Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.  For most of us, it's just a day off work, but for many it is a time for remembrance for days gone by.  Both my mom and my dad were veterans, Mom in the Navy and Dad in the Army in WW II.  Dad served overseas, mostly in Africa , as a truck driver in the quartermaster corps; Mom was in D.C. as a pharmacy mate.  They met after the war, and were married more than 55 years when Mom passed. I don't remember Dad saying much about his service, until he was in his 70s, when he started to try to get in contact with his old buddies, who were long since beyond reach.  But what I remember was the ungodly mess it was for them to get help at the local Veteran's Hospital.  It was always some papertrail that had gone awry.  Dad's service records were among those lost in the  fire at St. Louis.  Wikipedia "The National Personnel Records Center fire of 1973, also referred to as the 1973 National Archives fire was a fire that occurred at the United States National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in Overland, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, on July 12, 1973, striking a severe blow to the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States. NPRC, the custodian of military service records, lost approximately 16-18 million official military personnel records as a result of the fire.

That was a large part of the problems for him to get care at the VA, since he had no proof other than a Purple Heart, to show he had a service-related injury.  The burden of proof was on him, a virtual impossibility after so long.

So when I read about the horrible care that today's veterans are getting from the VA system, I have an inkling of what they are going through.  And it is a disgrace and a national shame that the veterans are treated this way, whether their injuries are life-altering or not.

So today, think a little while about what would have been the result if those men and women had not risked their lives and their well-being to do their duty to our country.  And while you think about that, consider supporting some of the organizations like Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Every little donation helps.  It's the least we can do.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "It was a sad and disappointing day when I discovered my universal remote control did not, in fact, control the universe (not even remotely).

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Past midnight

Well, here it is, another 3 am post.  I am sitting here , munching on a Heath bar and wondering what to write here.

The paving company will be here Monday or Tuesday to pave the driveway and the parking area, at last.  We put down $1000 deposit and then they never returned our calls, and the last time that happened (a long time ago) the company went under and took our $ with them.  But soon they should arrive, and we will park across the street on the basketball court, all 4 cars.  I think we are the last house on our road that doesn't have a paved driveway, but that is because we have had major problems with rain run-off flooding the garage (and the house).  But these people say they can fix that, we will see..

All the flowers have the place looking pretty spiffy.  The yard is unbelievably lush and it is all trimmed and mowed, including the back pasture.  As you come along our road toward the house, the slick and sassy horses playing up in the green green field make it look like a post card.  I'll see if I can post a photo here, lord willin' and the creek don't rise.  I haven't taken many lately.

June 2nd I am flying to south Florida for a visit with my BFF who has been ill.  I don't want to drop a lot of private information here, but I am so glad this has worked out.  This huge country of ours makes staying together with friends and family a continuous challenge, and there is only so much we can do with phone calls and notes.  Or Facebook for that matter.  Which I still don't "get".  The little I have seen it seems to be too cheerful (" you have new contacts !!") instead of saying, "there are other facebookers here that have too much time on their hands !"  I don't understand how my name hops up for them to "friend" from where I worked before retirement.  People I hardly spoke two words to when I saw them every day.  It's one of life's puzzles.

I haven't knitted much lately,although I have a couple of  works in process. I have been taking more naps in the afternoon than usual, and when I finish one I go upstairs for a while so the rest of the family won't forget my face.  But I have to restrict how many times I go up and down the stairs if I want to be able, for instance, to go to the grocery store.  All that will be do-able for a few weeks, as yesterday I got my once-every-three-months cortisone shot in my right knee.  Damn the shot hurts, but gosh, the result is immediate.  No limp!  I'm good for at least 2 1/2 moonths.  I DO NOT want a knee replacement.  Right now I want to lose weight (Heath bar not withstanding) which should help the knee too.  And I could utilize more of my closet, where the 200+ jeans and shirts languish.  Of which I can wear MAYBE 25% of them on a good day.  DD says she does the "bunny hop" to get into her tight jeans, where I am of the old school of laying down flat on the bed to zip.  My hopping days are over, I feel.  The jeans stretch out (love that spandex) after an hour or so, letting me draw deep breaths again.  The modern day equivalent of a corset, I guess.

