Saturday, November 10, 2018

Odds and Ends

The daughter of my cousin called to tell me that she died in an auto accident;  and to ask me if I knew contact information for her brother.  They have been estranged for a long time, I tried to reach him when our uncle and aunt died 4 years ago, no luck.  This time I really worked online to find him, and what do you know, I succeeded.  I called the daughter back last night and it went straight to voice mail.  I expect I will get a phone call today.  It is funny (peculiar) how death brings people together when any other occasion is ignored.

I have not been here in a couple of weeks, having been depressed from my lack of progress with my knee.  I still go to therapy twice a week, but the fall in October really set me back.  I was doing so well transitioning to the cane, too.  I need to get my courage back so I won't dwell on falling again.

I bought a skillet from Kitchen Collection, and the one I received was not the one I ordered.  Customer service admitted it was their fault, but their inventory lists the piece I want as discontinued.  So I want the prepaid label to send this one back and get a refund.  After several weeks I finally got the label.  They had sent it to an email that belongs to me, but which I never check, one character different from my main account.  Now to get it boxed back up, which I had put off doing until I heard from them.  There was a Kitchen Collection store at the local mall, but when three of the anchor stores closed (Sears, Elder-Beerman and Belks), they bailed too.  It was one store I really enjoyed browsing, rats.  I think they need to become an outlet mall, the nearest one is about an hour away from here, and seems to be prospering.  What a shame they folded before the Christmas buying frenzy too.  Online with Amazon for me.

My cross stitch is at a standstill for a while.  Just got frustrated with my slow progress and stopped for a while.  I will try to get back to it this weekend.  The two main projects are full of "confetti", stitching where you change colors every few stitches.  I hate it.  I have to re-thread my needle with a magnifier, I just can't see the eye of the needle otherwise.

I am just back from getting my hair done.  It is a good time to go, while university football is going on, and no one is ahead of me.  It feels good to get it out of my face and styled (which I seldom do myself).

Time for lunch, bye for now!




Friday, October 26, 2018

Well, life continues as usual

On the 23rd of October I fell in my bedroom, and it was quite a fall.  Yes, I hit the crate holding my cross stitch stuff, and broke the top slat, with my head.  I broke the ottoman trying to get to the bed.  And in the end, C had to lift me onto the bed.  He is strong!  And he came because I managed to get the phone (but not the talk-y part which fell behind the bed.)  So I dialed, but then screamed so he could hear me, which he did, thanks be.  My cell phone was, of course, laying out of reach in the charging station.  But the worst part is that I twisted my right knee and ankle somehow, and only now, 3 days later, can I get to the computer and the bathroom without help.  It is swollen so far I can't get my gripp-y socks on.  I still don't know what caused my fall.  Tripped?  slipped?  knee buckled?  It all happened so fast, I really don't know.  I think I tripped on the rug.

I am traveling under a rain cloud, I think.  I have bought online and then had to return:  a skillet, a sweater, and a tacky sweatshirt.  Thank goodness the sweatshirt was bought with PayPal, and I got a total refund.  No more made in China for me!  I have to get another mailing label to send a roll of 35 mm film to be developed because I tried to glue the first label to the mailing bag, the glue soaked through the label and made it impossible to read.  My ipsy cosmetic bag had a leaky top on one of the bottles and it leaked over everything else.  I just cleaned it up with a little rubbing alcohol, at this point I won't send anything back for a while.  I did get my new antibiotic from a pharmacy in VA which cost me $0.00  when the local CVS wanted $75 for it.  But my physician declined having my anti-neuropathy medication refilled, and so there is a phone call floating out there in space, waiting for a reply to me.  This for a drug I have been using for years, unlike the doctor herself.  What a mess.

The day before my fall I made it upstairs (13 steps) for the first time in over a year.  I bumped my butt downstairs after a few hours, but then had to get up from the floor, so not a total yeah team, yet.  No repeat performances for a while.

Time to go, thanks for reading my tales of woe.  Bye!


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Nearly Election Day

I always try to vote at early bird polls, there can be quite a line on election day and I can't stand for long periods.  They open on Wednesday.  Not much excitement this time, I will, as usual, vote for the losers.  This is coal miner land, and they LOVVVVE Trump and anyone who speaks up for fossil fuels (even though most of the mines shut down years ago), they think good times are (almost) here again.  I can't bring myself to vote for either Senate candidates, the Republican and the nearly Republican (Manchin), so I will leave that selection vacant.  And a big NO on the disguised proposition to limit abortion by undermining the ability to pay for one by poor women exclusively.  Not that I will be on the winning side there as usual.  Too bad the prop isn't one mandating support of infants and children in poor families.  And who needs Medicaid, they can just get a job (ignoring the cruelty of making someone seriously ill, who can't walk or breathe or anything else, day in and day out, try to find work.)  And no, I don't get Medicaid.

Cruelty is what this country is specializing in, children locked up away from their parents, oh hell, let's bag this.

 The weather right now is perfect for fall, cool crisp days and cold cold at night, the better to get the reds and yellows in the trees.  Next week the forecast is for SNOW, but it won't stick as the ground is too warm for now.  And I hope it won't damage the trees with its weight, bending and breaking branches and even entire trees.

I had my initial knee replacement done in June (of 17), so as to being done with therapy before the roads get bad.  However, this final knee went in Feb of 18 and therapy has continued all this time, so I will be at the mercy of the slick driveway every time we venture out.  Drat.

