Monday, July 16, 2007

Monotone / Monochrome

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
I’m sorry that I haven’t been blogging much. Frankly, I just haven’t felt inspired to do much of anything. I can’t seem to climb out of the funk that seems to surround me like the green muck in the pond above. I go about my day doing all my usual things with some fun outings with neighbor Kim sprinkled in, but I feel like I am just surviving and not really taking full advantage of life. I am living a monotone/monochromatic existence right now. Even Johnny needed a jump to get him going this morning for yard duty. Don’t worry about me; I’m okay, just blah and kind of numb.

Just when we thought Vaughn had started on the road to recovery, we got a call from Rick’s Mom this morning telling us that he had taken a turn for the worse last night and is now back in ICU. She was a bit muddled about what exactly the problem was, but it seems that the pneumonia is back in his lungs. Not good news at all. We just talked to him last night on the phone and he couldn’t really get enough breath to talk much to us, but at least it was something. They haven’t been able to get him up and moving much which is probably not helping things. I don’t know what the future has in store for him, but right now he could use all your positive thoughts and healing energy directed his way. Just send them in the direction of St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston, Texas.

To update on some things, we did see Doris (the bear) a week ago Saturday when my Mom was still visiting. Sailor alerted us to her presence in the yard by doing his alarm barking. Sure enough, there she was in the woods inside the fence. Rick and I stood in the yard and watched her for a few minutes. At first she did her little huffing noise at us and we took a few more steps backward, but she quickly resumed her foraging without paying us the least bit of mind. I went back into the house to get my camera and Mom, certain that she would be gone when I returned, but no. She was still there. We stood and watched as she ate and rolled around on the ground with her legs in the air for about 15 minutes. Mom couldn’t believe we were standing in the yard watching a bear so calmly! When she was finished with her dinner she went over to the fence and cllmbed back over into the woods. I did take a few fuzzy pics and I’ll include them. It was just too dark to get in-focus photos. You decide: are fuzzy photos of Doris better than none at all? When she was gone Rick went down to see what she was eating and it was the roots of the swamp cabbage. Very tasty.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

There hasn’t been any more news of our local runaway cow. Either she just hasn’t been spotted or they are too embarrassed to tell us that they’ve attempted a capture and failed yet again. I hope she and the bear are getting along alright. It would seem that she’s eluded her captors rather successfully. I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything new.

My cherry tomatoes are all coming ripe now. I like to pick them right off the vine and pop them right into my mouth. They are warm from the sun and still smell like the vine that way and at their luscious best. There are too many to eat all at once though so some have to wait to be eaten later on a salad.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

We did manage to have a night in the city on Thursday. I plan to blog about the premiere of Slow Dancing at the Lincoln Center within the next few days. In the meantime check out their web site. The camera that was used to take all the slow motion was of course from the company Rick works for. We went to the party for everyone involved in the project, from dancers to cameramen: special invitation only!

So now you’re caught up with the latest news. Thank you for all your support through these difficult weeks — it’s meant a great deal to me to know that you care!

Friday, June 08, 2007

“Split”-rail: a story of Bruno

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Our neighbors have built a beautiful stone-and-split-rail fence at the boundary of our adjoining property lines. I just love it.

We have a new bear in the neighborhood. I haven’t had the privilege of seeing him yet, but he’s been visiting neighbor Aileen for about a week now. She tells me he’s BIG. Actually, he’s not really ‘new;’ only to our yards. Luke [our resident teen who lives down the street and takes care of our cats when we’re gone and walks Kim’s dogs] has seen him before. Makes sense with all the cubs we have running around.

A few days ago around 7:15 a.m., Aileen called me to tell me he was headed our way. I held the dogs inside and ran from window to window like a little kid. Watching. Waiting. He didn’t make an appearance. Darn. Then my other neighbor, Kim, called the next night at 7:15 p.m. to tell us she just had a visit from the bear and he was now entering our front yard. We didn’t hear the phone ring, [watching TV in the other room] and didn’t pick up her message until the bear was long gone. Missed him again.

The day before yesterday the dogs were all “on alert.” It was a lovely cool day with a strong breeze blowing. I had both sliding doors in the sunroom open and they were all laying in the draft. I was sitting close by, reading. They started barking and almost went through the screen door. I told them to be quiet, but they kept on barking furiously. I got up and looked out the door. Nothing. Probably a dumb squirrel again. We went through this whole routine again about five times over the next hour or so.  Barking first in one direction, then in the other. I was getting a bit tired of this, as you can imagine, and finally I very firmly had to tell them to STOP IT! [okay, I yelled, I admit it; stomped my feet and threatened the pound] Hmpf ... fat lot of good that did, they know I’m only bluffing. A stong breeze blew through the room and they all lifted their noses and sniffed. Even the cats! It was a surreal moment. I sniffed too. I didn’t smell a thing, but they certainly did.

