Houseplants…An Addiction

I don’t think New England is the most optimal place in which to have an addiction to houseplants, but  it is where I live so…

I have always enjoyed houseplants and have always indulged myself. My husband, does not agree with me on this point, but has given up trying to have an intervention. I usually bring them outside in the summertime and when it comes time to bring them back in, they are usually bigger. He did say once “Aren’t they suppose to die in the winter” I allowed as to how if I left them outside they surely would but that was not my intention.20190913_133837

I do not have nice generous window sills or even sunny rooms in most of the house. My office faces south and it has a window on the south as well as facing west so most of my  plants are happy to stay the winter in there, the fact that my husband doesn’t frequent the room is also a bonus. The fact that my master bedroom has south facing windows and one facing north works for some plants, but I have to be careful of the placement so my husband doesn’t really notice them, I have even snuck in a small ivy plant in the master bath, this was daring on my part. I am not sure the plant is all that happy because it has not really increased in size, but it is still alive, a point in it’s favor.

I will point out that there are quite a few houseplants that I love, but well, they will not live in my house. I have tried, but their deaths are always slow and painful to watch. They look great for a few weeks then they settle in and they just languish, I don’t want to be a plant killer, but when I go into a greenhouse in January and February I want all those tropical plants and throw caution to the wind. With my outdoor gardens I am very careful to buy and cultivate plants that are suited to the place in which I choose to plant them, but when I look at houseplants I rationalize everything. Sure I have bright indirect light! I don’t even have a place to set the plant on. Plants are known to be healthy and purify the air, it sets me to wonder if the plants are doing so much to purify the air that they can’t handle it anymore and just die.

I never really thought my house was dark until I started watching houseplants slowly die in my care. I am beginning to wonder if the plants talk to each other and tell themselves that if they can just hold on until spring it will be okay. I talk to them, I spritz them, I feed them, but you can tell some of them are just humoring me.

I can grow spider plants, Pothos, Christmas Cactus, and Peace Lily with regularity and yes I have a lot of them but I would like a variety as well. I am trying to blame this all on light and environment, but I know that it is also me and the way I care for them. I either shower them with attention or forget about them. Of course, the plants that do well under these latter conditions are the ones that I have quite a few of, so do I stick with those or do I keep trying new ones.

It has been said that houseplants give off an addicting substance that makes you want more and that you will be able to grow anything you want even without a greenhouse. This type of bravado gets me into trouble, I think this year will be different, I will be the best plant parent ever, I will give classes on how to have wonderful, healthy, vigorous plants. Yeah, well, that may be a pipe dream, but what is life without dreams!

I am off to a local greenhouse, I have a coupon and a dream! Watch out plants here I come.

Posted in dreams, everyday life, houseplants, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

First blog post

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

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Plastic Free July-Try

This year is going to be a tough one for this challenge as LA from Waking up on the wrong side of 50 has so clearly pointed out in her post. I am determined to try to cut down if I can’t go plastic free totally. I can’t bring my reusable bags and produce bags to the supermarket, but then not everything needs to go in a plastic bag, like bananas(never have put them in plastic), single lemons or limes, cucumbers(I peel them), single peppers(I wash them anyway) etc. All these cut down on the awful single use plastic produce bags. I get the bagger to put all my fruit and vegetables in one bag and all my cold stuff in one or two bags depending on how much I have.

On my quest to live a lower impact lifestyle I have purchased some reusable items that I use instead of plastic. I have glass containers that I use instead of plastic to store leftovers or food items to be stored in the fridge or a cabinet. I found other uses or recycled the plastic containers. I stopped buying zip lock lunch bags to store food and bought instead Stasher Bags and I am about to buy more; they are so useful. I swear by them, not cheap at the outset, but paid for themselves in about 3 months. There are look alikes bt on the original Stasher bags will do, find them at earthhero.com. They come in so many different sizes, can go into the freezer, easy to clean and take up less room in the cupboard than all those plastic containers and lids or boxes of Ziplock bags.