Thanks for reading this far, I know this isn't very jolly of a post.





Tuesday, October 09, 2018

I'm done with Christmas shopping

I can't get around well enough to brave the swarms of people who have two good legs in a department store, so online is the way to go for me.  The book for C is the last arrival, and I will have to hope it is OK inside that box because I am not tearing it apart to extract the book, then needing to find a box for wrapping.  This is going to be a different celebration.  I missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday and R's birthday in 2017 - 2018 because I was in the nursing home (or rehab place if you prefer) all that time.  So this year I insist on at least a modest celebration, with one gift for each other and no stockings.  Filling the stockings is really hard, to find some sort of small-sized gift or two, and then fill it with candy, and so forth.  So although buying a regular gift takes some pondering, it isn't impossible even if left to the last minute.  I'm pretty pleased with my selections, I hope they are OK for them.

I have paid for Long-Term Care insurance for many years -- 25 or so.  I filed a claim with them when it became apparent that Medicare and Blue cross/blue shield wasn't going to pay for everything.  Yesterday I got letters from them (MetLife) that they disallowed all the claims for a variety of reasons.  I will file a complaint with them, and if that isn't resolved, I will contact the state ombudsman.  It may all be for nothing, but I will have satisfaction in making the denial hard for them.  The decision by the ombudsman is final and binding on both sides.  It won't be fun to plow through all that paperwork yet again.  I planned to start on it today, but I was incapacitated and did not even make it to the therapy place.  Probably any phone calls I made would have gone to voicemail, because today is a holiday (Columbus Day).  No mail delivery either.  I was looking for a nice big check from MetLife, as my previous words with them were quite encouraging.  I was going to get the dead trees cut down so I won't worry everytime the wind blows hard.   I will call the financial advisor tomorrow and see what I have in liquid funds, I am not waiting until next year to remove them.  Checking online for LTC coverage, nearly everyone has had to escalate their claims to get any settlement at all, so I guess my case is not unusual.  Damn it.

I miss N terribly, especially at night like tonight, just knowing I could reach out and be in touch. It has been 2 years 5 months today.  And it doesn't get better, at least over these months.  When I read the letters from MetLife I wanted to cry, but I didn't want the kids to see me losing it.  So I had to suck it up and cry later.  "Shopping" online helps me cope, although I hold it to a bare minimum so I don't feel like an idiot, especially when I look at clothing.  I mean, where am I going to wear things?  I am at home or at therapy unless I specifically ask for somewhere, like the hair salon.  I sure would like to wear my shoes, but with the swelling in my feet it is impossible, I am in velcro closure slippers.

I still have not finished off the roll of film in the Minolta, tomorrow for sure I will finish up with cat portraits.   I haven't shot film in so long, I don't imagine these will be any great shakes, but I shall see.     Yesterday I walked up the lower half of our stairs, then outside and down the outdoor steps to the garage, my entryway into the house.  I felt pretty steady with Chris helping me.  I have had some episodes of buckling of my knee, but I don't hurry and that seems to help a lot.

I am trying to think up a humorless ending to this, but for now it will have to be this:







Thursday, October 04, 2018

Bummer

Well, sometimes my mind wanders and forgets to come back.  These last few days have not been fun; I fell in my bedroom and although I was OK it set me back a bit.  I almost fell at the therapy gym, dizzy for just a few seconds, and the therapist caught me, I think that was due to low blood sugar.  So now I make it a point to eat before we leave home.  I bravely went to the dentist on Tuesday and got my teeth cleaned.  The brave part is when I managed to get up her two steps, the first one is 8 or 9 inches high, but the one into the waiting area is only 2 or 3 inches.  I had three people to help me up that big first step.  On the way out they put down the ramp which was pretty easy to negotiate.  Chris and I will work here at home on the carpeted stairs, since the therapy gym only has two step ups to practice on.  This is so unfair.

The wreath on the front door looks great, here is a photo:
I don't think I have posted this photo before today, but if I have, pass on by.  This decoration fits between the front door and the storm door, so it is protected from the weather.  The bow is the wire-stiffened type, so I can keep it boofy, or at least I could, except that I can't actually reach the landing where the front door is. Sigh.

I have been working on my chickadee project that I plan to send to S,  hopefully for Christmas.  If I don't get it done, it will be ready for her bday in July.  I have to allow time for the framing too.  I will have it covered in Plexiglass rather than glass, so it should arrive unbroken once it is in the hands of the UPS.  I think it is looking pretty good so far.  I plan to have the UPS store pack it too.

The bookmark for H, also for Christmas is about half done, who would have thought something so small would take so long to complete.  It has around 20 different colors, really slows me down to thread my needle so many times, sometimes for only a dozen stitches.  I am really tired of it.

The black/brown outside cat has a respiratory infection, but we can't take him to a vet, we would never catch him, much less administer daily or twice daily meds.  It may well be a virus, in which case antibiotics would do no good anyway.  He is feral, after all; I have never touched him, and he tolerates C only because he is the source of the kitty chow.  I hope he recovers, C would be sad if he died, or worse yet, disappeared under the porch where we would have to pry up some of the deck to get to him.  We've had to do that before.

I got all but one of my Christmas gifts for the kids, yeah me.  I ordered them online of course, but they look fine, not like that crappy "sweatshirt" that I bought and returned.  I have yet to see a refund from them, or the one from LTD for a sweater I returned, from a defect.  No more cheap clothes online for me.  I will escalate my claim with PayPal soon if I don't hear anything in the meantime.


