Brown Thumb Disease

So here it is ...September again..

Several of my mums have already paid the ultimate price for my brown thumb disease. Surprisingly, my fall floral array finally began to slowly overtake that of my garden nemesis (Mr. Green Jeans). I was about to get my gloat on when I discovered that  he had an unfortunate accident resulting in a rotator cuff injury which is obviously more detrimental to gardening duties than the fact that I have only one opposable thumb. So, I guess the garden war will have to wait until spring.

My little Greendale “original” has a small cubbyhole type storage area in one of the bedrooms. In an effort to begin my fall cleaning ritual, I crawled into said cubbyhole and began to empty out  a lifetime collection of treasures ... old books, Christmas decorations etc. It's hard to appreciate how much one can cram into a small area until you realize that you have accrued a huge pile of bags and boxes.

So many bags and boxes in fact that, by pushing them out of the storage area willy-nilly you have made an impenetrable obstacle for yourself and — try as you might — you now are hopelessly stuck in the closet.

So there I was, crouched down much like a garden gnome, totally unable to uncross my legs and too puny to push the stacks of boxes out of my way. My cell phone was tantalizingly on the other side of the pile, and yelling for help would be futile what with the windows closed and a foot of concrete block between me and the civilized world.

After a good while when one is totally alone, with no sustenance (and no water) one’s imagination takes over. I pictured my family finding my parched and skeletal remains draped in Christmas tinsel or possibly partially consumed by Gump, who can't go for more than a few hours without eating.

Finally, when claustrophobia set in, I found a burst of strength, got to my hands and knees — and much like a bull in a china shop — pushed one of the boxes aside.        It was just enough to allow me to crawl up over the pile. When I told my children about the incident I got surprisingly little sympathy, just some  eye rolling and mutterings about senility and assisted living.

Something has been definitely wrong with the e-mail part of my computer. It has begun to pick and choose who it will send my messages to. When I tried to send my last blog to my son (who edits it brutally by the way) it went instead to Sendik's. I can't imagine what went through the mind of the person who received the mailing.

Now, I'm a bit uncomfortable about shopping there and am mulling over wearing some sort of fedora to hide my identity. In the meantime, until enough time has elapsed I will use what is left in my cupboards for sustenance. Which means tonight's meal will be a very ripe banana garnished with a cup of canned peas, OR use my $5 coupon at Miss Beverly's.

I don't like to be repetitive, but have you watched the latest batch of E Harmony ads? When the old codger isn't discussing the dating scene with his prepubescent “granddaughter" he is lurking around a speed dating site, popping up across from some unsuspecting young woman. I rather expect Stabler and Benson from Law and Order SVU to drag him away in handcuffs. I guess maybe I'm overreacting a bit, but really...

So, I found a  credit card I thought I had lost. It was in amongst Gump's secret stash of dollar bills, single earrings, spools of thread and rubber bands. I have tolerated this eccentricity, but will draw the line if he starts collecting underwear..

Well ... the leaves are turning, little Damian is off to kindergarten (whoever said teacher's aren't paid enough were right) and I have barely started my Christmas shopping so must run for today.

Until next time.

My Little Teapot

Drove through the Village the other day It looks like we're getting another  shoppe ... something to do with yarn and cotton. We're beginning to resemble those English villages you might see on the BBC. You know, those quaint little towns with a friendly coffee shop, artsy establishments for tourists, a couple of restaurants, a library, a barber shop, an ultra sound facility?

Oh wait ... never mind.

I have a small house. Nevertheless, I have ample floor space. So, why did Gump find it necessary to cough up a huge hairball into one of my slippers? I’m just wondering.

For those of you who are not aware, Greendale is famous for it's huge crawl space centipedes. I have the perfect household hint for a humane, ecologically sound way to get rid of them. Since they are most often found in a sink or bathtub it is quite simple to boil a teapot full of water and dump the boiling water directly onto the offending bug. It appears to me that death is instantaneous.

Well, to my surprise, a couple of my children were aghast at my solution to the centipede problem. I guess they found it disturbing that a mother and grandmother could be so “unfeeling and brutal” to one of nature’s creatures.

I've  even heard rumors that one of them is in contact with PETA!This would be the second time that I would be in “hot water” with PETA...the first time was when I was keeping squirrels from digging holes in my flower pot dirt by placing knives 
in the pots with the blade side up. That worked quite well 

Anyhow ... bring it on PETA.

I can tell you from personal experience that, when boiling the centipede water, it is best not to leave the teapot on the hot 
burner and then go away (perhaps to a grocery store or to a doctor’s appointment).

Because when you come home you will find that, if left long enough a on the stove, a metal teapot will actually MELT!  I 
remember when I came home after a similar experience it looked as though Salvador Dali had performed some sort of stove art in my kitchen. And, then of course there's the cleanup. I ended up needing a new burner, and being old and helpless, I asked the one child (who I was sure wouldn’t tell the rest of his siblings about the harmless faux pas) for a little help.

