Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Back to the ordinary

The days immediately after Christmas are a let-down, don't you think?  Unless you have relatives still in the house, or the odd kid who needed an extra day of vacation.  Here the schools are closed until Jan 3rd, since Jan 1 is on a Sunday and therefore Jan 2nd is a holiday.  For us, it was a day of cleaning, laundry (as always), gutter cleaning, kitchen duty, and so on.  I was ill last night and traded dinner for an early bedtime.  I feel OK now, too much rich food that I am not used to, so it was back to housekeeping.  All except the gutter work, I don't do ladder work. 

I got a nice gift a day early, a book called "Field notes from Grief:  The First Year" sent by a friend.  I need to go to see a therapist; I am having terrible terrible nightmares, the kind where you can't distinguish between asleep and awake. I get them whether I take a sleeping pill or not; and waking up several times a night doesn't help either.  I spent one night on the living room couch, just to keep from picking up the nightmare from where it left off.  I did some calling around, but the problem is Medicare; not all therapists take it, even though I have an excellent secondary coverage.  And some weren't accepting new clients.  If this next one can't help me then I will give up.  If I can just continue through the new year...

The T-shirt I got for C says, "Don't blame me, I voted for Bill and Opus"  and there is a cartoon of Bill the cat and Opus the penguin.  None of which is understandable unless you've been a fan of Bloom County, which has only recently been back in publication.  I also got C the latest book of Bloom County,  a pokemon pikachu jump drive, and an agate wind-chime made of really lovely geodes that make a musical sound.  He is so hard to buy for.  R got boots, a sweater, an emoji bracelet, and a necklace.   I am not convinced that the boots fit her.  She always says (whatever the gift) it's fine! and then half the time puts them in her closet or dresser and are never seen again.  A big waste.  These are from Zappo's, so the return is free, maybe she wants a larger size, or brown instead of black, no problem, so long as the boots are as new.  Sigh.  Kids, irregardless of their age.

So I hope everyone had a fun relaxing day, and that everyone is safe and sound.  A New Year  coming, maybe make some resolutions?  Or just continue with ones made before now.  Anyway...

Friday, December 23, 2016

The shopping it is Over

Initially, when son, daughter, and I were discussing Christmas this year, we said, no big decorations,  the usual steak for dinner, no gifts.  But as the time grew closer, I decided a few small things for them were OK, and things have escalated.  I now have several gifts for each of them, and I hope they like them.  That is the best part of christmas for me, seeing how the recipient enjoys their gifts.  It was all the internet for me, and I never did make it to the mall.  Today we went to walmart to pick up a few things for dinner and my god! the crowds!  And they weren't very nice either.  I saw one woman, messing with her phone, drop a credit card just after leaving the register.  I said, excuse me ma'am I think you dropped a card.  She gave me the biggest smile as she picked it up, so I guess all is not lost in the Christmas spirit.

i am missing N more now than previously.  I have been getting cards from people all over the country who did not know that N had passed away.  So as I write cards to them, I am telling them the bare bones of his illness, and it is hard to do it without making it sound too bleak.  And each telling makes me a little more sad.

Well, time to rustle up some dinner, here is today's cartoon:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cross Stitch

Cross stitching and machine knitting are the two main crafts that I do more or less constantly.  The knitting has to go on hold until my right shoulder mends a bit.  I use a magnifying glass that hangs around my neck - maybe you have seen them? for the cross stitch, so I can put my arms down further, and not be peering at the fabric.  It is lighted too.  One by one all my bits are falling apart, it seems like.  I can't figure out what to do with the stitched pieces, I usually frame them (have them framed) but where will I hang them?  It seems like every bit of wall is already occupied.  Maybe I will rotate them, that will also make me see them anew.  After they are completed I usually am sick to death of the sight of them.  I also try not to begin a new project when the old one isn't completed, the knitting people call them UFOs (Un Finished Objects) but unlike hand knitting, using machines means I can't readily start a new item because the old one is hanging on the machine, taunting me. 

I am having the devil of a time with an eBay seller in Beijing.  I bought a winter coat, very lovely, but about 5 sizes too small.  The listing explained that Chinese sizes are different from our sizes, so to be safe I ordered the largest size they make, supposedly a US size 3X (Chinese 5X).  The coat was about a size 12 I think.  So, with regret, I returned it.  $60 in postage, custom forms, etc.  The seller says the coat "never arrived" and ebay confirmed that they are not obligated to return my item price (I would still be out the shipping to and fro).  I have opened a case with the USPS because the coat was insured, but I don't know how that will work out.  I should have donated the coat to charity.  Damn.  My advice:  don't buy from China, many packages routinely "get lost" and how do you prove that you did not receive it, or that they actually got the return?  And they will get bad feedback from me anyway.  I have NEVER given bad feedback, and I have 100% positives and glowing comments from all 600+ sellers from whom I have bought, over the years from 2005.  Damn it.

