?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.

More on the Renovation

I sat on the patio last night and am currently enjoying it this evening. Have watered my plants, since the sprinklers go on only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And it’s Saturday, a blistering hot Saturday at that.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the new garden “look.”

Which brings me to describing the type of gardener I am. In one word: “Surgical.”

I understand plants are entitled to a certain life span, and I try to take that into consideration when planting them in the first place. BUT if I don’t get the results I’m seeking, then they’re out of here.

There are other gardeners who take a longer view. For instance, recently I chatted with a friend who wanted to remove a couple trees that seemed to be past their prime. She worked with a tree trimmer who agreed to prune the trees in question rather than remove them. He wanted to see if they could be saved.

Perhaps they could have, but that didn’t seem to be what my friend wanted to do. But if the trimmer didn’t want to give up on the trees that she no longer wanted he could have uprooted them and taken them elsewhere for salvation.

In my world the gardens are an ever-evolving terrain. I never plant the same annuals year after year. I move bushes and plants around at will. And I don’t wait for certain seasons to prune. What I do instead is talk to each plant, observe how it’s doing in a certain location, and promise to be there for them during this summer ride.

As long as the plant does it my way.

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This summer season I had my flower gardens planted before Memorial Day. And this morning I redid some of them.

Removed the blue and pink wildflowers (which weren’t supposed to be here in the first place) and the jumbo yellowish marigolds (which were supposed to be white). I really didn’t care for either, and they were hogging the space. The errant daisies that tried to hide in the lilies came out as well.

Then I moved various geraniums and petunias to the vacated real estate and took the crimson suns from their pot bound locations to revel in additional space. The dusty miller, which originally had been rooming with the zinnias, was moved too.

I don’t know how the plants felt, but I was happier. My theme for annuals this year was mostly red and white, but it ran astray early on. I tried to live with the idea that each plant had its own beauty and I should just enjoy having the garden bloom so well.

I tried. I couldn’t.

Which meant I was less inclined to spend time weeding, watering, and deadheading. Less inclined to sit on the patio in the evening and enjoy the fruits of my labor because the fruits were the wrong color.

This afternoon I checked on the transplants and they all seemed happier in their new spots. Not one drooped. The pot bound plants seemed especially grateful. I believe they actually smiled at me. And I plan to sit on the patio this evening and commune with them.

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We Love Cartoons

S and I are animation addicts. We love the Despicable Me series, the Inside Out series, the Moana series, and every other single animated film. Well, not the transformers.

In the past week we’ve seen Inside Out 2 and Despicable Me 4. It’s fair to say we’ve also seen every previous film in each series.

What do we, senior citizens, find amusing in these movies?

Actually each has its own style. The Despicable Me series features minions, little yellow characters with blue suspender overalls that speak some unintelligible language. They are always botching the works in a funny way. It makes for nonstop mayhem in a slapstick fashion.

As for Inside Out, it’s the consummate cleverness of the scripts that hooks us in. There is less slapstick and more in-depth thought involved.

We think animated films tackle sensitive issues in an amusing way, one that appeals to both children and adults although on different wavelengths. The better animated films appeal to both audiences, which is important when you consider it’s the parents who take children to the movies. They want to be entertained, especially since they pay for the tickets.

By the way, Earl thinks animation is still called cartoons and believes Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner are major stars of the genre. I haven’t the heart to tell him it’s minions all the way.

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Wine and Cheese

Last night I attended a Wine and Cheese Party with several other women. It wasn’t like an appetizer party where everyone brings something to share. Sometimes you BYOB too. It wasn’t a sit-down dinner nor was it a dessert and coffee affair. But it was great fun.

There was an abundance of cheese: baby Swiss, Manchego, Cheddar, Mozzarella. The warm Brie on a baguette was my favorite. There was an abundance of crackers, olives, and fruit too.

Not to mention the abundance of wines. I think the object was to sample several, but I noticed everyone picked her favorite and stuck with it. I’m not a wine person, but I sipped a Riesling.

It was a ladies only event, although most of the attendees had husbands at home who either fended for themselves for supper or ate early. And what I noticed most was how freely the conversation flowed, how much the women wanted to talk.

They weren’t complaining about their husbands or whining about politics. They weren’t offering academic opinions either, although Project 202 did come up briefly. It was just a group of women who wanted to be together a couple hours and kick back.

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The Last to Know

This morning I was Zooming with my son, Buddy, who casually mentioned that McDonald’s no longer has salads on its menus.

Not that I thought McDonald’s salads were spectacular; but they had been touted by the mega-corporation as its concession to healthy eating (as long as you didn’t load dressing on top of one.)

It’s not that I didn’t believe Buddy either, but I did visit the internet to learn more about the demise of the salad at the famous chain. Turns out the Wall Street Journal reported that McDonald’s “removed salads from national menus in 2020 to help simplify restaurant operations.” Note that this coincides with the first year of the pandemic when restaurants closed indoor seating and went to curbside, delivery, and drive-through.