I purchased (okay they are plastic) Rubbermaid fresh storage and they have been instrumental in keeping my fresh veggies fresh and not turn into science experiments in the fridge. They clean easy and come in many different sizes. It has helped my diet too because the fresh food is right in front of my face when I open the fridge. I have eaten much better. So not really applicable to Plastic Free except that I am not throwing out or composting food that came in single use plastic only to buy them again.263447760359537p__5

I have started buying bar soap again for the shower and for hand soap in all bathrooms, but not the kitchen, afraid my husband won’t go for that, yet. Body wash is mostly water and I am finishing up a very large bottle of one that I have had for a loong time.

My reusable water bottle, which I swear by because it keeps my water cold for 24 hours, is stainless steel. Yes, it does have plastic parts but they are minimal. I have stopped buying flavored seltzer as I really didn’t need it and I can always add something to my water if I want taste, really I just want it cold!2001712_contigo_autosealchill_24oz_ssmonaco_back_copy

I purchased toilet paper by subscription (whogivesacrap) and they are wrapped in paper and it is one less thing to worry about. I wanted to cut down on the plastic in my cleaning products so I have started using Blueland products, bathroom cleaner and all purpose, they send you a hard plastic container with color coded tabs to dissolve in water. No plastic involved except for the orignal reusable spray bottle. They work well and I am pleased. I have purchased dishwasher tabs that have no plastic and they didn’t work great, but I am willing to give them another try as I have a bunch to use up. I cleaned out the filter of my dishwasher so I will see if that helps. I have pretty hard water and that sometimes does affect the efficacy of things. I wanted to use Castile soap for multiple uses but it doesn’t work well with my water, will use it up for other things before replacing it.

I have reused glass jars to store things in, like small baking items that come in containers that once you open are really no good to store, like corn meal for instance. I never use enough to empty the paper bag it comes in and you need to store it in an airtight container so glass jars are put into service. I am always trying to find items that are packaged in glass rather than plastic but it can become quite the search. I am determined to do what I can.

Living everyday means using up what you have, assessing what you need, and not wasting the precious resources we have at hand.

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Posted in climate change, environment, going green, Minimal impact, plastic free, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Back To The Kitchen Table

I had shifted things around in my office, reclaimed an old desk from my son and settled in. I placed the desk facing out a window and realized that I was being a lot more productive. I went to my office to work, got things done and then went about my day. Well things happen; like summer.

I do not have air conditioning in my house, only in my bedroom and my office has one south facing and one west facing window, so even with curtains closed it was becoming unbearable up there. I was in denial when I set the office up, apparently forgetting about the sun and it’s abilities to heat that room up. I mean I live in New England and this usually is only a problem for a month or two, but in recent years it has stretched to many more months and started earlier.

I could move my office to my son’s old room which is a bit bigger and would require a complete rethink of the office altogether. I use that closet for my out of season clothes and Christmas decorations because I got sick of going up into the attic via pull down stairs(ladder) to retrieve said items. I have two twin beds in that room for guests and I don’t think they would fit in my current space, so I would need to keep one in the office, then it isn’t really an office. My taste in paint is a little different. My office is a lovely cream color and my son’s room is blue. Not sure how conducive it is for being positive.

During the non-summer months, I have a forest of houseplants in my office and they could not live in my son’s room with north facing and east facing windows. Maybe some of them, but not all. The smaller closet in my office holds my cache of office supplies so those would have to find a place. They would have to be visible, not what I wanted when I put them in the closet in the first place.

I guess I have just convinced myself that my office is a place where I can work, weather permitting. Like today for instance, it has been raining and is cloudy and cool so I guess I am safe to go back upstairs. At least I have a laptop so I can move except that my battery is shot so I need to stay plugged in, on a whole not too bad.

Maybe when my husband is back to work full time I won’t feel as if I am being watched all the time or interrupting what he is doing. Hey, I am lucky enough to have an office I know I shouldn’t complain, but I just don’t work well when the temps are in the 90’s inside!

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Mental Exhaustion

I am mentally exhausted, that is all I can figure. I can’t concentrate on things, so I jump from one small task to another. Don’t get me wrong I am functioning and getting things done, but that feels like about it.