 Well, enough sour grapes for this post.  I hope all my readers, casual or following me, have a safe trip to the family gatherings, and that all the gifts DO NOT have to be returned!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Getting closer

It is 12 days until Christmas.  Aren't I supposed to get a partridge in a pear tree today?  I've always hated that song, it goes on and on and if you can remember the "lords a leaping" and the rest, you're spending WAAAY too much time listening to the radio this month.  And partridges are very messy birds, also.  I'm not sure about how tidy eight maids a-milking would be, cows being non- housebroken and all.  Anyway...

I got t-shirt number three yesterday, two white ones in two different sizes, and one black one, a ladies black one, all with the same logo on them.  I'll show the shirt(s) after Christmas, as I don't want to give it away yet.  Anyhow, I am clearly not proficient in on-line shopping yet.  Yet.  Practice makes perfect, yes?

Also, I opened a package that was addressed to our neighbor, it was from China and I had a correct package from there too that day.  Oops.  We get a lot of mis-directed mail, it hasn't been a problem until lately.  I hope all our mail isn't suffering the same fate.  Some of it is very important, like the check for $$$$ from a class-action lawsuit of ten years ago.  Can you believe they just poke a check in an envelope and drop it in the mailbox, no confirmed delivery, no signature needed, no insurance?  I sure hope ours is on its way without a glitch.

I was selected by the Nielsen TV group to participate in a survey about TV watching a few weeks ago.  I ordinarily pitch such mail unopened, but this time I opened it and money floated out.  It was followed, over the next week with two more dead presidents.  I'll do their surveys anytime now.   At one time I was part of a consumer survey group, and sometimes I received products ( like shampoo, bug spray, laundry detergent, and paper towels) to test.  Sometime in there I was dropped as a tester, probably skipped too many products.  I remember one where I had to keep track of how many loads of laundry I did in a month, and I was surprised at how many there were, 50 or so I think.  Four of us then, even so that is a lot. 

Did you ever hear a piece of folk superstition regarding New Year's Day?  I had a friend in the 60s who was appalled when I told her I was doing laundry on that day.  She said, 'oh no, someone in your family will be washed away (die) that year'!  I don't know where that started, she was a Georgia farm girl before moving to south Florida, so maybe that was the source.  Superstitions are always fun to hear, but now I count on www.snopes.com  to get the lowdown on dubious tales.  Some of the ones floating around on the 'net are really old, but still believed by a lot of people.  Tales of dying children that want postcards sent; chances to win a great prize if you forward an email to 20 of your friends (that used to be called chain letters, before the net), and so on.  Snopes is a great source for quashing the false rumors, or even validating the ones that are true (not very many, I notice).  It is fun to check out their web pages once in a while.

Oops, the load in the washer is done, time to load the dryer.  Take care these next 12 days especially, lots of maniacs on the road this time of the year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas in 15 days...

I have finally gotten all the stuff I ordered, so other than wrapping, I'm ready to go.  Well, there is one sweater that is due Dec. 23, but that's OK.  It still feels like N should be here, doing all the outside decor and more of the tree trimming, but I just don't have the heart to do it.  It will even be strange on Christmas morning, as he was the one who handed out the gifts, one at a time so we could see how everyone liked the choices that were made.  He was also the chef for the steak and trimmings that is our traditional menu.  None of us have actually ever cooked steaks.  So, a little anticipation there.  Given what steak costs, it is to be hoped that it turns out great.

I was thinking the other day about blogs that don't exist anymore.  Back when I started, way back in 2004, I remember one blog supposedly written by a British call girl that was quite amusing.  She stopped writing because she got an offer to put her musings into a book.  Supposedly.  I don't remember her name or the name of the blog, so I can't google to get the whole story.  There were others; most only lasted a few months, for whatever reason, perhaps just boredom and failing to come up with things to write about.  I, of course, have never been at a loss for words, a factoid that was frequently found on my report cards many many years ago.  No point in trying to change now, is there?

If my sister was still alive, she would have been 70 in March.  She's been gone for 12 years.  When she was alive, it was a crisis a day, and I was supposed to mediate whomever she had pissed off.  It got really really old.

She was the first of all our relatives to go, due to a fall.  Now there is no one left except me and 3 cousins (out of eight) that I haven't seen more than once in the last 20 years.  All the earlier generation has been gone years too.  It makes Christmas a little bleak, and maybe we try too hard to be jolly.   Ho?  Ho?   Ho?  Hello?  But it is what it is.

