Facebook Failure

What’s a Facebook failure you might ask? If there were a picture of me somewhere on this website, you’d be looking at it. I started with Facebook some years back at the behest of my publisher. You know, need to make those social media contacts, after all, and toot your own horn about your “accomplishments”. Only I wasn’t really sure how to make those contacts or what to do once I had. Somehow, though, it happened (thanks to my daughter-in-law) and Facebook friends started to “appear”, as well as the friends I had from my real life, and family members, and oh, jeez, a whole world!

And still I struggled to keep that contact. Really? you say. How’s that? What did you think when you went onto your page and saw all the info and posts and everything? What did you even DO when you saw all that stuff?

Well, for the longest time, almost nothing.

Recently, however, thanks to the pandemic (is there anything we can thank for this world-changing crisis?—no, no, we can’t—except perhaps, the increased motivation to communicate and let people know we care) I started to check Facebook more frequently to see how my rather large extended family was doing, as well as my more immediate family because, you know, sometimes we (I) don’t keep in touch as often as we (I) should. I started “liking” posts, or (gasp) responding to them with an actual comment. Even though I continued to feel like the Facebook introvert for the most part, I did get a sense of connection I sorely needed.

However, the other day I was asked to make a post “sharable” (yes, I had made one of those few and far between posts) and I was flummoxed. I had no idea, none whatsoever. I wasn’t even sure how to find the referenced post, as it had completely disappeared in the onslaught of new posts being made by friends and family. (Timeline? What the heck is that?) The whole Facebook-Failure tag reared its ugly head once more.  

So I asked questions—on the phone, in a live conversation. My middle son, Michael, pointed me in the right direction. It was a matter of clicking on three little dots to the right of the post, which I had managed against all expectation to finally locate, and picking the correct choice (make public or something like that—only a couple days have passed and I’ve already forgotten, although now I know I can easily remind myself by reading this blog…maybe) and voila!

Facebook failure a thing of the past!

Until next time, that is. Because I really don’t know what I’m doing…

Hearts-a-Poppin’

What does it say about me that my favorite is the outhouse???

Which one is yours?

Outdoor Winter Containers

I’m so behind on blogging, but I did see this wonderful article and figured I’d post it here. I can’t claim any of these ideas as my own, though, dang it. They’re beautiful and none of them look all that difficult to achieve. Happy holidays, folks!

It’s a Love-Hate Thing…

Well, sort of, anyway. The past few years, I have found driving in the snow a bit annoying, especially when the weather is unexpected, the roads aren’t cleared, cars are in places they have no business being, and a one to one-and-a-quarter hour commute from work to home can take upwards of four. 

But I absolutely love the stark crystalline beauty of snow. Which I guess is the yin and yang in me. After all, how can I feel that way, when I am also so  enamored of flowers in riotous bloom, the gentle new green of Spring, the flaming colors of Autumn? I suppose it’s Nature that I love, in all its glory, even at its most overwhelming.

On my way  home from the post office/bank/grocery store early this frigid Saturday morning, I was complaining aloud about how cold I was as I clung to the steering wheel that somehow, impossibly, still felt like an ice cube in my hands despite the heat blasting so hard my eyeballs were turning to sawdust. I was grumbling and sour and using, as usual, language I would certainly avoid in company other than my own.

And then, I actually looked out of the car window.

And stopped, right there in the middle of the deserted, snow-covered road.

And got out, despite the temperature that had not yet topped ten degrees.

Because what I saw was beautiful.

Crossing the road on cold-numbed feet, I took the photo above with my phone, of the Hosensack Creek as it passes beneath the bridge on Schultz Bridge Road. (At least I believe it is the Hosensack at that point, and not one of the other numerous watercourses in this area–if anyone knows for certain otherwise, please enlighten me.) I stood there a while longer in contemplation of the grandeur Nature provides us. Though chilled, I no longer cared quite so much because, like the Grinch, my complaining, whining little heart grew ten times larger in those few moments. 

So I went home, stuck my tingling toes into a pair of actual snow boots, slipped on my ear muffs, and went for a walk. In my own yard, but a walk through the snow nevertheless. The below photos are of the Hosensack Creek as it runs though my property (and yes, I am at least positive it’s the Hosensack here).

I also took a photo of the little stream that runs perpendicular to the creek. As I stood beside it listening to the flowing water making its way through the ice, I realized it sounded like an enormous, clogged toilet constantly giving way. Not very romantic, but true. The sound made me laugh out loud before I headed back inside to warm up by the fireplace, realizing how very fortunate I am to have this world to live in.