Usually I vaccinate the horses on Memorial day weekend, but it helps a lot if I actually order the vaccines ahead of then.  More likely this will be a June effort, and it is easiest when the farrier  comes to trim their feet, with them already brushed and and in the cross ties.  The cost is far far lower than what the vet charges, I get it for $25 each and $25 dollars shipping (on ice), and it takes about 30 seconds per horse.

One of the horses has a wart-y growth in her ear.  Her dam (mother) also had one, which spontaneously resolved after months of benign neglect.  The reading I have done on the condition all agree that it is better left alone, as cutting them off, or freezing, etc. only serves to bring them back, bigger.  The sources say only take extra care when haltering or putting on a bridle(as if), as the horse becomes head-shy sometimes. I don't know how I would tell, she's been head shy since day one.  Literally.  When she was born, I watched as she got to her feet and stood up and wobbled over to mom/s milk bar.  When she was ready to lay down again, I went quietly in and did what the "horse imprinting" book suggested, touching her ears, running my hand over her, etc.  The next day she wouldn't let me touch her, hiding behind Mom.  It got worse day by day, until she had to be shipped off to a trainer's because she was so wild after weaning.  He worked miracles on her, at last I could halter her, brush her, pick out her feet, etc.  She went to him as a 3 year old to be broken to ride, and DH rode her a fair amount.  I rode her Once.  She is crazy as near as I can tell, and you watch, she will be the last to go.  Her brother, a bay,  two years older and out of a different stallion, isn't marked like a paint, but is a dream to handle.  Unless he is in pain, but I give him a pass on that (stone embedded in his foot for instance).

Well enough horse lore, I doubt anyone has read this far.  I still plan on shooting some photos to add here, so check back.  It is back to bed now.

Bumper sticker of the day:  "I've reached the age where 'happy hour' is a nap."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nighttime Ramblings

It is 12:15 am here and I am fighting off a really low feeling.  I still get these even with my 4 anti-depressants, but they go away pretty quickly as a rule.  But nighttime is the worst, I wake up from the dregs of a nightmare and there is nothing to distract me that I can do quietly except come here in my computer room.  With a stink bug, brrrr.  Still no sign of him, yet. 

I have been getting emails from my former therapist.  She moved out-of-state almost 1 year ago, and I really miss her.  She set me up with a really nice therapist, but it isn't the same, and I stopped therapy for a while, if not permanently.  The emails from H are really nice, and it is safe to say we communicate as friends rather than just therapist/client.  But nothing beats face-to-face; I don't think Skype will replace actual encounters, other than for the most superficial purposes.  Still, I may play with it, the MacBook has a built-in camera that makes me look like a plump Martian with a very wide nose.  Truth will out.

Jim Butcher has a new Dresden files book due out at the end of this month which I have pre-ordered.  I will force myself to leave it alone on my Kindle until my trip is underway, it should make the flight go faster.  There is also another Odd Thomas book out in Dec., which is a long way from now.  Unless I have the two books confused.  It will be a surprise, anyway.  I have to start my trip in Pittsburgh, about an hour's drive from here in WV.  It leaves at 4:45 pm, so I will have plenty of time for cold feet to set in.  But there is always Xanax just for this kind of anxiety. 

 This post has been written over most of the day, a little here and there.  Soon it will be dinner time and I have just finished my nap.  Oh well.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "I've taken a vow of poverty.  To annoy me, send money."

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Just two weeks until I fly to Ft. Myers to see my friend for a couple of days.  This is a busy time for us, doing all the spring maintenance and such, although having DS to help is a huge benefit.  I told DH that having the property lines surveyed, the manure pile removed, the plantings around the house, a new driveway poured, will convince the neighbors that we are moving.  But no, it is just maintenance/sprucing up and such. 