Definition for the day:  "OCD : Obsessive Cat Disorder."  (We have 6)

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Cold and windy

We are truly getting a taste of winter today.  R left to go to work, then came back in for a warmer coat, a hat, and gloves.  Brrr.

I ordered my xmas presents in what I thought was ample time to get here before the big day.  But I still haven't received most of them, and I am getting annoyed.  In one case, the present is not available until February!  Why advertise it on your web page when it isn't available until months later?  Which, I should point out, wasn't revealed until the purchase was complete.

For one item, it was attempted for delivery yesterday "unsuccessfully".  We were home at 4 pm, and checked the mail right away - nothing.  At 5 pm C checked again, and this time there was a pkg., but not the one that is to be redelivered.   I did get 2 copies of Consumer Reports, the extra for someone I don't know at an address I've never heard of.  If that pkg. was OK to put in the box, why isn't this one?  Anyway, we will be here all day today, so no excuses.

I am making slow progress on the cross-stitch which I started years ago.  I am determined to finish it and get it into the trivet case, however long it takes.  Before I start another, I want to see how the "Red line " product works to grid the canvas and makes stitching go faster.  It  hasn't arrived yet either.

OK here is the photo of the living room and the dining room, actually taken before the Great Flood in July:

Things are not quite in the same place now, but you can guess what havoc all the "stuff" from downstairs (where my bedroom is) made on this area.  All that, plus in the garage for the furniture.  The room had to be stripped to the walls for the carpet guys to do their thing; afterwards I offered them (2 of them) a tip for the very good job they did, but neither one would take it.  I couldn't figure out any way to tuck it into their tool boxes, etc.  So when I went to get my hair done (see the post below) I tipped the beautician $20 and I thought she would pass out.  It is a little place, no appt. taken, if you want a particular stylist there is an extra charge, etc.  But I think of it as "paying it forward".  The rest will go in the kettles of the Sally Army.  They have an anonymous donor that puts a $1000 bill in a kettle every year (the specific kettle is revealed to the main Army ahead of the time), isn't that neat?  I wish I could afford that too.  Donations have been going down every year as more people are unemployed.  But of course DT is going to fix all of that, restore the coal mines that are closed, put all the coal miners back to work, happy days will be here again.  Right?

 T shirt for the day:  "I've finally reached the wonder years!  Wonder where my car is parked?  Wonder where I left my glasses?  Wonder where I left my phone?  Wonder what day it is?"

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

RED head

I got my hair colored, cut, and styled today.  I have worn it red for many years, and when my hair grew back after chemotherapy it was gray.  Very gray.  It made me feel old and sick.  It took many treatments and haircuts to get back to red, maybe 4 boxes of color.  It didn't look very even but it was an improvement over orange.  Anyway, I haven't had anything done with it for many months, 7?  9?
but when I described how I wanted it to look today, it came out a little,...er...vivid.  I can't think of a description, but it is OK with me.  I mean, other than brushing my teeth, I really don't see myself in a mirror too many times a day.  And this answers the question, "Are you a natural redhead?" without saying a word.  NO, my hair grew out looking like this...

I have been doing some cross stitch on a project I started a looong time ago.   I made an error back in the beginning, had to rip it all back, and it put me off doing more.  I should have just set this project aside and started something I could be enthusiastic about, but I didn't.  I have started this up because I can't use my knitting machines; the ortho doc says I have a torn rotator cuff in  my right shoulder.  I can't say I really know what that is, I think it sounds like something wrong with my car. (Sorry ma'am but you need brake pads and new rotator cuffs)  but what I do know is that sliding back and forth with my hands on the carriage sends hot daggers of pain from my shoulder all the way to my hand.  I regard this as just another page in my disaster journal.  The doctor said I need physical therapy, but I am not going to set up weekly or biweekly PT visits in the winter.  Our road never gets plowed, and being on a ridge means we get a lot more snow than our share.  So he gave me home therapy exercises to do, which I haven't actually looked at yet.  But I will.  I'm sure.  But I wonder why not go with rest (no vacuuming ya hoo) instead, to give it time to heal.  I have only seen this doctor once before, and all he really wanted to do was give me a cortisone shot and call it a day.  Instead I suggested that having an actual diagnosis might be handy, down the road, so he sent me for an MRI.  If you have never had one, count yourself lucky.  I kept my eyes completely shut the entire time, so my claustrophobia wouldn't send me over the edge in that very tiny tunnel.  If I ever need another I'm bringing my sleep mask.
I am finding that even cross-stitch is messing up my arm and hand, after a short while stitching my right hand goes numb and I have to stop for several hours at least.