The environment and all the government rollbacks of regulations to protect the natural world and those of us living in it worry me. I feel as if there is nothing I can do and the frustration is paralyzing. I think they even have a term for it “eco-anxiety”. I can tell you that I have a full blown case.

Covid19 is still around (as we expected it to be) and there are those out there that totally ignore the science and scream about wearing a mask, want everything back to “normal” so they can go out to eat and drink. I feel for them, but my health and that of those around me is more important. I guess that I am a rule follower to some extent and have become more cautious in my old age, I also think that maybe I have become a bit smarter and realize that people in science know more than I do. I feel for all those who need to get back to work and are frightened about losing what they have worked so hard for, but I also feel for those who work serving the public that although they are pulling in a paycheck they might be putting themselves in harms way on a daily basis so we can buy food, work with people in the health industries, cleaners, janitors, first responders etc. We are not out of the woods people.

The racial unrest in the country. It is coming to a head and again I feel hopeless, not able to make a difference. I lived through the 60’s and it was a tough time for us all but especially for Black people and it isn’t that much better now. We have made progress but not enough. When can we stop saying the person is white, black, latino, asian, native american; we are all people and we need to recognize that fact. I am so sick of people being put into certain categories. Humanity for all is needed.

I have been unable to write either this blog, or work on my personal projects, I have just lost interest. Do I have anything to say, probably, but I can’t seem to pull anything together. I don’t even find reading interesting. I haven’t picked up a book in a month. I am going to try to find a time each day to do something for me and maybe I can get out of my own head.

Posted in climate change, doing your part, downtime, environment, everyday life, grief, guilt, humanity, racial unrest, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aren’t We Better Than This?

I have been going over and over how to write this and really debating that I have the right to do so, but I needed to give voice to my feelings.

Being at the ripe old age of over 60 years old I have lived through some scary times in this country, race riots, the Vietnam war, forced school busing, presidential assassination, MLK Jr. assassination, Bobby Kennedy assassination, the Cold War and I could go on. I do know that even if I have not lived a life of luxury and wealth and things were tough at times I still benefited from white privilege. I am not afraid of living my normal life and I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be a minority in this country, but I can say at least that I have empathy.

Empathy is what we are missing, being human has been lost. It may say that all men are created equal but it appears that they are just ideals that no one expected us to live up to. I for one am ashamed of the lack of humanity. I hate to think that it was always like this but now we see it because it is being filmed. I do think the Pandemic has added to the rage, people are unemployed or forced to work in unsafe conditions, no health insurance, told to stay home with no idea of how long, and unclear leadership. This election cycle is not helping either as sides are being pitted against each other to make the others look bad.

People need to and have the right to protest, the rioting is not helping anyone and in fact is being used against those that want positive change, now they are being labeled as thugs and criminals because see what they do? I lived through a riot and I can tell you it was the scariest moment in my life, not knowing  what a mob was going to do, having to go through a wall of tear gas and seeing armed people all around you. It has been said that some of these riots are being started by people that want the protestors to look bad and this is reprehensible. I am also hearing over and over that it is a few bad apples, my god is that said over and over!

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Photo by Jacob Morch on Pexels.com

I know and admire many policemen and women who go out every day and do their job, to serve and protect, yes the bad ones are probably the exception to the rule and should not be in such a position of power. It is not our job to police the police, they are there to serve and protect the public, ALL of the public. Do departments need better screening, should it be done on a yearly basis. According to all accounts the officer in Minneapolis has had multiple complaints about him, yet he is out on the streets?

Children are not born with hatred and bigotry in the souls, it is taught. I want to live in a country where people are actually equal and live up to the ideals in our constitution, is this a pipe dream? I am trying to be optimistic and say that it will happen, but one thing I do know is that it won’t happen unless we all rise up and tell those elected and non-elected people in power that we have had it and will not take it anymore. This is not okay, we can’t wait for it to blow over this won’t go away. Colin Kapernick was just the start, you may not have agreed with his “peaceful” protest but he was holding up the mirror and most of us were just afraid to look into it knowing that what they saw was not what was right.