It turns out you just can't trust anybody anymore. It wasn't too much later that I heard murmurings about elder care, Comfort Keepers and geriatric doctors.

The gardening feud with Mr. Green Jeans is in full swing. I will concede that his blanket of roses is eye catching enough. He does have a nice collection of hanging baskets. However, I still prefer my kaleidoscope of colors and shapes.

Right now something yellow is blooming along with a plethora of tall plants with a wispy white flowers (possibly weeds). And, a purple something or other is about to bloom.

Together with my red geraniums, purple and pink petunias and 
lavender impatiens ... and then you have to add in the red white and blue of the flags for the Fourth of July. The whole panorama is ... well ... mind numbing.

Must run..I  intend to be the first one to  put my chair out  for the Fourth of July parade..

Until next time,

The Village Grandma

Garden Wars!


Well hello again,

It's been a while. There’s not a lot going on in Greendale. One can always get a clue as to what's happening by reading the LED sign by the arch leading down Northway. Bit of a problem though. Timing is CRUCIAL at the stop sign. Unfortunately, I got a green light and In order to get the full message I had to circle the block 3 times to find out that I needed a carbon monoxide detector.

We do have a new Yoga studio in the Village and the BBQ restaurant is getting a lot of buzz. Plus, try as we might to peek thru the paper covering over the windows, we must wait impatiently for Hidden Charms to open. Ferch’s has expanded and there are rumors of a Chic-fil-A in front of Wal-Mart. So, we appear to be moving forward.

The flower garden contest with Mr. Green Jeans next door is in full swing. He has opted for a simple carpet of pink roses in his front yard. I have to admit that it is quite stunning but … pretty monochromatic, right? I, on the other hand, went with a wild array of various colors. There is red, pink, several shades of purple, some yellows whites and blues.

In addition I have a few strawberry plants and either a tomato plant or a really hardy weed. Because there are no rules for this neighborhood garden war, I felt comfortable using some added mystical assistance. My granddaughter acquired some sand blessed by monks from an Indian Monastery. Which if scattered in your garden while chanting a secret mantra at dusk will guarantee beautiful, healthy plants.

PLUS I purchased a couple of Faerie Pharts to hang among the flowers ensuring an aroma which will waft lightly through the air. I think it's a hands down win for gramma right?

The neighbors may have suffered a few qualms when they saw a grey haired  limping old woman in bathrobe and bunny slippers muttering to herself and tossing dirt willy nilly into the air in the evening but that's the cost of living in a village right?

Nothing much new to report about Gump and Nellie either. They have settled into a lazy summer routine. Gump starts his day by staring at the blinking light on my Keurig coffeemaker until it goes out. Then spends an hour or two leaping at dust particles floating in the air.

Later, he and Nellie have their daily battle to determine the alpha cat, which is decided by who loses the most fur. Finally, Gump (now mostly hairless) takes his several hour nap.

I don't understand  those people who complain about  the youngsters nowadays being lazy and self centered. My grandkids are young people and I have never had a problem getting their help with chores around the house and the older I get the more helpful they have become. I think it's the way one relates to the younger generation, right? I just  call them to come over, give them a job list and tell them if there are any questions I'll be right inside studying my will. Works every time.

Housekeeping tip! If,by chance you find you have, by accident, dropped a whole bag of Tide Pods into your washer without realizing it and then actually wash a load of clothes, you will discover that your clothes and your washer will be covered in a substance that resembles primordial ooze. No matter how many times you rewash and re rinse the clothes you will not rid yourself of the goo factor. The best (and probably only) solution is to replace the washer and bury the clothes.

Anyhow like I said...not much going on in our Village. Just an afterthought though … maybe the sign by the arch could publish a list of the stores and restaurants in the village so visitors would have a preview of some of our assets … or not. I’m just saying.

Until next time

The Village Grandma

Mr. Green Jeans' Secret Weapon


Hello again. It is the Village Grandma here.

It was late in the evening as I was at my kitchen window pouring myself a cup of tea when I heard a pretty loud noise. So, with neighborly concern plus some suspicion about my garden nemesis (let’s just call him Mr. Green Jeans). I looked out only to see him dragging a box out of the trunk of his car.  Just to check and see if he might need some help, I got out my binoculars to see how heavy the box might be.

To my utter dismay I just happened to glance at the label only to find out that he had ordered a box of GNOME LEAVINGS for his flower garden which he was smuggling in under cover of darkness! 

Unbelievable right? Now, I have a real dilemma. Do I order a box for myself or wait and see how well they work? Decisions, decisions.

I’m a little concerned about Nellie. You know how teenagers are. I found her primping in front of the bathroom mirror the other day and I  think she may be trying to attract the attention of a scruffy brown bad boy from the wrong side of Grange Ave. (if you know what I mean).