I am sleepy and will head back to bed.  Here is small comic:



Goodnight!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Wandering

I don't have much to say, but I'll let my thoughts wander and see what it finds.

I was wandering around looking at Lexus' used cars last evening, and an online salesperson jumped into action and wanted me to come and check out their cars.  Only, they are in New Jersey, which is a good long distance from West Virginia.  So far all they have is my email, and NOT my phone number, we get enough phone calls as it is.  And I figure I can use their prices to bring a likely local deal cheaper.  I don't know, I have never bought a car on my own, N did it all and I signed on the dotted line and drove it home.  Meanwhile, I have received 4 messages since last evening.  I guess persistence makes for eventual sales.

I am trying to get into the groove for therapy tomorrow, I have been doing exercises so I hope I won't have to struggle so much, like trying to do marches, which kills.  And at home, I do it without ankle weights, and boy their regimens with weights sure does wear me out.

I have made a start on clearing up this room, and once my storage boxes come that will accelerate.  The original plan is to clean out the attic of everything but luggage, and for that I want to get someone to do the heavy lifting.  Three piles, discard, donate, and keep (in box unit nearby).  I'm hoping the trash pile into the truck will be the biggest.  I hope we can at least make a start soon.  All the old textbooks and class notes are a goner, and then we will see.  The baby crib is for trash, it is a drop-sided one and it is illegal to sell or donate one, they are dangerous to use.  Same for the high chair, no belt to keep a toddler from sliding out under the tray.  I think there is a youth bed up there, but no grandkids to utilize it, so it goes.  And on and on.  That's a lot of back-and-forth on a drop down stair entrance.

I'm back to bed, I know this isn't a scintillating post, but I'm not feeling very sparkly at the moment.  Bye!


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Some Progress

I am actually doing a decent job in therapy now, considering that I couldn't bear any weight on my right knee for more than 4 months, and it has now been 7 months of scarcely any progress.  I have actually walked a few steps without using walker or cane, here in my bedroom.  I'm scheduled up through November with the rehab place, and hopefully I will be done before there is any snow in the offing.  I see the nephrologist in October, and I hope he/she will have something that can be done about the swelling in my legs and feet.  It would be nice to be able to wear some sort of shoe other than a slipper.

I am wearing a brand new navy shirt today, so of course the white cat wanted lap time, so now I am in desperate need of a lint brush.  One of the in-home therapists apparently disliked cats because when he came here he wouldn't put his brief case on the floor, he would hold it in his lap, and pick off the odd hair that wafted his way.  The cats aren't allowed in  my bedroom, but their hair gets tracked in anyway.  C vacuumed in there each time before the therapist came, oh well.  I can understand allergies, cat dander is probably the number one allergan, and there are circumstances like frequent travel away from home, but someone who never has had any pets seems strange to me.  Oh, I just remembered a cute story.  One of our Indian grad students said that we Americans really like our pets.  I said, why do you say that?  He said he noticed a sign on the ground floor at work that said PET scans.  This was before the days now when PET scans are done over a sore tooth, so I explained about Positron Emission Tomography, which is a mouthful, the patient could be dead by the time you got done ordering the scan.  Anyway, he was embarassed, and I was (covertly) amused.  He was the one that used the word "preponed" and when I asked what it meant, he said, the opposite of "postponed".  I assured him that wasn't a real word and he was amazed, he had used it for years.

Moving right along, it is now dinnertime so I will post this.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Success!

I was actually able to take my first shower in many months.  I use the shower chair and have to leave the door open as it won't clear my knees once I am inside.  But I managed to get in and out myself, and it felt great to be clean all over.  Big improvement over "sponge" baths.  At the therapy gym, I walked using my quad cane for the first time for this knee.  I tried it back in July of last year, but the knee wasn't working properly from the infection, and this was so much better, making me feel solid on my feet.  There is still room for improvement, I don't want to rush and fall, so the therapists cautioned me against using the cane at home for a while yet.  I am so hopeful.

I went to the hair salon yesterday and got my hair colored and cut.  So much better, not to have that fringe of white hair all around my face, making me look old and sick.  And I got it cut really short so it won't be a frizzy mess in a month.  The only bad thing is that the stylist didn't get the very back/neck area washed, and it felt gummy once I got home.  So I showered and washed my hair and the water ran red-color for a bit of time.  I'll be more forthcoming the next time about the shampoo coverage.

I think the worst of the falling-out of my hair every time I brush it is over, and some baby hair is growing back in.  I looked online for reasons for balding in women and found that, among other things, stress, antibiotics, surgery, and poor circulation are prime causes.  That pretty much sums me up for the last year.  It isn't falling out now, knock on wood.

Here's hoping the nephrologist can treat my swelling, that is the last problem to be addressed, my feet and legs are so swollen every day all day, that I can't wear any of my shoes, only slippers that velcro together over the top of my foot.  This won't be good once winter sets in.  We lost most of our summer to the rain (yesterday it was torrential, and not from Florence yet) and it looks like there will be no fall foliage with the winds and rain ripping all the leaves off before they get a chance to turn yellow and red.  I hope there won't be serious problems from Florence here ( or anywhere if possible) there are so many streams and rivers, and homes too close to them for safety.  We live on top of a ridge, up a steep road with no guard rails, and we have our sandbags ready to go at the garage door gap; but the store shelves are stripped of water and bread and t. paper, you'd think it was Armageddon.