You can’t judge someone until you have walked in their shoes, well most of us can never really walk in the shoes of a black man being stopped by police because they thought he was in the wrong neighborhood, or that he had a hooded sweatshirt on and looked at someone wrong. When I go jogging I am not in danger of being attacked or killed or if I am in the park birdwatching and ask someone to leash their dog I am not afraid that the police will be called because I am acting in a threatening manner. I will never know that fear and uncertainty and I for one don’t want anyone to feel that way.

Please, keep talking, voting and pressing for change. We can’t go back, we shouldn’t want to go back, we need to look forward to a time when we really are equal and unafraid.

EMPATHY is more than just a word, it is a way of life.

 

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Too Much Storage?

I know it is hard to hear that too much of a good thing can be bad, especially for those who do not have the same storage capabilities that I do. Let me tell you that humans will fill a void.

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Toiletries cabinet

I have been putting off cleaning out and organizing my toiletries/medicine closet because it is behind closed doors and affects no one until they open the door. I do not have a medicine cabinet in our bathrooms, we have a vanity under each sink and I have a small glass shelf over the toilet in my bathroom that holds my daily items (tissue, face cream, cotton balls etc.), because this is a small shelf and in view I have kept things to a minimum and orderly. The vanity under the sink is a little different as it holds larger items like toilet paper rolls, water pik, mouthwash and vitamins. That is not all but you get the idea.

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Use up or toss

Okay, back to the closet. I noticed that I had purchased a few items that I already had, mostly because I couldn’t see them in the disorder. I have 2 bottles of the body lotion I use daily even though I am not even close to using up the one in the current rotation. I have multiple tubes of the toothpaste my husband uses because he asked for it and I never checked to see if it already existed in my “dental basket”. This basket contains floss, 2 different toothpaste varieties and small travel versions ( we don’t travel that much so I am going to start using the little ones up before buying any more. I have 3 sticks of my deodorant ( 1 was a 2 pack) because I knew I was running out so without checking I bought more. I should smell okay for a bit.

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How many razors does my husband need?

So as you can tell I started this not because of my hoarding, which is unintentional but because I was just too lazy to check on my supplies because the closet stressed me out, it was too crowded and had no order. I decided to start at the top with hand soaps, and nail polish. I have a glass jar that I put hand soap in when I take it out of it’s packaging. Soap lasts longer this way. Unfortunately, the soap that I buy my husband I get multi packs and they have to stay in their wrapping for now as I do not have a container for them. I moved shelf by shelf, pulling out things that needed to be tossed or that belonged elsewhere.

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Stuff to toss

I had a wire drawer type of thing that just didn’t work, so I got rid of that. I found old prescriptions from as far back as 2010! I have those bagged to bring to the police station as they collect unused pills. I felt bad getting rid of things, but knowing we would never use them and they didn’t probably work as well as they used to helped me to toss them. I won’t say that I got rid of tons of things but enough that I can now see what is in there. I am going to start labeling toiletries with the date when I start them so I know how long they last and don’t start this whole process again. Not saying that if I find things on sale I won’t buy them, though.

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Much improved even though I still have too much

So, is it the fact that I have the space to put these items behind closed doors the problem or is it the fact that I just think I know what I have and act upon it. Would I buy stuff without checking if I had less space or if it was more visible? I am trying to rationalize my habits, but maybe I am just too lazy to look.

Posted in closets, clutter, excuses, organizing, shopping, storage, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Nature vs Nurture

I was going to originally put this out on Mother’s Day, but after going over it in my mind multiple times I realized that it can’t be totally about Mothers, it gives them too much credit or blame depending on your point of view.

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I fall on both sides of this argument but for right now I am going to zoom in on Nurture. I do certain things and like/hate certain things because of how I was brought up. I love to read, both my parents liked it too, but of course my two older brothers and one older sister didn’t like to read at all ,mostly because they are dyslexic. They grew up with the same people so their experience started out the same.  My sister likes to read now so she has evolved over time, but it has nothing to do with our parents. All of us like to garden, albeit in different forms. Both my parents enjoyed gardening but differently, my mother gardened for the sake of gardening, it was the process, and my father was all about design. Cooking was a passion for both of my parents, none of us have that passion. I love to bake, but just plain cooking is just a chore for me. My sister will do anything to avoid it. She once actually cooked instant pudding because she didn’t read the box, to say the least it was not successful.

