 (yes, you read that right – seventy-one) she doesn’t care that she’s old and not having a party.  She says it’s fine to be old since the alternative is…well, even more dismal, although the side effects of old age do stink at times.  She and Mr. Bean are going to whip up an almond cake together this year and celebrate old age quietly, knowing that school will begin the following day.

So happy back to school to those who go to school, and happy birthday to all those who have those poorly timed events now or on other holidays.  We celebrate you anyway.

And a big welcome to all the new dolls in our house as a result of UFDC.  Such a pleasant but dangerous event.  I will post about them in a few weeks, but we are keeping them under wraps until after the doll club meeting so as to surprise all the locals who might read this and have their surprise spoiled.  But it was grand, as you will soon see.


Orlando or bust!

We leave in the morning.  This week has been a flurry of activity.  Naturally, Bean had to wash and dry every item of clothing she owns, a horrid travel ritual repeated prior to every single trip we take ad nauseam.  It’s not as if she’s going to take it all along.  I suspect she believes that, should she accidentally die en route, she didn’t want anyone pawing through the dirty laundry, or something like that.

Also to take were the gifties the Bean brings to pass among the people seated at her tables for lunch and dinner events, plus the final banquet at the doll convention.  It is “convention” to gift people with something, a gesture that is both friendly and sort of fun.  We went a different route this time, avoiding actual gifts and handing out darling little patterned organza bags of candies, and passing out large totes to those at the banquet.  Everyone needs something to drag home all the goodies and new dolls we get there, and we even get a dolly at the banquet itself, so totes are useful items.  If the suitcase is too full, you can drop the rest in the tote and plop a purse on top as an airplane carry-on.

Bean also repaired a Hitty doll for someone who broke the poor thing’s arm…actually, both arms…and will be returning her to said person at the convention.  Poor little Hitty Ginger is back together now with brand spanking newly carved rotating shoulder joints that allow her a great range of movement.  Everything is pegged and pinned in place, no glue needed.  Of course this makes her look like she’s been shot with arrows.  Oops.  Well, those extra pokey-outey things will be trimmed off eventually.  🙂 WP_20170713_008

Smidge and I had to pack, too, of course, and since we are taking Pinkly and Breezy Bear with us, we had quite the haul to assemble.

And as predicted, the temps here in Virginia are down, just in time for us to go south.  Where it’s now probably hotter.  Of course.

As a reminder, I’ll be posting with great frequency once we arrive in Orlando so that all of you who can’t attend UFDC will know what’s up, minute by minute.  OK, not that often, but definitely a minimum of once…maybe twice…a day.  It’s important to follow what we do, right?  I stay in our lovely room, and Smidge relays all the news to me via her pinkmost cell and the room’s phone.  We have a system.  She is in a special pouch around Bean’s neck at the perfect height to see and hear everything. She only looks as if she’s being physically restrained.  LOL.  I guess she is kinda restrained so she won’t fall out.WP_20160714_001

If you aren’t a watcher of my column on FB or WordPress, I’ll also copy to Smidge Herbert’s Facebook page and probably to the Bean’s on FB too.  We must get the word out to everyone!

Farewell until arrival…see you all soon.

Holy hot frijoles!

Just last week I was writing about our heat wave.  Now it’s more like a giant heat zone that some might call an oven.  We are baking, broiling, and steaming in Virginia.  I seriously fear my resin self will melt.  I have warned the Ruruko gang to stay indoors since they are not made of such stern stuff as I, and they literally could suffer an actual and potential phychotic melt-down.  It’s bad.  But what do we do?

Our Adventure Bear, Breezy, chose a nice cup in the ice cube tray to hang out.

Breezy in the freezy

The dollie campground was empty today, and only some dry dust blows through.  You can see the heat waves wafting up from the pavement.  The neighbor’s cat, Henry, is surely hiding under a bush somewhere, too hot to even venture over to beg his portion of cat food, always happily dispensed to him by one of the household.  His family is extremely negligent.  The birds don’t have the energy to tweet or chirp.  I personally can hardly type this column with all the stops to wipe up the drips on the keyboard as I sweat it out.  Even sweating makes me sweat.

Whatever were she thinking when Bean decided to attend the UFDC Convention in Orlando.  Didn’t she understand that’s in Florida, home of extreme heat, humidity, and alligators? Baby Bean was actually born there, so she should know how horrid it would be in late July and August. I imagine that we won’t even have to be cooked to become Gator lunch – one foot out of our air-conditioned rental car and we are toast.

But wait.  I just checked that weather internet site and lo!  It’s cooler there than here!!! And it’s not the dust bowl we are but is raining almost daily there to boot.  Can we please, PLEASE leave tomorrow, not two weeks from now? Please???