My posts these last months haven't been their past amusing ones, and I am at a loss as to how to fix that.  My life right now and for about the last year or more isn't very conducive to humor I'm afraid.  I hope to do better as time goes on.

Here's a bit of humor...


Here's hoping everyone stay safe and dry!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Miscellaneous

It is really windy tonight, although not our share of Florence.  I hate it,  I listen to it all day and now all night, and for every creak outside I think of those 4 dead trees, one in the yard leaning toward the road and the main power line.  If I get a reimbursement from the long care insurance, I will call the company that gave us one of the estimates; not the cheapest one, and not the highest one.  The guy C spoke to was very knowledgeable, and he said the removal can wait until the next year.  But I hate dreading every twig that blows off, and one of the trees will definitely fall onto the neighbor's yard.  This is the neighbor that took down 3 trees on our property before N pointed out the property line.  One of the trees was still alive.  He hired a survey to shoot the corners of his property, and what do you know, we were right.  When we put up our livestock fence, we had to set it inside the boundary because there were so many trees right on the line, fencing would mean taking them all out.  We planted a few too, one, a Colorado Blue Spruce`tree that now, 20 years later, is a beauty.  What if he decided it was in his way when he mowed?  I would have cried.  He has a tattie old house they built with left-over building material; for example his windows are tiny trailer ones, and he used soffit to side the house, putting it in vertically and it looks very strange.  I have never seen vertical clapboard.  I'd think he would be better off working on his house than screwing around with our trees.  I haven't seen his wife in many months, I guess she is gone.  Maybe she moved to FL, where she spoke of going, when she had a garage sale.

Back to bed, more later.

The farrier came this morning, and found another abscess on the horse's left hind.  She is so gimpy from her stroke-like symptoms that the abscess didn't faze C.  I doubt I would have noticed either.  And anyway, I would have called the farrier to open it so it could drain.  It is like a sore spot under a fingernail, it hurts but you can just wait it out if necessary.  I am wondering about having her put down, if she has another stroke, or if the growth in her ear becomes huge and hurtful.  Right now she seems OK and a little sassy, so I will wait to see how she gets on.  I hate this part of pet ownership, how to balance their quality of life and the pain they are in.  If the winter is bad...

The neighbors across the road have their house listed to sell.  It was built by the same contractor as ours, and it is listed at $249,000.  I don't know what improvements have been done, it has had 4 owners since I have been inside.  C has been in, to feed their dog while the family was on vacation, and he said it looks very much like ours, except there are two steps in the hall, where they couldn't get the foundation any further down due to a huge outcropping stone under the house.  I don't think they have had any potential buyers.

I would like to get our kitchen remodeled, bigger.  I don't know how to start with someone to draw up some plans that would take the back wall further out, yet still above the master bath downstairs.  Guess I will go for the yellow pages...

I've rambled along quite a while so I will leave you with this funny:



Monday, September 03, 2018

photo film

I've been sorting through the little point and shoot digital cameras that we have.  The original one was a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W5, it has a 3X optical Zoom, 5.1 Mega Pixels, and it does take nice photos if you are close enough to the subject.  Nikon Coolpix, there are 2,  S3300 and L32.  They are 6X and 5X zooms,  no pixel stated on the outside, but a maximum of 16 M and 20M once turned on.  I like the L32 the best because it runs on AA batteries, and doesn't need recharging all the time.  My daughter loaned me her Nikon L320 which has 26X optical zoom, and 16.1 MPixels and is a very nice camera.  The lens is not changeable, the main drawback.  It runs on batteries too.  I have been enjoying all of them, as a break from stitching.

Additionally, as I was rooting through my dresser drawers for the mini tripod, I found two film cameras, a Canon Elph that is waterproof and uses APS 35 mm film, and a Minolta Talker, also 35 mm but not the fancy APS stuff.   What is even better, I found in the door of the refrigerator a whole lot of 35 mm color print film, and APS film.  The Minolta still had life in the batteries, but the Elph is dead.  I ordered the battery that the ELPH uses, it would be neat to play around in the water with it, if I eventually get mended enough to make that feasible.   The kicker is getting the film processed and printed.  I always took film to Walmart, but now they send it out, takes about a week.  I paid to get the first roll done by the Darkroom, just to have something to compare the other, cheaper, results.    I did eventually did find the tripod, too.

I have been working on the cross-stitched bookmark that I plan to give at Christmas.  I got quite a lot done yesterday, but when I switched to the next color, it was the "snow white" shade that drives me crazy when stitching on white fabric.  Also, the bookmark that I am using, I got it from Hobby Lobby, is not quite the right dimensions that the pattern calls for, so I have had to modify the motifs as I go along to make them fit the canvas.  I sure hope to get it done soon, it won't fit on the hoop so I have to use my left hand to keep the fabric taut.  Tiring.

We were visited last night by a big 'ole possum in the garage.  C doesn't want to set the have-a-heart trap tonight, but it will have to be done tomorrow night.  Possums carry all sorts of diseases, and both of our outdoor cats are ancient, and it won't take much to finish them off.  The neighbor two houses down from us never use trash cans, just bags, and when the truck comes along in the wee hours of the morning, the bags are ripped up and the owners take days to pick the trash out, which will be ripped up again the next week.  Why don't they get visiting possums?  They come into our garage to eat the cat food we leave down at night, so now we have to pick it up at bedtime.  I smelled a skunk last night too, I hope to hell that it was just passing through.  No more outdoor cats after these have gone, their food is like a smorgasbord for wild critters.  And the coon N killed three years ago was rabid.