She used to sleep in until two or three in the afternoon but now is up at the crack of midnight. Fortunately, Gump is less of a problem. This week the object of his affection seems to be a dust bunny he found under my bed. Keeps him occupied most of the day.

Now, before you get all judgmental about a little dust here and there in my house you might recall that I have only one hand with an opposable thumb ... PLUS this past week I found out via an MRI (Or, rolling casket, whichever you prefer) that one of my legs is not always interested in receiving input from my brain ... PLUS they found what appears to be a harmless but large balloon-like entity on one of my kidneys. I have deduced from this new information that I have less in common with an orangutan as I first suspected and am closer, in a genetic sort of way with Quasimodo.

Finally, the weather has cleared up a bit. I saw a few people walking about the Village taking in some of the ambience. People going to and from church or out to lunch. It might be a pleasant way to spend a little time finding out why  little Greendale has national significance ... and why it might be good for all of us to help keep it ORiGINAL. Maybe take a ride and view it with fresh eyes.

Possibly though for the time being you might want to scratch off Angle Lane from your route. It seems that the department of public works and mother nature have some sort of vendetta towards each other. For a while there it would have been more efficient for the water department  to set up a tent city on a few of the yards in the area rather than bring all their available equipment, fix the problem, remove all the equipment , take lunch break only to find that mother nature had created two or three more potholes in the meantime. The result of all this is a road with a wide variety of holes, ridges, bumps and tire traps that, although the residents can pretty well navigate, those who are unfamiliar  with the area are quite befuddled.

Having the perfect vantage point to watch the comings and goings I have found that UPS and Fed EX drivers have the least problems ... Sears and Steinhafels have definite troubles but when a Kohler truck driver got halfway down the Lane I could see that he had his hands over his eyes (possibly weeping ). The very best day is garbage pick-up day. Although all the trash is thrown into the back of the truck a good quarter of it just tumbles back out...Maybe some combat pay is in order

Disaster has struck! The front yard of Mr. G.J. next door has several yellow flowers blooming! All in perfect alignment and all the same height. All the while my hyacinths have reproduced willy-nilly in random order and show no signs of blooming. Something underhanded is afoot here. I wonder what would happen if someone tossed a bag of walnuts in with the yellow flowers what with the squirrels hungry after the harsh winter and all.

Not that anyone would stoop so low (not with a bad leg anyway).

‘til next time.

The Village Grandma

Good News for “Wrinklies”


Hello again,

Lately, I have noticed that, quite frequently when I look down, my glasses have a tendency to fall off of my head. Quite a puzzlement, right? I mulled over this enigma for quite some time and have come to the conclusion that as one gets older, while your body continues to balloon, your head actually shrinks! All except your ears ... some scientist should really look into this phenomena right?

I think the older generation should share their wisdom with the young. Unlike some of my more secretive peers, I am more than willing to unseal information. Like old family recipes for instance.

So, here is a delicious baked breast of chicken dish you might want to try... I discovered it by sheer accident. I was going to use the usual Corn Flakes for breading  when I discovered that I was out of Corn Flakes.

Happily, I still had an old box of Grape Nuts (not the flakes mind you, the actual Grape Nuts) and dredged the chicken breasts in an egg wash followed by a generous layer of the cereal.

After baking, I removed the dish from the oven only to discover that, instead of covering the chicken in a crispy crust, the Grape Nuts had coagulated into a brown circular mass on each chicken breast, resulting in a favorite dish my family calls “Chicken Nipples”. If served with a large green salad and prune Danish for dessert you have taken care of the fiber requirements for at least a week!! 

Amusement parks have the right idea. For safety, they have height requirements. So, if you aren't tall enough you can't get on the ride. I'm thinking the same requirements should apply at the DMV. If you are shorter than your steering wheel when seated in your car you can't drive ... oh wait ... never mind.

Super news for us “wrinklies”. According to the New York Times, fashion section not only will purple be the new black for the fall season, but shades of brown will also be in vogue. Perfect for those of us with varicose veins AND age spots...

Gump has lost interest in the tube of wrapping paper ... with no new conquests on the horizon he was actually ogling his SISTER! She soon put a stop to that ... I found bits of fur strewn throughout the house and Gump looking like he lost a bout with a shredder. She is such a diva!

I found the perfect place if you need a little down time ... drive to the corner of Loomis and Grange. If you're lucky enough to arrive there at the same time the light turns red  you will have plenty of time to veg out , plan your day, read your e-mails etc. I was able to complete the Sunday NYT crossword puzzle before the light turned green!

Must run ... I see my neighbor is out sharpening his garden tools and this year I made myself a vow that my flowers would outshine his. This will be a Herculean task since every square inch of his yard has flowers on it. I plan to out-bloom him this year though with a dazzling array of ground cover, heirloom plants and — if desperation sets in — weeds. Wish me luck,,,

Til next time then,

The Village Grandma