I have a great new knitting project under way, but it will take me a while to get it done.  I plan on starting it before going to FL, and taking it with me for times when my BFF needs to rest.  I bought double the amount of yarn in the directions, so I won't run out.  I would imagine it would be nice to do on the plane, but the needle/hook would probably be confiscated a security.  Like a terrorist is going to be knitting up a little pair of baby booties while he waits to, I don't know, terrorize?  " I've got knitting needles and I know how to use them!"  I guess it isn't really funny to minimize the security part of flying these days.  I'm just weird.  The time we flew to San Diego, I left my boarding pass in the gray tub along with my jacket, etc., and as a result I got the "scan the entire body" even as I pointed at the pass right there in front pf us, on the opposite side of the glass.  The people that fly all the time are so slick, whip off the shoes, computer in a pan by itself,  carry-on on the belt, I feel like I am holding up hundreds of people as I fumble along.  I am flying business class, and supposedly have an expedited security check point, we will see.  I will try my best to do what is required without feeling pressured to do it faster.  When I flew to San Diego 2 years ago, at our tiny little airport (2 gates) the security guy opened every bag and swiped them all for explosive residue.  He did it in plain sight of  all of us, on the opposite side of a glass window, If I had realized all my undies were going to be scrutinized by everyone on the plane I would have put them together in a ziplock bag.  One woman with feminine products in her suitcase was mortified.  Oh well, nothing that hasn't been seen before.

Back to bed, it is 4 am here, and writing in the blog is what I do when the insomnia strikes in the wee hours.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "If things get worse I'll have to ask you to stop helping"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

playing with ketchup

I am booked on June 2nd to fly to Florida to see my BFF.  The worst thing is, I have to fly out of Pittsburgh to get a non-stop flight, which frees me from having to change planes 3 times and be 12 hours getting there. The non-stop is a 2 hr 30 min flight, and I fly business class to assuage my claustrophobia.  Pittsburgh is about an hour's drive from here, and my plane departs at a decent time, so DH won't have to spend an entire day getting me started on my journey.  My return is June 6th, which also is my wedding anniversary, the 44th one.  Not too late in the day, so that is OK.

My DS has been a huge help around the place.  Yesterday he planted an arborvitae near the front steps.  That will make it 4 times we've planted right there.  First was honeysuckle, which grew like kudzu, and in season attracted about a million bees.  Not that I have anything against bees you understand, but having to duck under the honeysuckle vines as well as the bees kinda made it interesting for visitors.  Like Jehovah Witnesses.  Next we planted an arborvitae  and it too grew to majestic proportions and blocked the steps.  Last of all we planted an evergreen (the type stumps me now) and the whole thing browned up. dropped all of its needles and died.  So we have now planted a new arborvitae, max height 15 feet, max width 4 ft, and we planted further out from that corner.  It better live, it was a 6 ft tree, and too much $$ to let it croak. We moved another browning off evergreen to a better location, I hope that helps.  The 6 Canadian hemlocks that we bought from a guy selling them from the back of his truck, the whoe bunch for 20 bucks, freshly dug up out in the woods somewhere, have tripled or more in size and look to be on their way to true tree-dom.  Go figure

I sent off my burgundy knitting swap package Friday, and although the swap will continue, I have decide to withdraw.  It cost me around $30 each month ($10 of which was postage) and I can buy a lot of yarn with $30 a month.  It was fun at first, but colors like burgundy were hard to find.  I bought all mine online; they included a stuff sack, apron, mitt, potholders (these were hand knitted), a notebook with matching pen in burgundy ink, scissors, a travel mug with MOM written on it, and of course yarn.   I am sure it will all be useful.  And it cost too much, all my fault.

The farrier comes in June, so that will be the day the horses get vaccinated.  Assuming I remember to order the vaccines. They are 25 dollars each, plus 25 dollars shipping and last time I  didn't have the syringe on the needle tight enough and all of the vaccine sprayed out, so I had to order another dose.  But it beats having the vet do it, as long as they are otherwise healthy.  After they were trimmed and wormed (apple flavored!) we turned them loose in the upper pasture, and the farrier and his wife just stood and watched them as they kicked up their feet, galloped around tails up and snorting.  I swear they know when they have an audience.  They are 23 and 21 this year.

Gracious, this whole post is about money and how much I spent; I didn't mean to come across as so mercenary.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "As long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I am totally flexible."

Friday, May 09, 2014

Robert Bob

N's Brother died last night, and there is both sorrow and relief for N and his sister.  Grief because he will not be around to lend his humor and insight with us, and relief that he passed quietly and with no pain, after so long.  DH cannot go to KY without an 8 hour drive, but knows his back will take only so much, even sitting while DS drives.  To fly takes even longer, as the routes are anything but straight forward; for example, there are 4 plane changes.  DH turned 70 last month, and feels especially sad that his brother didn't make it that far.

This is a substitute for my bumper sticker for the day, as I am dieting and not getting anywhere.  I see my GP doctor next week.