Our liquid propane tank has been topped off and should be sufficient for the winter.  It cost around $350.00 instead of the $2000 it took when we discovered in the spring that it was completely empty.  Home maintenance is so much fun.  We will have to turn the barn hot water heater back on once we get a hard frost, so there is warm water for the mare to drink.  Which will raise our electric bill, of course.




Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Something to think about

I have another crafty thing to make, and then I maybe I can give up for a while.  I want to make needle minders, they are two magnets with a decorative design on top.  For example, if I have a keychain that is now un-keyness I can make a needle minder from the key fob by adding magnets.  When they go on a project, a magnet with "charm" is on top and magnet that is pretty on the bottom, and you're there.  I'll show you one of mine at the bottom of this post.  It is addictive to make these.

I have just gone through all my photos from the last several years, looking for likely photos to submit to Shutterstock.  My overall conclusion is that I take a lot of crappy photos; poorly composed, unfocused, etc.  From the beginning of my photographic endeavors, there are quite a few that stand out.  But the problem is that the resolution is not 4 MP or better.  Many are the size for online posting, back when too big was the problem.  It is a shame, I have taken art photography classes, photojournalism classes, nighttime city classes (in San Fran) and lots of beginners and intermediate photography classses, and all of these included extensive training on the production of black and white photos in the darkroom.  We even had a darkroom set up here in the house, for a couple of years, in the room where the computers, printer, laminator, file cabinet and so on now reside.  I didn't think that digital cameras would ever equal the quality of film cameras, so much for my predictions.   I even ran an electron microscopy lab at the medical center where the images from the electron beam met the (super fine) film.  Now even that is digital, they made the 'scopes with fittings that would take the digital information apparatus long before most labs had converted to digital.  So I need to work on sharpening up my eye and choosing viable subjects, and so far I am limited to this lower floor of the house, where I only have bedroom, bath, computer room, laundry room, and out into the garage.  Hard to do an Ansel Adams style with only a single DSLR and only one lens (Nikon) and cats as models.   And once I can walk with just a cane, the horse.  The mare is quite an image, she had a "stroke like" episode several months ago, and the main result is that her tongue hangs out the side of her mouth and she flaps it up and down, slorp slorp.  This is a big improvement over the cribbing she used to do, and easier on the wood at the pavilion.  And also it looks and sounds pretty funny.  She doesn't seem bothered by it when she eats or drinks.  And at 25 years old, there is no worry about riding and the bit being in the way.

That's it for today, I am hoping all my followers are enjoying my rambling. Bye!






Thursday, August 16, 2018

A cross stitch finish

This will be a quick post to show the finish of a cross stitch project that has been unfinished for at least 20 years.  When it surfaced a couple of months ago, I promised myself I would at last get it done, and here it is.


Nothing too complicated, but a lot of color changes for a 6" pattern.  I won't use it as a trivet, and maybe mess up the surface of the plastic, so it is just for show.  I have 3 more of the same sort of design, but for now I will work on the big projects.  I have a dozen of them lined up already.

I have been submitting photos to Shutterstock, an online source for searchable images to use in commercial designs.  The way it works, an image is submitted for review and if it meets the criteria for size, sharpness, etc. etc. it is listed under the keywords I select.  So I recently added two photos and one was accepted and one rejected for lack of sufficient sharpness.  Here are the two:



Raven is the all-black Newfy, and Maggie (Magpie) is the black and white Landseer Newfy.  The shutterstock people rejected Raven's photo because it was out of focus, and over processed.  Both photos were taken back to back, and neither had any photoshopping done. And I especially like the way Raven has her eyes cut to one side, as if she is saying "now what?"  So I think the Shutterstock reviewers don't see the difference between a fuzzy photo and a fuzzy dog.  Ah well, only one person's opinion.


Time to move ahead with my next subjects.  At least when I shoot dogs and cats and sunsets I don't have to get a model's release form.

Bye!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Memories

On the 29th of July was my mother's birthday.  This year she would have been 100.  She died when she was 80, so she has been gone 20 years.  It is hard to believe this, for me, it seems like a year or so.  She was in a nursing home for the last 4 weeks, as her caregiver (my father) was pitching a fit every time the hospice ladies came to the house, begging them to not leave him alone with her.  Since she was 6 months in hospice care, I don't know what he thought was going to take place at the end.  He wouldn't go to the nursing home until I insisted that he come on the last day, and drove him there so he couldn't change his mind.  He held her hand for no more than 15 minutes, and then wanted to go home and for me to call him when she died.  Mind you, she was awake and alert until about the last hour, so she knew what was going on.  When I called him to tell him that she died, he said, don't leave me here alone.  Say what?  So we went to get him to take him to our home, he wanted to bring the dog, but that was out of the question with my household of cats.  That worried him more than Mom's passing, go figure.

I don't know what made me drag those memories back, I ceased berating myself when Dad died, 3 years later, when he was 80.  Old news.

I went to the "old" mall a little earlier today to walk in an uncrowded place, air-conditioned and with a lot of benches.  I did OK, with 2 or 3 pauses.  I had to remember that however far I walked, I had to go back too, but C was there with me, and there was no hurry necessary.  It was the first time I had been in the center court since all the anchor stores, and then the little stores, all shut down.  It is where the early voting takes place, in the old Goodwill store.  You know a place is in trouble when even Goodwill pulls up stakes.  I saw a few other walkers, and if I went on Saturday instead of Sunday there were probably more walkers.  I raised a bit of a sweat but I had no pain to speak of.  And what if it was painful?  I still want off the walker, and I need to do more than a stroll down the driveway to get better.