Our Christmas tree is up.  I bought a little pre-lit 4 foot tree, we pulled it out of the box and plugged it in and viola! instant holiday decor.  Maybe I'll see about some other decorations, but if not, it still looks nice.  Our big tree is in the storage unit, along with all the decorations, and getting  it out sounds like way too  much effort these days.
We bought a bow for the tree topper for the tree, it looks great.  That is our sole acknowledgment of the season, so far.  Maybe a wreath on the door is next.
I hope all of you enjoy your decorations, baking, shopping, wrapping, sending cards, and on and on.  Written out like that sounds like too much work, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Before and After

 This is what my bedroom looked like in August after clearing out the salvaged stuff, and the water damaged stuff to the trash (like the carpet).

This is what it looks like today, cluttered but comfortable.  And dry.

Happy Thanksgiving!  We are doing a scaled down dinner tonight.  One neighbor brought us stuffing, and another neighbor asked for a cup of flour.  It is a good thing she didn't want a more exotic ingredient (like tapioca) since I need to go grocery shopping with Chris and do a resupply of all the odd things.  But the pie is in the oven and smells heavenly, and the bird will go in next (a boneless turkey breast) and then the last 30 minutes will be the usual pandemonium.  I remember the prep we had to do 20 years ago (has it been that long!?!) when we typically had around 17 at the table.  Several tables.  I would be so beat by the time it all hit the table (buffet type) I wasn't even hungry.  But I never had to worry about leftovers because I made up a carry-home plate for every one and that pretty much took care of it all.  I miss seeing all those who have died over the years, but I don't miss the work it took to prep it all.  My mom was a big help in those days, but N sat in the living room visiting unless I called him.  Anyway, today is today, and who would have thought N would die when he had never been sick at all over the years we were married (45).

Time to get back to the kitchen, hope all of you have a safe and enjoyable holiday, with food, parades, football and all.  And family and loved ones most of all.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Grieving in my own way

The 10th of November marked six months since my husband died.  I hate using "passed" and other euphemisms for dying, but the straightforward 'died' seems to startle conversations when the subject comes up.  Ah well, this too will pass.  The main change in my behavior is that I am ordering tons of stuff on Amazon and winning items on eBay.   When N was alive, he made remarks like "what, another package?" and I felt like I had to defend every little thing I bought.  And they were universally cheap things (under $25, some less than $10) and even though he kept the accounts paid up without stress.  Now that he is gone, I have nothing to rein in my purchases, and I have used that freedom a lot.  50 orders in the last 6 months.  I always called it "retail therapy"  and in the past I would physically go shopping at the mall, etc.  Now that I can't safely drive myself ( neuropathy in my feet, it is impossible to feel the pedals) it is all done online.  I want it to be like Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons, when he puts an order in his mailbox and the immediately the item is delivered.  The impact is missing, because the order might be something non-exciting, like new ink cartridges for the printer (which cost the earth), etc.   My son is disapproving when he collects the mail now too, but what can he say?  It is my $$$ now.  Even the mailman is disapproving, he put a flyer in our box for how to order the new larger mailbox.  I duly ordered it ( and when it arrived, it was hand delivered to the house because it obviously didn't fit in the box).  So I put the name and box number on the box, and when my son took it out to switch them, he found that although the new box is wider and taller, it is 8 inches or so shorter.  Not helpful at all.  So it went into the garage to be used if the current box is flattened  (like in the snow when the plow comes through).  There has also been quite a bit of returning things, for which I get no pleasure, since I pay the return postage, worse than buying stuff. 

Anyway, I am slowing the ordering down, and I find my attention turning to my knitting, cross stitching, and so forth.  I found stuff that had been in a closet when I sorted through the stuff coming back into the my room.  I have filled a huge trash bag, and donated boxes and boxes of useful stuff.  For example, I donated  huge amounts to one of D's friends who is a 3rd grade teacher.  They won't have to buy pencils until the next millennium, I think.  Much "stuff'" has also been donated to Goodwill.  I would include Salvation Army, but getting in and out of their parking lot is a nightmare.   

Photos of the room will be forthcoming soon, aren't you excited?

I opened one envelope from the mail that included a check for $$$ as our settlement in a class-action lawsuit from 10 years ago.  Unfortunately the check was made out to N.  No problem depositing the check, but the letter included a W-9 from for the IRS so I could collect $$$ more.  So I called the legal phone number, and she told me to send the form in my name and the check (sob) back to them, and they would issue another check for the whole amount made out to me.  I hope I haven't been too conscientious.  I shall see.