We’re having a heat wave

Thank goodness I’m resin or I’d melt in this heat.  Yesterday it was 99 here with a heat index in triple digits.  Well, so this is not a fun zone.

The thought of heading south to Orlando in a couple of weeks makes my internal stringing stretch and sag.  I can only imagine how hot it might be there.  Bean used to live there (youngest Bean Sprout was born in Orlando), so she knows and also dreads the humidity that comes with FL heat.  It’s ugly there, although all interiors are AC-equipped at least, some actually to the point of needing coats to survive.  So outside it’s blazing saddles, and indoors it’s a blizzard.  Crazy stuff.

Auntie Bean lives in the Pacific Northwest where nobody seems to have AC in their homes, despite the annual heat wave that last a week or so.  Those people get all excited when they see the sun, but when it lasts more than a week and produces actual heat and not just light, they aren’t so thrilled.  Fortunately, it’s generally a short-lived experience.  My Bean says no heat wave is short enough for her.  She’s a bit on the hot-house delicate side: too hot is no good and too cold is no good.  She prefers “just right.”  Hard to come by here in central Virginia.

So wherever you are this week, and whatever the weather, just be comfy and safe and just warm enough but be chill.


Saying Goodbye

We had to say goodbye to Auntie Glenda, Cousin Pip, and Cousin Amalynn on Wednesday afternoon.  Everyone was pretty sad.  Smidge and Cousin Kestrel went to the airport with our Bean to say goodbye.  Photobombed by Auntie Glenda

When they came back, they told the rest of us all about it.  There were a few tears.  It’s hard to have them for so long and then have to say goodbye to them.  But they’ll be back.  And Smidge and Kestrel will see them again when they go…oh, I shouldn’t tell secrets.

And then Kestrel and Cooper went home with their Bean last night.  Auntie Sara came to pick them up and help move boxes (we are drowning in boxes moved from the cleaned out house).  One house may be cleared out but now our house isn’t.  Ugh.  Anyway, we had to say goodbye again.  More sadness.  We miss them all. When they left, little Riley must have jumped out of the case because Auntie texted in the middle of the night to report him missing.  Bean promised we would care for him, but now Smidge (after being told she could not keep Riley) wants a dog.  Good Grief!


We are trying to sort out boxes and get organized, but that’s not happening very fast.  The house is full and we can barely pick our way through it, much less begin to organize what’s in it.

In three weeks, Bean, Smidge, and I leave for Orlando and this year’s UFDC Convention. We all went last year.  Smidge has a special pouch Bean wears so Smidge can see everything.  She texts me on her “pinkmost cell,” and I report daily on their doings from our Suite.  OK, it’s just a room, but whatever.  I know my fans will want to read all about the doings there, so I’ll keep reminding you.  And in just over a week after our return. a friend from MN will be visiting, and we will all go to a carving here in Virginia.  So much excitement to look forward to.

But we miss Auntie, Pip, Amalynn, Kestrel, and Cooper.

Family is for loving.

I can see what from where?

It was a busy and difficult week plus, and I was too tired to post last Friday.  The things that go wrong with clearing out a house often have zippo to do with cleaning out a house.  On their first dump run, the men were forced to call roadside assistance to tow the pickup from the dump! They had turned it off when dumping and it wouldn’t start, an ongoing problem since before Ruby three years ago.  They had to push She, Who Shall Not Be Named (pickup’s name) out of the dump because the dump was locking the gate.  Then the scheduled tow never came, so a second tow was dispatched. Three hours later, the Bean collected them from the fix-it shop.

Without the pickup, they decided to rent a moving truck from U-Haul.  There was heated discussion regarding what they needed to rent. Young Mr. GT thought another pickup would do; Mr. Happy said a panel van was more than adequate and covered in case of (and there was much of it) rain; but my Bean insisted that they should get a real moving truck of the smallish variety – 10 ft. – because it not only gave them cover, but they didn’t have to crouch over inside.  They only difference was a slightly higher mileage fee per mile.  They caved: Bean won. Turned out that the greater capacity because of the height also meant fewer trips to the dump, to the house, or to Auntie Sara’s house with some things we’d been saving for her were fewer and fuller.  My bean is so smart.

But on day one or two of the rental truck, Mr. Happy had to call roadside assistance again.  He’d locked the keys in the rental.  And then the next day – or was it the same day? – the days blur somewhat, Ruby suffered from a stutter and go problem.  She just refused to go without a series of stop and go bucking at a stoplight.  The next day, Mr. Happy took her to the repair shop but they said she had to go to the Ford dealer.  So off they went, Mr. Happy driving Ruby with Young Mr. GT following in the newly fixed pickup, She, and her long overdue new fuel pump.  They made it about half way before Ruby simply stopped and refused to go.  Hello, roadside assistance?  We need a tow.  This one came in only 30 minutes. Whew.