I could go through instances all day where it isn’t clear that we are all formed by our upbringing, I know full well that if you took a baby from one sector of society and plunked it down in another they would adapt to where they live. There are certainly some aspects of personality that are not formed by someone’s surrounding and I am not even going to broach those. They are innate and cannot/should not be changed. Are people born as psychopaths? Science would suggest that it is something in their brain make-up as people from all walks of life can be seriously disturbed.

Being a parent has way too many trials, I would not want to be blamed for a child that was born with a brain dis-function anymore that one who might have a disease, these are things beyond our control to some extent. That being said, do parents get to take credit when their child is a genius? I believe there are natural athletes and if they are nurtured can turn into superstars, but is that something a parent can lay claim to as the cause? Why do parents only get to take credit for the good? Some children have had the unfortunate break in life to be born to awful parents, some have risen above those circumstances and some have not. Some children have been born into wealth and privilege and have grown into greedy, selfish and self-centered people while others have gone on to great things. Do we think that everything we do as parents have an effect on our children and what they become? Well, that question would be enough to scare the crap out of people. I believe there is a reason besides the monetary issues that people are not having children or at least as many and that is because they are concerned about our uncertain futures, fear of disease and perfectionism. This last one may be just my view, but people want their children to be perfect to be a wonderful reflection on themselves as parents and to achieve great things. If I had put that much thought into what my kids would turn into I may not have become a parent.

I love my kids with all my heart, they are happy, healthy contributing members of society and all around really nice people. This was all I was really hoping for when I decided that I wanted children, maybe I was being naive and not thinking about the future enough. Maybe if I have grandchildren one of them will come up with the solution to the climate crisis or world hunger, but at least I know they will be loved, have their hobbies nurtured, their minds fed and be given the ability to work for what they want.

So Nature vs Nurture is not as cut and dried as you might think.

 

Posted in environment, everyday life, family, Mother, Parenting, perfectionism, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Subscription Services

Subscriptions used to just be for magazines and periodicals now you can have a subscription to so many things. I for one have cancelled most subscriptions except for some magazines that I read cover to cover without fail and do not like reading on my computer. If I only have the digital version it means I can’t curl up in my chair and open up to read an article or two or bring it along with me to an appointment where I know I will have a wait time (doctor’s office?). I am afraid I am pretty old school.

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I used to subscribe to those sample subscriptions as a way to try new products but I really never used it all and they were so resource wasteful. Sample sizes of things are a terrible waste, they are great for travel but since I do not travel that much they didn’t suit me at all. Even the make-up samples were not all that exciting, I ended up giving most of them away or throwing them away. Talk about wasteful. Now I know there are a ton of people who subscribe to these things like Ipsy (make-up), Birchbox(beauty products), FabFitFun( a selection of things) and even Causebox(supporting different causes?). I will admit to enjoying a couple until I realized that for me they were a monumental waste.

My daughter and husband enjoy their meal subscription service, there are many of those and they work for so many people. It encourages people to eat and cook at home and gives them balanced meals with healthy portion sizes. If you cannot get to the supermarket regularly and meal planning is not your strong suit then this type of service is probably well suited to you and your lifestyle.

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I have now just one subscription service (beside the aforementioned magazines) and that is toilet paper. I can hear you, stop giggling. I wanted to sign up for this before Covid-19 and I was put on a waiting list and was recently told I could get onto the service. I was thrilled. I am not short of toilet paper believe me, but since I had the chance I thought I would sign up. The company gives part of it’s proceeds to areas without sanitary systems so that they too can have working toilets(something we take for granted), the TP is made from recycled fibers or bamboo depending on your choice, it also makes other paper items. I don’t use paper towels much ( 1 roll every 4 months?) or tissue so I only signed on for TP. They send it out on a programmed time frame, judging by how many people are in your household and you can change the frequency if need be. I know this sounds like one of the strangest subscription you could have, but having good quality recycled paper products sent by a company that is paying it forward is the type of service I can get behind(Oops, unintended pun).