The water level remains high on the Hosensack from all the precipitation of this past year (see “When the Levee Breaks” blog for an extreme example), but the bitter cold has wrought changes, causing the flow to stop in winter stillness on the surface, while moving on ceaselessly beneath.
Here you see the water still, quiet and icebound in the foreground, reflecting the trees unseen in this photo but, just beyond, the water tumbles against the bank, the roots and grasses snow-covered and dipping into the flow.
Above is the yard at the bottom of the hill, where normally one can walk this time of year. However, the water table has not receded and the underground springs are percolating up through the earth, creating this humped landscape of snow and ice.
Here is where I had to laugh. The water of the small stream was determined to get to the Hosensack and wasn’t letting a little icy blockage keep it from its destination. I’m not kidding when I say it sounded like a freed clog swirling down a huge drain.

Lehigh County – when the levee breaks…

There was no levee. I only liked the sound of it as a title, while the Led Zeppelin song played in my head. What broke loose was a raincloud of immense capacity, which caused the worst flooding of the Hosensack Creek that I have seen in the nearly two decades I’ve lived here. My neighbor said in the 45 years of his residence, flooding had never been this bad. Unfortunately, there’s more heavy rain predicted for tomorrow.

When I first realized the waters had come up in torrential rage, the creek was flowing over the guardrails and had completely flooded the road. I thought I saw (and later realized I was not mistaken) at least two of the neighbor’s sheep roll over the guardrail with it, the fence to their pen having been torn away by debris. Several cows followed, the most unfortunate of them getting sucked into the flow under the bridge to bob up again on the other side. Never fear, all of them were found (some a good distance away and only one of them limping a bit) and herded back home. A single sheep still remains afield as of this writing, so traumatized by the experience that she refuses to let anyone near her.

What follows are photos taken at various stages, including the aftermath. They do not do justice to the powerful flow of water when the flood first came roaring down.

sheep and cow

These sheep had attempted to swim to safety while still on their side of the road, but were swept up against the guardrail. Their sisters had a rougher ride downstream. The cow in the background tried to swim back toward the barn as well, but was sucked into the current shortly after this photo was taken. Forced by water under the bridge, it surfaced on the other side and was later found a against a tree, frightened but alive. The owner brought the cow home, unharmed. People arrived, drawn by the drama, but also to help find the animals, including Lehigh County Animal Rescue and fire personnel.

Other side of the road

When I took this photo, the water was not flowing as hard. The second fence post back is four feet high. It had been underwater.

View from my porch.jpg

The Hosensack runs about twelve to fifteen feet wide under normal conditions. You can see how far it had spread. The floodwaters cut a swath through the woods. In the valley beyond, the water went from one side to the other, a width of about six or seven hundred feet.

hosensack in yard

This is the Hosensack sweeping through my property. My youngest son witnessed a cow bobbing up and scrabbling for a log that broke under its weight about fifty feet to the left. The cow was later rescued.

shed.jpg

This is the shed you can see in the previous picture (two above) and the vegetation that now blankets the fences since the water receded.

Below is all the damage to the bridge. There is a road closed sign at each end of this stretch but, yes, certain people keep moving the cones and driving around. *sigh* (Before posting this, Penndot arrived en force. Not sure what they’re doing, but NO ONE is going around those signs now.)

bridgeout1.jpg

brdigeout2.jpg

collapsing road.jpg

collapsing road 2.jpg

underside of bridge.jpg

yard by bridge.jpg

We Can

I went to a show at the Sellersville Theater last night. My very first time there. As it is only thirty-five minutes from my house, I can’t help wondering why I haven’t visited this venue in the past. The place is, as the name suggests, a theater, with theater seats and cabaret-style tables up front by the stage. The acoustics are good and, for the little I know about such things, the sound people seem to know their sh…er, shtuff. Everyone working there (most of whom I suspect are volunteers) are friendly and knowledgeable. The theater possesses a wonderful atmosphere and there is a great restaurant right next door. Indeed, the Washington House is on my list to visit next.

Jesse Ruben opened for Tony Lucca. I only knew one of his songs from satellite radio, but when he started speaking and playing I knew I’d become a fan. Here was a witty, self-effacing talented man who took the audience through moments of his life in ways that made you laugh and think, followed by songs that did the same. One—“Different”—made me cry. It was a song about acceptance of the differences that make us unique, and yet the same, and the fact that we all deserve a chance, at love and at life. “We Can” was another such song, funny and tender, about the ability to overcome adversity, sadness, mediocrity, cruelty, together. At least that was the way I took it. I bought the crocheted bracelet pictured above, and am wearing it now. Those two words mean so much.

Next, Tony came out. I can’t leave him out of this little post. Every show with him is something different. Tony Lucca is a man of many faces, so to speak. A singer-songwriter who can treat the audience to soulful ballads like “Nobody But You” to hard-rocking delights like “Foxy Jane.” For the most part, last night was the latter, with the inclusion of certain songs I’ve been listening to lately in the acoustic form, but with a Tony-twist, an electric guitar, a great bass player and drummer, those tunes came across with a whole different flavor—like a kick of whiskey with the same burn through your veins.

