These Foggy November Mornings

I don’t particularly care for warm November days. I like my Novembers a bit on the chilly side, a precursor to winter. However, these past few days have been extremely warm and, due to the humidity and the temperature forming a perfect balance (according to the weatherman) the mornings have been foggy. What I do like about the autumn fog is how the colorful leaves manage to peek out through the saturated air in a soft and lovely manner–just that hint of color in a gray, gauzy world. And there’s something special about that.

Happy Halloween!

I’ve only had two trick-or-treaters in the twenty years I’ve lived in my present home. I stopped decorating for Halloween these days, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the innovative, downright fun displays in this blog reposted from Houzz. I especially like the first one. How spooky that would be on a dark night!

Coffee, Anyone?

Yes, I know, that’s not a coffee pot above. But, as you’ll soon find out, I’m not what you’d call a coffee drinker.  I can honestly say I have about three or four cups of coffee a year and usually don’t finish the cup. And still, I occasionally crave it. Not sure why, exactly. I’ve even gone so far as to buy a cup of Dunkin’s and about a quarter through it, I stop. It’s delicious, but, as I’ve said, I’m not what you’d call a coffee drinker. But as I also said, I occasionally have a craving for a cup.

This morning was one of those times.

I have a coffee maker. Not a K-cup type—that would be wasted on me—but a drip type (I’m so not a coffee drinker that I’m not really sure what it’s called). It’s only worth breaking out for company. This morning, however, I figured there had to be a way to brew coffee without it.

So, I took a coffee filter, which has been hanging around since the last Probstock (not the mini, mind you, but the full blown Probstock family gathering), and the container of Folgers (same era, so probably too stale for most folks), a pair of clothespins and a mug. I heated water in the coolest tea pot ever (a gift from my youngest) which I use for tea and, more often, hot chocolate, which is my favorite hot beverage no matter the season.

Once the water was heated, I poured about three ounces into the filter and allowed it to percolate down through the paper into my mug. Afterward, I added two scoops of hot cocoa powder and another four ounces of water. I know, I know, right now all you true coffee drinkers are shrinking back in horror, crying out, “but that’s not real coffee.” And I get it. You’re right. For your average coffee drinker, it’s not. But what about all those fancy, confusingly- named coffees you all buy at specialty coffee-type places? This is my version.

Looks a little like mud…

Anyway, to get back to my story, once I made myself a steaming, fragrant mug of cocoa+coffee using a filter and a couple of clothespins I drank about a third of it and dumped the rest down the drain.

That’ll do for this quarterly craving. Maybe next time I’ll make it out to a diner.

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…


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.


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.)



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.