Well I have gone on and on in this post, even I am bored, so I will stop.  Hope this lovely cool weather continues for a few more weeks, it is one of the reasons this is my favorite time of the year.  Besides, I could rummage around in some more boxes, see what it in them.  Exciting things like a huge tub filled with socks.

Thought for the day," I’ve decided to sell my Hoover… well, it was just collecting dust."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I promise I won't mention his name

OK everyone, the wrong guy won.  There is a lot of hostility and rash statements flying around on the 'Net.  Everyone needs to calm down until there is a valid reason to condemn a specific action.

So take a deep breath...
And hold it.
For the next four years.

There now, don't you feel better?

Today's cartoon (instead of the thought/joke/etc. I usually end with):

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The End is Near

At least the end of this electioneering, for which I am thoroughly over with for the next 4 years.  This week is apparently the time for local candidates to call everyone at least once.  Or more.  I am pleased to be able to say I voted last week (true) at an old store nearby.  No point in campaigning with me.  Doesn't help with the robo-calls.

I am getting over a bad case of flu and this will be a short post.  In my last post I mentioned that I had been to the doctor's; I suspect that is where I caught this bug.  Either that or from the flu shot, even though the shot is not supposed to be able to infect people.

I have a lovely opal pendant, set for now in a truly ugly setting.  I have found someone to reset it for a modest sum, and it can't came out as bad as it is now.  Here it is now:

 I'll post the New look when I get it back.  I had a heck of a time getting the photo so the details can be seen; three different cameras, and the Nikon DSLR won the match.  Even so, the "fire" doesn't stand out much.  It is about one inch long.

Back to bed for now.  I hope all of you vote today (if you haven't already).  I hope Trump is soundly trounced, but all the polls are so contradictory, who knows?

Thought for the day:  "When I get a headache, I take 2 aspirin and keep away from children.  Just like it says on the bottle."

Thursday, November 03, 2016

eBay and PayPal

I have a love-hate relationship with eBay, and at the moment PayPal is driving me crazy.  I won an auction for an opal pendant, not much in cost and nothing I would lose sleep over.  But when I went to PayPal to pay for the pendant, the only choice was for an E-check which takes 2 - 5 days for the seller to get their money.  Why?  As near as I can tell my purchase tripped an internal alarm because I bought a bunch of stuff (less than 10) and that was from China mostly.  The paypal customer service said they can only guess why I cannot pay with a credit card (I find the notion fairly disturbing) and gave me a list of scenarios that cause the rejection to be made.  Basically, the purchase tripped an alarm, thanks to some bit of code somewhere that does actions (refuse a purchase) with no one able to figure out exactly why, is that not weird?  So much like HAL in 2001.  If anyone still watches that old old movie now.  I am getting steamed again, new topic...

I saw my GP doctor yesterday, and in 15 minutes we covered my diabetes (looks good), my aches (in knees, back, shoulder) and an earache (!) and I was pretty much reduced to "get physical therapy in my shoulder"  and "everybody as achy knees and back"  and oh yes, I am leaving the practice here and you will be seeing another doctor for your next visit.

Not a reassuring visit.

I think I've been played.

 So those are the high points of my visit.  Oh yeah, 5 tubes of blood.  Like the results will have a valid meaning when I next come in 3 months.  I'm going to call tomorrow and get an appt. with another doctor.  Grrrr.  I did get the flu shot, so something was accomplished.  Oh yeah, the next visit will be with the doctor who was seeing my husband right before he died, which is disturbing too.

Moving right along, it is 6 am and I am going back to bed.  With a pain pill, like that will have any effect this time.

Thought for the day, " Standing in the park, I was wondering why a Frisbee gets larger the closer it gets. Then it hit me."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Still getting my room squared away

It is a controlled mess.  Controlled because once I have sorted out all the contents in, say, a chest of drawers, I don't put anything else in there but what belongs.  I have one biggie yet to do, and that is the cart that holds all of the bits and tools for the knitting machines.  Worse yet, I caught the upholstery from the chair on the gate pegs and needles  of the knitting machine and bent them.  The needles I'll just replace, they get damaged pretty easily and I have spares.  But the gate pegs are tough to bend, and get them lined up so the carriage doesn't jam.  It makes me tired to think about it.

The weather has dramatically cooled down and it feels like fall now.  Unfortunately we have had brisk temps at night, but not frosty enough to change the trees to the brilliant reds and golds.  Maybe in the next few days.  Fall is my favorite time of year. 