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

So if you too think it might be something you want, look up Whogivesacrap.

I know you are jealous of me and the fact that I have so much toilet paper I am stashing it all over the house, you too could be this lucky!

Posted in subscriptions, Toilet paper, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Anniversaries

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary and while this one was quite a bit difference in the “celebration” part it was nice to realize after that many years we are still together and working things out.

The whole idea of anniversaries are to celebrate something that has already happened and remember it either fondly or in a more somber tone for sad anniversaries. I try on the anniversary of my mother’s death to remember fun times or things we used to do together rather than the fact that she was gone on that day. The anniversary of 9/11 or the attack on Pearl Harbor are for remembering the lives lost, even if we personally didn’t know anyone that was killed. It is a time for reflection.

Wedding anniversaries and possibly birthdays(they are the anniversary of your birth after all) to me are times for looking ahead with hope for what is to come. You might look back on a tough year or one filled with milestones but it is more than likely you are looking to the future rather than the past.

I am all for learning from the past, but would like to concentrate on the future and what is yet to come. Especially now with health, the environment and the economy so in the forefront of the news, we need to look at what we can do, what new breakthrough is coming and how we will adjust is more important than lamenting on what has happened. What has happened is important in only the aspect of learning from it not going over and over what was done wrong. Nothing good happens from belaboring a point. Yes, people need to be held accountable, but lets find a way out first.

My husband and I toasted each other and to the future of our lives together and did not go over the bad times. It would have served no purpose, but looking forward does. Hope is a powerful tool and while there is such a thing as false hope that is not for an anniversary celebration.

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Posted in anniversaries, celebration, dreams, everyday life, family, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Front Porches

Having been watching a few more episodes of Hometown lately than usual. I do like this couple. I have been noticing that almost everyone who employs the Napiers asks for a front porch. So is this a southern thing?

I have a “farmer’s porch” on the front of my house, which was built in 1992, it is not really big enough to have more than two chairs on it and you enter the house this way. In my neighborhood, a mixture of older and newer homes(mine is the newest) I can count on one hand the houses that have a front porch of any kind.

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Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

In the late 19th century you could find front porches on homes, families would use this space to get away from the business section of their backyard, which could have had an outhouse, a vegetable garden, maybe even livestock. I can see why the porch was a necessity of life, I mean how could you relax with all that going on? An outhouse was not something that was conducive to relaxing. As communities employed sewers for residential use and outhouses became obsolete the front porch starting waning in some places.

In 1920’s to 1930’s the porch migrated to the side of the house and became sunrooms which were less public spaces. In the late 50’s and early 60’s you found front porches disappearing. People were migrating to their backyards to relax and escape. The addition of attached garages formed a wall to the street so now the backyard was fenced and a truly private space, invitation only. Was that the start of us as a society becoming more insular? You would find whole neighborhoods with houses that had a front lawn and looked nice to the passerby but they were not really welcoming.

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Now that we are all inside and crave human contact a front porch could come in handy. People could greet each other from the porch have a chat all the while being at least 6 feet away. I feel this is what people need right now. We know we are in this together, but just the acknowledgement of it isn’t enough. We are turning to social media to connect which is fantastic, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a chat from a front porch with your neighbor or someone walking their dog. You could even have them draw up a chair on the lawn while you sit on the porch and enjoy a drink.

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Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Humanity needs humans and the connection can be made in many ways while still being safe and not endangering those around you. I know city dwellers do not have this unless they have a balcony or fire escape that they can sit on, sitting on the stoop of the building is not possible right now although this was the city version of a front porch.

So if you are lucky enough to have a porch that faces the street, grab a chair, a book and a drink and set a spell. See who passes by and maybe strike up a conversation. Living everyday means not forgetting the human in humanity.

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Photo by Sunyu Kim on Pexels.com

Posted in conversation, everyday life, front porches, humanity, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Oops!

Not paying attention. Just wrote a blog post and posted it on my other blog. If you are interested it is entitled “Nap-A three letter word.

Find it on whenparkspeaks@wordpress.com

 

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