Much time was spent on waiting for roadside assistance and less on the actual business of sorting, dumping, gifting to Goodwill, or moving items, but much was accomplished with the help of Young Mr. GT, Auntie Glenda, and Mr. Happy.  I think the Bean directed traffic.  It’s not quite done, but there will be some re-directing and shifting of “stuff” on Monday after a suitable recovery period.  Bean suffered a bent knee issue and back problems during the week, and she’s still trying to get over that.  But they claim they can see Russia from their back yard.  Not sure what that means.

So until next week, I’ll be outside with my binoculars, looking for Russia. They say it’s out there.


And the son is here

He’s Bean’s boy, and he just flew out from Washington State.  He’s going to help Bean and Mr. Bean clear out the spare house and help them get it ready for sale.  Very exciting, and most kind of him since it will be a lot of work and effort on everyone’s part.  The Bean is positively grateful.  She and Boy will begin tomorrow, but will do only a small bit before choosing other options for the day.

So, as of today, we have Bean, Bean Boy, and Auntie Glenda (who calls Bean Boy Mr. GT and Dear and sweet things).  Of course Pip and Amalynn are both here, and Cousin Kestrel has stayed on as well.  We have a full house… almost.  Tomorrow, Mr. Bean (sometimes called Mr. Happy) will be here and everyone will stay for more than a week to help the clean out of the old house.

We are lucky to have them all – Bean says we may need a whole army for that old house.  Auntie Glenda will be here until July 5, and that’s nice, but we will lose the menfolk sooner.  Sad.  We try to be grateful for the time we get with them.

I may have to start working on sorting my stuff too.  Sigh.

A small doll’s work is never really done.


Laissez-faire, lazy, or just right?

Auntie Glenda popped in for four days before she and Pip headed off to visit relatives and friends on Monday.  They will be back in a week (Sunday), but until then, she left Amalynn and Kestral behind, so we have company, assuming Auntie Sara doesn’t come over and gather them up to take with her.

There are plenty of beds in the dorm for them to stay, but the girls are concerned about the lack of proper bedding.  They have managed thus far, but would prefer that the Bean take them shopping for fabrics so they can do it up right.  So far, they’ve gotten no attention from the Bean, who is in cleaning mode (sort of) and refused to stop what she’s doing for fear she’ll never get back to it.  Cleaning is not her thing.  Actually, cleaning is the wrong word.

The correct word should be organizing.  I must say that she is mentally organized – about as mentally organized as they come – but she can’t keep the physical stuff arranged properly or neatly to save her life.  That means she sort of knows where stuff might be, but not exactly where.  It’s like living in a puzzle house where mysteries abound.  It taxes her mentally to try to pull it together to create the perfect system that she imagines, but once she’s worked up her courage to attempt it, she doesn’t want to stop for fear she’ll never …. Yeah, that.  So far she’s “never.”  But that does not deter her from trying.

During Tuesday’s archeological dig, she unearthed an old Chinese fortune – you know, from inside a fortune cookie – that she’d saved.  It teaches you Chinese on one side with lucky numbers and pronounces your fortune on the other.  Her Chinese word was “chéngzi” meaning “orange” (not terribly  useful since it’s one of her least favorite colors), but her favorite/lucky number was among those listed – 37 – don’t ask.

The fortune itself is quite profound and reads, “Grand adventures await those who are willing to turn the corner.”  She quite likes it, and from afar, Auntie Glenda suggested a fortune keeper pendant to hold it.  She sent a link, but it was too costly (are you sitting down?) at over $100.00!  Bean did some sleuthing, and she found one for much less.  She’s trying to decide…  Deciding and organizing are not always her strong suits. OK, she decided.  Let’s see – $103.99 v. $15.98 including shipping.  That was easy.  Done.  Ordered.

She made a list of stuff to do while Auntie Glenda and Pip were away, and by the early afternoon on Tuesday, she’d managed to accomplish the things from Monday’s list and even part of Tuesday’s.  She believes in her list, so she’s temporarily content.  Unfortunately, her enthusiasm faded quickly.

So now it’s Friday and the list still looms rather large.  She took a day off to go sew with her Doll Club people, but Mr. Happy is arriving tonight, and a Hitty Club member plus Auntie Glenda and Pip will be here by Sunday with Hitty Club happening here on Monday. The house isn’t entirely clean, the food is not prepared, and things are not … well, not quite.

Yet the Bean persists in having fun rather than fussing over her list.  The list is still there and she’ll still accomplish much of it, but she is of the opinion that the food will be prepped, the house will be semi-clean though probably not organized, and her friends won’t care what her house looks like because they don’t come to critique her house.

Good thinking, Bean.

Life is about turning those corners.