I didn’t stick around long afterward. Both of these fine gentlemen had fans a-plenty waiting to speak with them (plus it was seriously past my bedtime, lol). Tony and I had a quick discussion about lack of time and I gave him a heartfelt hug before departing. He wouldn’t let me leave without asking if I enjoyed the show–as he always will of stranger and friend alike, wanting to make sure he’s given it his all. I told him the show was great.

I lied. It was fantastic. And I have both performers to thank for that.

 

 

Life’s Little Surprises

Somehow, in the craziness of trying to accomplish all I’ve set myself this summer, I had forgotten my little pond out front. Not that I’d actually forgotten it’s existence. Fixing or removing the waterfall and making changes to the layout of this small body of water is on my to-do list. I’ve underlined that chore multiple times. Perhaps even hard enough to push the pen point through the paper.

Still, I can’t remember the last time I looked at the pond except in disgust (awful, that–after all, the state of neglect is not the pond’s fault). All the same, nearly every day I find myself hearkening with a smile to the bullfrog’s deep callings accompanied by various little peeps in its vicinity while I’m engaged on the small hill’s upper side–either weeding, planting, planning or occasionally relaxing on the porch.

I took the embarrassingly short walk down there today to check things out and found to my utter delight the water lilies are in bloom. What a wonderful, inspiring surprise. I promptly decided to push caring for the water feature to the top of my to-do list. It does, however, seem to be getting along quite nicely without me, having formed it’s own flourishing little eco-system with no help at all from moi.

I am put in mind of Jeff Goldblum’s character’s utterance in the first Jurassic Park movie. “Life finds a way…”

Where was this when I was young?

Summer construction camp, for girls. Woohoo! I love doing this kind of work. I wish I’d learned the how-to of it all at a much younger age, though. Great idea!

Garden Restoration, Part I

I’ve decided to document the rebirth of the front garden (for starters—I may move on to brave the shed garden, the shade garden, the don’t-sit-under-the-apple-tree garden). It’s also a tale of my own rebirthing, from a rather nasty depression into the symbolically hopeful, soul-nurturing act of gardening.

Last year was a rough year for me. I know there are many out there for whom last year (or any year) was far more troublesome than mine. But I need to begin this blog with a quick explanation as to why my gardens came to resemble the forest surrounding Sleeping Beauty’s bower. I’ll be quick…the Reader’s Digest version, abridged and leaving you wondering where the rest of the story went. Ready? Two surgeries and nearly a year of physical therapy on my right arm. And I’m right-handed. Enough said? The weeds spent the summer proliferating and laughing at me. Winter did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm for mockery. They joyfully reappeared in the springtime for a repeat performance.

But I was ready for them this time…sort of.

I’ve decided to document the rebirth of the front garden (for starters, at any rate—I may ambitiously continue this documentary recitation with the shed garden, the shade garden, the don’t-sit-under-the-apple-tree garden). It’s also a tale of my own rebirthing, from a rather nasty what-the-hell-has-happened-and-do-I-really-care attitude into the symbolically hopeful, soul-nurturing act of gardening. I regained the use of my right arm and, therefore, my ability to remake my beloved flower beds over.

It’s a work-in-progress that began with the simplest tasks first—the front porch. Not gardening, per se, but the lateral move of store-bought plants into store-bought planters. Enough color to make me smile, enough floral abundance to convince me I was on my way to bigger and brighter.

blankslateFirst thing to face and prepare: the Blank Slate. Remove all extraneous items; break out the pressure washer; wash the lovely green lichen or whatever the heck it is from the railings, front siding, windows, wherever it had appeared in its effort to taunt me. Re-hang the wind chimes (did I mention that in my state of mind last year I had my son yank them down because the beautiful, deep timber of their chimes annoyed me? Of course I didn’t. I gave you the abridged version…) Next, bring the table and chairs out of the shed, wash them down, and place pottery onto the tempered glass surface. Insert pansies—purple and white. Why not? The colors look fabulous with the turquoise glaze of the pots.

table

Next, hang the planters on the railings. Unfortunately, the planters themselves are too flowerboxshort for the hanging apparatus. But soon these little beauties pictured at right are supposed to grow to drape over the planters’ edges and none will be the wiser. Except you, now that the secret is out of the bag. I’ll have to take photos later in the summer and we’ll see if their promise of coverage comes to fruition.

Finally, for this portion of the Garden Restoration, I jammed a shepherd’s hook into the earth in front of the porch between three smashingly beautiful and HUGE light gray rocks, and hung the equally large hanging basket of wave petunias, a basket of sunny yellow zinnias and a brightly colored birdhouse (painted by moi, in about two seconds, so don’t look too closely).

zinnias_and_birdhouse

This leads me to the next phase, which was backbreaking, exhilarating work. It was also where I learned, as I never had before, that gardening is a contact sport.

Check back for Garden Restoration, Part II. Thanks for reading!