Did I mention that I got an Amazon Echo?  I'm still finding things to do with it.  Last night I asked Alexa (think Siri) to play Mountain Lullaby by Larry Groce, and to my surprise it started right up; I haven't heard that song since my kids were wee babies, on a Disney record.  A record!  I tossed them all several years ago, along with the record player.  Anyway, she does some mundane stuff (like telling the time, date, weather) but also answers questions like who won the Kentucky derby last year?  Or what does bokeh mean?  Odd stuff.  It would be a great addition playing Trivial Pursuits, if anyone even plays that anymore.  She is a great alarm clock too, no fiddling with buttons, just tell Alexa what time, or how long, and she wakes me with a gentle chime; or a loud buzz, your choice.  Last night we did lullabies, and I fell straight to sleep on the second tune.  It is basically a toy for me, but I can see how big a help it would be for school-aged kids.  It will go straight to Wiki if you specify that, or play NPR with interviews, stories, and so on.  NO commercials.  You can buy interfacing connections so you can turn lights, TV, doors or whatever on and off.  The connections are pretty pricey, and they aren't too useful if, like us, you are home all day.  But I am thinking about the floodlights around the house, which aren't the greatest at sensing movement, and I want them on when I hear a cat fight or whatever, without going outside.

The election will be over soon and I am so very ready for that.  I don't know how we got on all the telephone lists for surveys, but we get at least 2 or 3 every day.  And after being polite for the first 25, now we just hang up as soon as they speak.  Or if no one is there and so it is a robo-call.  I want Hillary to win, and not that blowhard narcissistic madman.  Surely these latest revelations will put him in her dust, but then I missed when Reagan was elected.  The second time he carried every state except West Virginia, we were a lone blue spot in a sea of red.  So what do I know?

Thought for the day:  "I finally figured out what I want to be when I get older... YOUNGER."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What will I do on Halloween?

Here it is the 20th of Oct, and I am not making any plans to give out candy, etc.  Last year it was a nice night, no rain and not much wind.  We had about 50 kids, and some of the costumes were really imaginative.  But this year my heart just isn't in it.  Do I go ahead and "treat" (ho ho) it as just another year, or do I turn out the lights and stay inside?  I don't think there are many homes that do the old holiday things anymore.  I mean, when was the last time for holiday caroling?  Dancing round the Maypole?  Do kids even go to find Easter eggs?  Thankfully, fireworks are mostly the province of professionals on the 4th.  And in these parts, Thanksgiving is in the first week of deer hunting season, so a lot of wives celebrate with a shopping spree and turkey TV dinners while the guys go huntin'.  Christmas is mostly still the same, with big family and friends getting together for a dynamite dinner and family gossip (if you aren't there, they will talk about you). 

Anyway, Halloween.  My dentist says she is divided about whether she can in good conscience contribute to dental problems; and no, she didn't suggest giving toothbrushes to the kids.  But I have no problems with that, everyone knows the parents eat half of it.  Maybe more.  But it won't be the same.  Back when my friend was a kid, everyone went door-to-door, you went in the house, everyone tried to guess who you were, you got homemade candy, it was a jovial celebration.  Not anymore, even small towns like ours often stage parties for the kids to go to in lieu of trick or treating.  I guess eventually it will stop altogether.  I remember when my kids were little that we were advised to check out the candy before they ate any (yeah, right), and to throw away anything that wasn't in a sealed wrapper (yummm).  I'll probably do it this year, if the weather cooperates;  we have been giving candy for at least 20 years, I think. And as I sit there at the driveway with this massive bowl of all my favorite kinds of candy, I'll make sure it is all OK. 

I'll think it over during the next week.  Meanwhile, here is my T-shirt for the day:  "Photographer:  I shoot people and sometimes chop off their heads."

Friday, October 14, 2016

This is the end of book three

Several years ago I felt the need to find a way to backup these posts. I tried to just print each one as it was posted, but that was so unpleasing in making each post look similar, I gave up.  Then I read a post that recommended using Blog2Print.com and so I now have 2 volumes going back to Oct. 2004.  I planned to do this every October, but the instead volume 2 begins in Oct. 2013.  Now it is 3 years since that volume, so I plan on this post being the last one in the third printed book.  It isn't very costly, and the result is quite attractive, includes photos, covers, and a table of contents.  I will post a picture after it is done.  Won't that be exciting (not)!  But just think, 10 years of blog postings!  I know people whose marriage hasn't lasted that long.  Or even 3 years...  Maybe it is due to my compulsive trait, but if so, I don't give a damn.  I never think about who may be reading this, but my pageview counter says 28,500  give or take.  If I ever give this up for good, I'll post a final goodbye, so anyone reading regularly (a few now) will know there is no need to continue.  Meanwhile, read, comment, plagiarize, or quote, I'm easy. 