The embroidery floss that came yesterday was a real shocker.  I knew there was DMC floss, and some knock-off floss made in Mexico, but somehow I missed asking about the proportion of each, and of course the DMC was only 40 percent.  I don't know what to do with the rest, I'm thinking I'll Goodwill it, someone will get to use it on a project, or the floss bracelets the girls are wearing around here.  Teach me to not jump to conclusions.

"Experience is what enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again."

I hope all of you who read this are having a peaceful day before the usual Monday madness.  Every Monday I appreciate being retired (which I did at 55) instead of having to go to work.

Although I would go back in a flash if it meant N was still alive.  I never thought he would be the first to go.

Time to wrap this up.  Thanks for reading!


Thursday, August 09, 2018

so life won't pass me by

I got a new skin/keyboard cover for my MacBook Air, and instead of the blue, I got a red, just for a change.  It looks like a new laptop, no tape sticking it on, no rough edges to worry with my fingers, no keyboard cover where all the letters aren't worn off.  All for the princely sum of $12.99.  I love my little Air.

We had a downpour yesterday afternoon, but the sandbags did their job and no water got in the garage.  We're probably the only homeowner around here to use sandbags, but the last time the rain got into the garage, then the hallway, and then into my bedroom, 3 inches deep all in about 20 minutes.  Remediation and carpet replacement, $8000.   The threshold is not level under the garage door, a gap of maybe 1/2 inch on one end, but enough to flood the entire lower house.  The price includes ripping out the buried french drain and replacing it with a large pipe, new gutters, and a very hyped sense of the weather.

I have been playing around with my tiny Nikon Coolpix camera, and found it has features I never knew about.  For instance, it has a  built-in star filter, you can use it while shooting or after on the photo.  It has settings for all sorts of conditions, like beach, fireworks, sports, snow, as well as the usual portrait, red eye, etc.  I have been entertained for several days, now if I could only get outside to use the camera...  I also found I have two of these exact cameras, oops.

The consensus of the therapists is that I need to be more challenged in the routine, so for the two sessions this week I leave with sweat dripping and legs like noodles.  Also, I need to get out and walk, even if I do it at the old mall.  I went to the CVS pharmacy where I can sit down between coming in and leaving.  The lady who has been there the most came out and gave me a hug, I guess I haven't been in there for 1 or 2 years, but they always ask about me when C comes in.

I should be getting a package in today's mail of floss.  Yes, yes, I know, MORE floss?!  But I do enjoy just holding them and sorting the colors, maybe it reminds me of kindergarten.  Or something.  Anyway, delivery today should be soon.

That's it for now, thanks for reading, and I hope you found something interesting here.  Bye!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Movin' down the highway

I never did figure out what the missing part of my blog (below) was lost, so I will start again.

The therapists did an evaluation on Wednesday, but I guess I won't know anything they deduced until next week.  The evaluator took me through the exercises I do with them twice a week, and most of the ones I do at home.  My knee was so sore the next day from being bent and twisted that I had to skip the exercises that day.  I think I am making progress, slowly.  I told the evaluator that my biggest problem is the fear that I will fall again.  Then while we were doing step-ups my knee buckled, and I was glad (weird) that she would know what I am dealing with, and why I need the walker still.  I hate when I see people coming into the waiting room, with the prominent scar of knee replacement, and they are just trotting along, doing fine (although they aren't completely OK or they wouldn't be there).  I don't take anything for granted, my ears aren't making me dizzy, my eyesight is good enough for cross stitching, I can smell the coffee perking, I can make it to the bathroom and do what is necessary.  I will never face surgery again to do anything elective, and I won't have my left knee changed unless I am dragging it down the hall behind me.

C is cleaning the stove and oven now, I don't think I can ever repay him for all he has done in the last year.  I know N bugged him about getting a job, but for now, I am his job, thank the gods.  He does get to surf the internet more than if he was working, but he is on call if I need something important.  I try not to get him down here to do trivial stuff.  And I don't care if the lawn isn't mowed as often, or trimmed, or the horse stall isn't pristine, none of that matters much.  All the critters get cared for, including vet visits, and if the neighbors think the lawn looks poor, tough. 

I have been having fun with my Echo, checking in on "Alexa" for all sorts of things.  I have to ask for info in a specific way, or I will get her confused.  For instance, I take Cozaar, and when I started it, I couldn't remember what it was for; there are so many of them.  So I asked Alexa what it was, and the answer was a place in Africa(?) i forget now.  But when I asked for "drug information"  she came back with the answer, blood pressure medicine.  If I need it, I can specify Wikipedia, a powerful ability right there.  I haven't been able to use it for simple things like turning a light off and on, but I think the 2nd generation Echos can do that with a simple bluetooth (?) connection.  I got a smile when the home therapist said it was "creepy", after all, he voted for trump, so he must be a little off, don't you think?  Now I need to figure out what to do with hundreds of CDs, since I only have to specify the title and artist to listen to whatever I want.  Or for ambient noise of an ocean, waterfall, and so on.  I don't even have a CD player, outside of the computer (but not the MacBook Air, who doesn't have a drive).  It's all fun.