Okay, okay, I finally told them after another bout of barking. I will do a proper walk-around. I went into the back yard to take a look. Right. You’ve heard the expression “can’t see the forest for the trees?” Well, I can certainly relate because I can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s a jungle out there! Anyway, I walked around the back yard and to the back fence and peered into the woods. Nothing but trees.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Into the front yard. Nothing. Okay. Around to the side yard by the garage and I see something has changed.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The beautiful stone-and-split-rail fence is down. Not only down, it’s ... well ... downright split asunder!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

As much as I love the fence, BRUNO,  [yes, I named him Bruno. He had to have a name; everyone else does!] however, does not. He just decided to go right through it instead of around it or over it. I immediately felt chastened, and was sorry I had yelled at the dogs. They knew. When will I learn to trust them? When they are that adamant about barking, it must be a bear. Please help me remember that in the future. He must have come through the fence the first time they nearly went through the screen since they were pointed in that direction.

When I called neighbor Aileen to tell her that her fence was broken, she said it wasn’t the first part of the fence that he’s taken down. He took down another section a few days ago and her husband wasn’t very happy with him. No, not likely. I told her about the dogs’ reaction. A few hours later she was calling me to tell me that the dog’s were spot-on: the bear had an encounter with her husband down by their chicken yard. The bear just sauntered on by, headed in our direction [again]. Rick had just arrived home from work, so we kept the dogs in and walked to the back of the yard to see if we could spot him in the woods. No such luck. If the fence incident hadn’t happened, I’d be thinking he was a figment of Aileen’s imagination at this point.

It kind of reminds me of Jaws where the music starts and builds and you know he’s coming but you can’t see him yet: 
da ... da
da ... da
da . da
da . da
dadadadadada ...

Where will he show up [or not] next?

Only one thing. You see, it’s mating season for black bears as they mate from late May through early July, with June being the prime time. Just what we need is a BIG randy bear breaking up fences and looking for love. I, for one, plan to stay out of his path. Yoo-hooooo! ... oh, Doris ... oh, Ursa ... wherefore art thou ladies?


Friday, April 13, 2007


Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
The calendar says that spring has arrived. I think not. Our grass has greened up some with the drenching inch of rain we got yesterday, but the thermometer hovers at a chilly 39 degrees. The forsythia hedge in front of our house was ablaze with bloom this time last year when we moved in. As you can see by the photo above, the buds are there—and have been for the past week or so—but they are reluctant to pop. I can certainly understand why. It feels more like winter than it does spring.

They say another rough storm for us on Sunday with howling wind and torrential rains, then snow overnight. What? Don’t do that, I have to catch a plane to Las Vegas on Monday. Stop it—enough already! I have the pool scheduled for opening in one month. This kind of weather was not quite what I was expecting.

I didn’t expect to see the bears in my back yard last night at 7:30 p.m. either. After not seeing them for over a week I had grown lax about looking out first before letting the dogs out. Not a good plan. Two seconds after I let Daisy out she started barking furiously. That could only mean one thing: bears. I looked out to see a bear clinging to the big oak tree. Daisy was squatting to pee and barking. I called her and she came running in. I could see two other bears in the woods, so it was Ursa. I ran for the camera, but of course I was too late.

Somehow it seems normal to have bears in the yard. How strange is that? Last year when we moved here I had no expectations that we would see and come in contact with bears so often. And, I would never have thought I’d actually enjoy having bears in my yard. I would have freaked out! Now they are part of our wildlife family. I worry about them when they are not around. Silly, isn’t it?

I didn’t expect our house in Colorado to to still be on the market nearly one year later. It’s such a lovely house. I cant imagine why it’s still sitting there unsold! Very disappointing and worrisome. While we are still burdened with it, we can’t make any of the small upgrades we so want to do to this house. Please send some positive house-selling vibes our way.

As for my expectations of Las Vegas ... well ... I’m trying not to have any preconceived notions in my head about what it’s really like. I DO expect the weather to be warm and sunny (the weather map says so). I DO expect to have a great time. I DO expect to blog every day from there and bring a little Vegas to all of you. It’s Lynne—Live from Las Vegas!