Quote for the day:  "It's not really Hoarding if you have Cool Stuff "

Sunday, October 09, 2016


We are all feeling the worse for wear today.  C has a chills-and-fever thing going on; I am just incredibly tired (malaise), and Rachel has her door closed all day, so who knows?  I have been looking at ebay and naturally found three things that look pretty good.  But stingy me, I put in a somewhat higher bid with an auction sniper, it adds a little  something to the bidding watching.
I don't expect to win...

I am still grieving the loss of Maggie, she went downhill so fast (2 weeks or so).  We had her at the vet's office to remove a growth on her leg, and I think they would have noticed her illness then.  But there isn't much to regret, even a month ago she would have needed a lot of chemotherapy, and to be frank, I wouldn't have agreed to put her through that.  My chemo made me ill, and I understood why.  A dog would not have understood anything except that they felt bad. 

2016 will surely go down as a Bad Year.  Beginning with my husband's death in May, the death of my horse Willie in June, the water completely flooding into the lower level of the house following a rain storm in July, and now the passing of Maggie, I know they are not equally the same importance, but still they are all losses.  Being diagnosed as diabetic, having neuropathy, breaking a tooth, all kinds of little things that by themselves are trivial, but added to the rest I feel like I am wearing a big target on  my back.  2015 wasn't a great year either, with the death of my Uncle and then 10 weeks later my Aunt.  Seems like they were setting the stage for the later things. 

I am way too morbid to continue this.

Thought for the day:  "My glass is empty! Quick! Call Wine-one-one! "

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

We lost her today

Maggie, aka Magpie, our black and white Newfoundland, was put down tonight due to an aggressive cancer in all her lymph nodes.  She was only 9.

Missing her.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fall(ing) is here

In keeping with the season, I too fell last night.  I was trying to shoo the cats out of my bedroom using treats in the hallway.  But there was a thunderstorm starting at the same time, and two of the 'fraidy cats wanted in my room to hide.  I guess the attraction is that the room is warm and inviting; or it could be that it is because it has a zillion places to hide.  Anyhow, I got them all in the hall, but when I went to turn back into the room, they tripped me racing back in.  I felt myself going down, but there was nothing to grab and down I went.  It's a good thing I am so well-padded and so no damage was done except to my bum, which is bruised.  Well, my pride took a hit too.  My son corralled the hiding cats and I went to bed, not too much the worse for wear.

The little cabinet worked out great, for holding the camera gear.  The dresser top is now tidy and I can find things promptly.  It only took 40 minutes (or less; I wasn't timing it) to assemble.  The reviews on Amazon ranged from saying the assembly was a snap, to those where the buyer had to take it apart twice to get it all lined up.  I don't know why; the instructions are illustrated with drawings and the language is brief and to the point.  Must not be "handy".  Anyway, a good bargain.

With the storm last night bringing a lot of rain, we were fully prepared with sand bags at the entry door to stop any overflow in the garage drain.  And actually the garage stayed dry, so our efforts there with a new drain line and seals on the floor and on the garage door worked out well.  Now that the horse is out of the barn, as they say.

The replacement lamp shade for my cute little lamp from ebay is supposed to be delivered today.  Then I can return the weird silver shade I got from Amazon.  The silver one has an item number that only differs by two digits from the brown one.  The devil is in the details. 

My I'm full of little adages today.  Onward.

Quote for the day :  "I'm great at multitasking. I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Again, we go to sew

Now my visitor counter is gone.  Maybe the HTML will heal itself?  It's my only hope, because I sure can't.

I ordered a Sauder nightstand cabinet and it is out for delivery today.  I want to use it to store all the camera gear (well, not the film ones) out of the dust and cat hair, and keep it together.  The cables alone are a tangled mess, so although I don't know what they all are for (the red black yellow ones) at least I will be able to find them.  As part of this melt down (aka The Flood) I have been sorting through all my craft stuff and giving a lot of it up for donation.  I'll keep the knitting stuff (naturally) and the cross-stitch kits, which I pick up now and again.  But all the doll making, macrame, and so on, will be looking for another home.  It all will make someone happy, getting all these things for next to nothing.  It makes me happy to not have to come up with places to put all this.

I needed to mend a pair of slacks for my daughter, but I was dismayed when I saw where the torn place was.  They had a type of zipper called "invisible".  When the garment has one, and the zipper is closed, the zipper is folded into the seam allowance and has a tiny pull tab at the top.  I don't know if they still make them or not.  They require a special zipper foot on the sewing machine, and are a little tricky the first time they are used.