I have been reading on my Kindle, mainly the Dean Koontz Jane (?) hero books, of which there are currently 4.  She is an FBI agent who has stumbled onto a vast conspiracy to rework the minds of citizens that will make them automatons.  It is pretty different from his previous books, I just wish he could continue with the Christopher Snow books, at least one more to tie up loose ends.  Still, he did finish the Odd Thomas series, so maybe there is still a possibility.

OK, I've tidied up my own loose end so I will quit for now.  Thanks for reading this, I appreciate all of you. 
Loose ends.




Thursday, July 26, 2018

translation, please

OK, I can understand a fair amount of the cross stitch lingo, but some of it may as well be greek.  For example, FQ is fat quarter, but what is it a Q of?  I can't find what FQ, or HQ, or full quarter means either.  I bought a fat quarter and it came Friday, and it isn't big enough for a Mirabilia that is 20" by 36".  And it is lovely too.  My project would fit with very short edges, but I don't know if I would still be able to frame it with so little of a margin.

On to the translation:

"Floss" and not "thread".  It comes (usually) in skeins, either a solid color, variegated, overdyed, hand dyed and so forth.  8 or 9 yards per skein and each length of floss is made up of 6 single strands.  To use, cut the length needed (maybe 30 inches or so ) and separate the strands and use the number of strands called for in the pattern instructions to thread your needle.

TIA means thanks in advance, when one is asking for a favor, information, and so forth.

ISO means In Search Of

2 over 2 means two threads of floss stitched over 2 holes, making 32 into 16 stitches per inch.  The same follows for the other stitch parameters.

Lugana, Jobelan, Aida, linen etc. is the type of fabric, and usually, they follow the stitches per inch for that type.  For example Aida typically comes in 14 or 18 count where linen is usually in 28, or 32 count.  This latter type is for young stitchers without vision problems, and not for all of we old nearsighted stitchers.

 ORT refers to any container used to dispose of scraps of floss, makes a nice colorful nest of floss, what would it be used for?  I dunno.  "Ort" is used for any leftovers, i.e. the rich would have a servant carry leftover bread, roast meat, and so on, out to the hungry folks waiting.   You would know this if you do crossword puzzles.

No one but the very young or beginning stitcher would hand-hold a project to stitch.  Most would use a hoop (two circles of wood holding the fabric between them) or Q-Snaps (4 pieces of PVC in a square or rectangle that the fabric is stretched over and fastened) or a roll-type that allows the fabric to be advanced as it is stitched.

Lowery, Landis, and other sorts of stands that are on the floor, or held by sitting on them, so that both hands are free to stitch.  There are quite a few of these stands, depending on what the project is on, hoop, roll frame, q snap and so on.  You can usually figure out the meaning even if you don't know exactly what the stand is.

LNS is Local Needlework Shop, a brick-and-mortar store.  Some of them sell online too.

Frog means to tear out stitches that are wrong (rip-it, rip-it)

SAL is a Stitch A Long, an organizer or designer will release part of a project monthly, for instance.  You don't know what the final result will be until the end segment is released.  Lots of stitchers working on the same design.

HAED is short for  Heaven and Earth Designs, this is usually a full-coverage design (no part of the fabric is visible).  Typical images are angels, pixies, and so forth.

Mirabilia and some other brands like Lavendar and Lace are also full-coverage designs (none of the fabric itself is visible), often women wearing elaborate costumes, mermaids, angels, pixies, etc.  There are a lot of patterns for seasonal themes, Christmas and Hallowe'en being the most popular themes.  As you might guess, they take a long time to stitch.

Samplers are patterns that usually include the alphabet, numbers 1 to 10, the name of the stitcher, the date, and a whole lot more of things.  They are very popular, and many are models that are inspired by vintage samplers found in museums.

FFO means a full-finished object, framed project or pillow, afghan, etc.

FO means it is finished but needs to be made into its final form.

If you are puzzled by seeing on a post on youtube the single word "bump" it refers to a method to move your post up in the roster of newer posts.  It is short for "bring my post up"

UFO is an unfinished object, but it designates a project that is stuffed into a drawer and not stitched upon now if ever again.

OOP is short for Out Of Print or Production for a pattern, usually used when a stitcher is trying to sell a pattern.  This could be used on virtually any design/pattern because there are so many patterns available, and designers continue to produce more,.  Once released for sale, buy it if you are willing to pay full price.  There are scads of unused old patterns and kits that sell for as little as $1, up to hundreds of dollars for ones that are scarce or desirable.  There again, you can join a facebook group where everything cross stitch is for sale.

Haul is a general term for cross stitch stuff you have bought.

WIP is Work in Progress, anywhere from one to dozens, depending on the stitcher.

BNNU is a fairly new description, and stands for brand new never used.  this strikes me as redundant.

Stash is all of your materials, kits, fabric, floss, patterns, etc.  Usually far too much on hand.

DMC is floss of that brand, made in France, in 450+ colors.  There are other brands of floss, including hand dyed flosses, but DMC is the most popular.

Needleminders are magnets in fanciful images that fasten to a WIP to hold a resting needle.

"Kitting" means pulling from your stash all the materials (floss, fabric, needles, pattern) needed to tackle a pattern.  A kit has all that is needed ready for the project and costs more than the pattern alone.

Flosstube is the term used to designate facebook (or how-tos on youTube) videos about cross stitching, there are several hundred stitchers who regularly contribute to these, although many of the groups require that you "join" to be able to read posts.  You can find them using Google.