I also expect spring isn’t too far away. At least I’d like to think so.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bear-ly a movie

Check out my Bear Diary for a short movie of the bear’s visit from yesterday afternoon. They haven’t been since over a week ago, so I was glad to see them.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A day in my life

It’s been an interesting day. This morning I opened the lid on the bird seed container in the garage and saw two shoe-black eyes staring back at me. A field mouse. I had not snapped the lid completely down and he had been having a feast. It’s easy getting in there, but not so easy getting out. So, I got the lid from the garbage can, put it down by him, he climbed on and as I raised his elevator, he jumped off and quickly scampered away. He and I have gone through this routine before.

The bird feeding area really needed to be cleaned up of spent sunflower shells, so I took a bucket and broom and got to work. I was pretty intent on my task and when I finally straightened up to spread the new seed, I looked over to my left and there in the driveway were Ursa, Major and Minor just observing me. Three black beary bodies all in a row. Did I panic? Heck, no. They weren’t doing anything; just standing there looking at me. I spoke softly to them, telling them that they could come and get some seed after I’d left. I went back into the garage, and they went back into the woods next to the house. I was surprised that they didn’t come to the seed right away and preferred instead to play in the woods. Maybe they wanted to be sure that the crazy woman that babbles on and on was not around anymore. After about twenty mintues they arrived for breakfast. You can see *NEW* photos here in the Bear Diary. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen them.

Then on to drop Sailor and Hailey off at the groomer’s, and on to the grocery. Have I mentioned before that I just adore our ShopRite? People shopping hum along to the oldies playing over the sound system. Wait—they’re making an announcement. It’s the store manager’s birthday (and someone else’s) so they break into the music to wish them Happy Birthday. The oldies return once again only to be interrupted by yet another birthday wish; this time from the bakery section. You gotta love it. I always find myself singing along with the oldies and don’t feel a bit out of place.

In the produce section, a sweet-looking older lady approaches me with a softly spoken “Miss?” She’s carrying a bunch of baby bananas and she asks me if I could please break the bunch in half for her. Her hands aren’t strong enough and she doesn’t want all of them. She thanks me profusely like I’d done something really wonderful. I take the other half of her banana bunch just because they look so tasty. She thanks me again. At the deli counter one of the people behind the counter is bantering back and forth with someone they know an aisle away.

On the way home just before I turn onto our street, an SUV is coming down the road out of control. They are fishtailing from one lane to the next, tires squealing. I don’t know exactly how or why they’ve lost control but I hope I can stay out of the way. All of a sudden the car veers straight off the road across my lane (not a close call for me), down the side of the road and hits a tree—hard. The speed at impact had to be 50mph or more. I sit stunned for a second, thinking what I should do. The wheels of the SUV are spinning wildly, churning up huge chunks of snow and mud. At first I’m thinking the driver is trying to back out, but then it occurs to me that the driver must not be conscious. Do I run to see if they are okay? Or do I head back down to the bottom of the hill where two police are directing traffic? I decide for the latter and speed off down the hill. The two police jump into their cars and head off in a matter of seconds with sirens blaring.

The neighbor at the end of our street is at the accident scene and the doors of the SUV are open. Good. Someone is right there to see to her (I can see it’s a woman now) and I feel good that I had the police there so quickly. I guess I could have called 911, but since the police were so close why not just get them? I told the officer what I had seen and asked him if she was okay. He said, well ... not really, but she’s alive. I didn’t stick around for the ambulance. They didn’t need another looky-loo, as by this time people from close by were starting to congregate to see what was going on.

So far the rest of the day has passed quietly. On my way home from picking up the dogs from the groomers, my neighbor was out in his driveway so I stopped to ask him about the accident. He said she was unconscious when he first opened the door, and he turned the vehicle off. We don’t really know the extent of her injuries but he did say the SUV was pretty compressed from the impact in front and they had to cut the door off in order to get her out. He said they took her by ambulance, but then airlifted her by helicopter, so she must have been pretty bad.

Now as I look out the window at 3:30 p.m., Doris is paying us a visit. She must be the laziest bear in the world—she lays down in what I call her prayer position (front feet curved inward) and just laps up seed. She’s getting a special treat as I didn’t expect another bear visit today and sprinkled some cheese popcorn out there that I had bought and didn’t like. So, both sets of bears on the same day. I guess I should be honored.

That’s enough excitement for one day I should think. Don’t you?

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
Doris says: “I’ve been praying for popcorn, and look, here it is!”


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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