In 2022, AFR noted that “McDonald’s dumped its ‘healthier’ foods such as salads, fruit, and yogurt to chase profits, speed up service and shrink its menu amid staff shortages.”

Other media outlets confirmed that this strategy worked in terms of profitability, although I couldn’t find any information about how the strategy encouraged healthier eating.

So what is healthy to eat at McDonald’s?

According to registered dietician Daisy Mercer who wrote on www.myfitnesspal.com on April 18, 2024, she recommends fruit and maple oatmeal, small fries, egg McMuffin, and the 4-piece chicken McNuggets. She also recommends other items.

Given what’s going on in the world right now, eliminating salads at a fast food chain probably isn’t earth-shattering news. Still, it’s a sign of our times, and I seem to be the last to know.

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Short Story

I saw the following comment on Facebook a day or two ago, and was pleased that there is at least two of us who feel the same way.

Although I’m not quoting it exactly, the gist was “If we’re going to ask the old man to step aside in the coming election, why aren’t we asking the felon to do the same thing?”

End of story.

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Yay for the W

This afternoon Earl and I watched the first all-female broadcast for the Cubs as they played the Los Angeles Angels in Wrigley Field. While I thought the three women – Beth Mowins, Elise Menaker, and Taylor McGregor – certainly knew their baseball, some of the side banter was less interesting.  But I would say that of the usual male broadcasters too.

Apparently the sports world is slowly accepting that women can be as knowledgeable in their particular sport as men can be even if the “sport” is calling the game.

Research on the internet reveals that the NFL had its first all-female broadcast team cover a game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. The NHL did it in 2020. And the NBA did it last year. I hope there are more broadcasts to come.

Incidentally, the Cubs won 5-0, and we flew the “W” flag. Today it also stood for Women as well as for Win.

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More on Project 2025

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_2025) Project 2025 wants to make the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Commerce, and the FTC under the control of the executive branch.

It wants to abolish the Department of Education and cut the budget for the National Institutes of Health. It would cut funding to Medicare and Medicaid, reject abortion as health care, and prosecute those who do not accept this point of view.

The bottom line is that Project 2025 drastically changes the way our country behaves. Again, I urge readers to study the issue and decide for themselves if this is an appropriate blueprint for our country going forward if a Republican is elected president.

BTW, Mr. Trump has disavowed anything to do with this document. But several of his close friends are the designers of it. So what do you think?

The Declaration of Independence it is not.

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Project 2025

Suddenly Project 2025 is gaining more traction in the media. It’s a controversial document created by conservative and right-wing proponents for reshaping the United States federal government for when the next Republican nominee is elected President. It is assumed that might be Mr. Trump.

At almost one thousand pages, I’m not suggesting you read it word for word. But regardless of whether you are a conservative, a Democrat, a Green Party supporter, an Independent, a liberal, a MAGA, a regular Republican, or an I-Can’t-Vote-For-Either-Presumptive-Nominee, it’s essential that you understand this document.

For my money, the best explanation of what Project 2025 proposes to do, without being hysterical or bipartisan, is Wikipedia’s take on it. You can read it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_2025.

Heather Cox Richardson has taken up the gauntlet too, but she is quite liberal and probably would turn off those who are not. Still, whatever your political persuasion, it’s always wise to read what the other side thinks.

Briefly Project 2025 hopes to overhaul the federal government by putting most of the power in the executive branch, rather than the checks and balances of the three branches we have now. It seeks to replace 50,000 civil employees with people who are loyal to the president. It wants to eliminate education as we know it and create an authoritarian, Christian nationalist autocracy. And this is just the beginning.

Maybe you think this is ridiculous. But then, do you think it’s ridiculous that the Supreme Court granted immunity to presidential behavior. Or that it overturned existing law? Or that it decreed companies were individuals?

In this day and age, what is really ridiculous?

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Independence Day

I had thought to write about something possibly controversial for July 4, but it will wait until tomorrow. Because . . .

We have a tradition where we live of having a Fourth of July parade which consists mostly of golf carts decorated to the T, a couple convertibles, a couple bicyclists, and one woman in a scooter with her dogs. It’s been going on since the dawn of the development.

This year, as usual, Earl and I sat at our curb as spectators as the parade rolled by. There were horns and cow bells (Mostly me with the cow bell) and waves and cheers. The lead golf cart blared patriotic music. What struck me most was how many people participated.

We are an aging community. Many of our members are on walkers, have a variety of health issues, and  need professional help. Yet, for this annual celebration so many people made a supreme effort to join in. I saw neighbors I hadn’t seen in months.

After the parade, which also included a stop at a lemonade stand where you could get a spiked or unspiked beverage, we convened in the clubhouse for hot dogs with buns, baked beans, chips, and an ice cream bar.

It was tight with the number of attendees and their walkers and poles. It was noisy too. But for a few hours, all of us – mostly in our eighties and nineties – felt young.


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