One of the groups on Flosstube is "Cross stitch Maynia"  which refers to the month of May during which one project is started for each of the first 15 days, or for the whole month.  You'd need to be really compulsive to participate.

Just recently you may see patterns that say "diamond painted" or refer to "drills".  This is a new hobby that has vivid subjects, found along with usual cross stitch patterns.  They are NOT (ask me how I know) cross stitch, but a method similar to paint-by-number and mosaic melded together.  The tiny bits are called drills (don't know why)  and they take a pretty long time to put in place with wax.

There are oodles more terms, I will add them to this post as I think of them.




Wednesday, July 25, 2018

4:30 am

It is early now, and I am not even drowsy so it is useless to go back to bed right now.  I thought I would try to get something done here to try to keep it from going weeks and weeks without an update, for all my steadfast readers.

My bedroom is a wreck now, but I can't do much about it until I can bid my walker goodbye, as it takes two hands to support myself, leaving me zero hands to carry my untidy bits to where they belong.  I will try to get C to help me, although he already does so much now, cooking, shopping, helping get things ready for washing and shampooing me, taking care of all the cats and the horse,  laundry, keeping me on-track with my meds, taking me every time to my therapy and doctor appointments, and on and on.  So I feel guilty asking for more.  My daughter does diddly, and will go for days without coming downstairs to see me, unless I phone her for a specific reason, like polishing my toenails.  She does work, but when she doesn't work she could give C a little assistance.


My macAir crashed and took the last half of this post.  Sorry!  I will try again later to re-do this, and Publish this incomplete version for now.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Catching Up

I saw my psych doctor today, visits to her always wear me out.  She changed some of my meds (as per usual) and gave me the name of a new therapist.  I haven't decided what I will do about that, but I know it will have to wait until I see my bone doctor and get his answers I need about my knee.  Only so much I can deal with at a time.

I can't believe what a traitorous total jerk Trump has turned out to be.  What is worse is that while his supporters are keeping silent right now (mostly) I know damn well they will re-elect him in 2020, I have to think they are impressed? envious? deceived? of Trump's wealth, as he doesn't have much else going for him.  And until we see his tax returns (if ever) I'm not so sure he really is wealthy.  That he carries a ton of debt I am sure.  I try not to read national news because it is so discouraging.

I have been submitting photos to Shutterstock for a few weeks now, but most of my favorite photos were taken before the digital age for cameras and thus are too small (Mpixels) to be of use.  I dug my Nikon D40 out and I will take on "documenting" this room, since it is all the access I have now.  Oh, and about documents that are model releases for any photo of a recognizable face, I did not realize it also pertained to private structures (homes) that are recognizable as well. Oh well, lots of other things to shoot.  I plan on using real close-ups in here, so no one can see what a total disaster the room really is now.

I will probably not continue adding terms about cross-stitch to my post below this one.  I will just bump it up from time to time so the stitchers can find it without trawling through dozens of posts.  Some of what I have thought of to add, really need videos to demonstrate rather than just definitions.  I'm not set up to do that, and others have done it many times already.

I'm ready to crash for the day, hope all of my readers find something in all of this to entertain themselves.  Bye!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

My Bad

Well, I broke my long-standing rule, which is, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".  I downloaded a program called MacKeeper, supposedly to clean my MacAir and speed it up.  And of course, it was a Trojan Horse spyware,.  The only thing I did right is that I didn't "buy" the program, so I didn't give away my credit card info, dumb me.  It took C about 30 minutes to get the program erased and install Malwarebytes, which is what I was running before it expired.  All seems OK now, it hasn't put in an appearance since he did all that.  I am so dumb.  I bought two years of coverage.  One time I received a phone call from a scammer, and after I was told how my computer was hacked, they could fix it, etc., I asked if they had ever heard of Malwarebytes, and "click" they were gone.   I was reading a bunch of posts on Facebook, telling how they get rid of calls from scammers, and One lady said, she answered the phone with "Sheriff's Office, Fraud Division" and they hung up and deleted her number from the call-back list.  Worth a try...



Friday, July 06, 2018

I'm a little slow getting this done...

OK, so every time I update the translation page I will re-release on that day's date, and that will keep it on top until the next post.  I think.

We had a fierce thunderstorm last night and lost power for several hours.  I was in my stitchy-spot sorting floss, which you can't do by candlelight.  I am going to keep a candle burning anytime there is a prediction of t-storms at or near nightfall.  C came and helped me find my flashlight, so I could move around in the room,  and more importantly, in the bathroom.   I once had a flashlight that blinked a little red light all the time so it could be found in the dark, but all it ever did for me was burn up the batteries.  After the replacement of dozens of batteries, I pitched it.  I use candles on the mantelpiece very frequently, so it isn't unusual to keep one burning through the night.

I had a therapy appointment yesterday, and as I have come to expect, I am so stiff today I can't move around without pain.  I guess I am progressing, I did a single step up, a huge task, holding onto the half-wall and the therapist's hand to do it.  There are 13 steps here to get to the kitchen, LR, dining room,  and the other bedrooms and bathrooms.  I hope they are getting cleaned, and that my plants haven't all croaked in the dining room.  Not much I can do, I try not to be a nag for everything I want done.  It will all be OK in the long run.
My keyboard is consistently missing the letter "n" it is a real nuisance to correct.  And the auto-correct isn't working either, so I will end here.  Take care!