So I discovered something else I can't do.  I couldn't remember how to turn the sewing machine on, how to wind a bobbin, how to thread the machine, but I persevered and got all of that.  If I still have the presser foot, I either don't know where, or don't recognize it in the bits-and-pieces box.  So I made do, and ripped it out 2 times before I got the seam below the zipper closed.  It isn't my best looking mend job, I have to say.  But all these hindrances are do-able, just needed a little time to work on it, sweep up the mental cobwebs.  But what it is that puts an end to sewing is that I can't feel my feet; and as a result, I can't feel the pedal that makes the machine go and determines how fast it goes.  Kinda like driving, yes?  But I was really dismayed at how  badly the neuropathy really is in a simple task.  I used to make my own clothes (usually with Vogue patterns), the kids Halloween costumes, and so on.  It was a while ago, but I didn't think there would be any problem once I got going.  I was wrong.  And now I have a concrete explanation for myself about why I cannot drive except in dire circumstances.  And why the problem started when the chemotherapy started.

My aunt, many years ago, had a sewing machine that was built into a special cabinet, and instead of the foot pedal, had a lever on the cabinet that she controlled with her knee.  But I am sure they don't make those anymore for home sewing, if anywhere.  She passed away many years ago, and I have no idea where her machine went.  It only had one stitch that it did, a straight forward plain stitch.  I look at machines now, they do everything but paint the room for you.  And I know damn well that their owners don't use all those bells and whistles.

And if you are trolling for reactions to The Debate, you won't find it here.  I refuse to listen, not because I am indifferent, but because Mr. Trump is one scary dude.  I don't go to horror movies either, and they don't have global repercussions.

Quote for the day:  "All reports are in. Life is now officially unfair."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Almost Forgot

I always write the title for these posts after I have written the post.  Mainly because I need to read what I have written to come up with a title.  This one is clearly going to be an example of writer's block.

We still don't have the dining room cleared out of the stuff (sounds better than "junk") that belongs downstairs.  I work at putting stuff away downstairs, but I can't carry anything much (mainly myself) without tripping.  I have neuropathy in my feet, probably from the chemotherapy, and I can't tell without looking exactly where my feet are.  This makes carrying stuff down a flight of stairs, where I need two hands, impossible for me.  I can see, though, how much this is a drag for my son and daughter, but it does have to be done.

I had a nice talk with N's sister last night.  She is raising her great-grandchild, this after raising her own two children and her granddaughter.  He is quite a handful, and I feel for her, but the kid's mother won't step up to take him, and his father is a complete mystery.  That sounds harsh, but it is what it is.  The child, now 4, is a screamer and ADHD for which he is on meds.  I have only seen him once, at N's memorial, and for too short a time to form an opinion.  Maybe things will change for the better as he gets older.

The one remaining horse, Maybe, is settling down after the loss of Willie, her sibling.  She nickers a lot more at us, but without running around screaming.  Horses can be VERY loud when they want, but nickering is a sweet sound.  I feel that she is lonely, but I am resolved, no more horses.  Or dogs.  Or cats, although I waffle a bit on that.  The vet bill for the dog last week was around $800, which is considerably less than the estimate we got beforehand.  It is hard to make these decisions for a pet, no matter which path I choose I have a part that doesn't agree.  In the past we would have said, "do it" but those days are gone.  As an example, taking the two dogs to the groomer is a thing of the past.  Two BIG dogs (Newfies) for a bath and trim job is $100 apiece.  Plus a tip.

Thought for the day:   "Another fine day ruined by responsibility."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Six hundred and fifty

In case you are wondering, this is the 651 post on this blog, so if you read one a day, you will have had a year and nine months of trivia, suitable for driving yourself  completely ga-ga.  I warned you.

I am having a heck of a time with my on-line shopping experience.  For instance, I need flower pots to transplant some of my houseplants.  So far I have received 6 pots too large with no saucers; two tiny pots with saucers but pots are only one cup size; one ceramic pot that is too shallow for the cactus to fit in; three red pots just the right size, but without saucers.  Then there is the lamp shade, It is supposed to be burlap covered and instead is some weird fabric that makes the color silver (ugly) so it has to go back.  It is the right size.  I ordered a nice print by Carol Grigg, only to find it cheaper on walmart(!) although mine is a limited edition, which accounts for the price.  I guess.  The list goes on.  I guess I am too distracted and don't scrutinize the descriptions very well.  All except the weird lampshade, for which I have the email to corroborate.

I am about half way through getting all  my belongings back in the bedroom, I have just temporarily run out of steam.  The living room is clear, now to do the dining room.  Soon.  I will post photos of the finished rooms, but it may be a while.  There is so much junk, we have the trash people scratching their heads over the loads at the curb.  Not that we have a curb; this is after all the rural country.  I wrote on an earlier post that the paving crew was here and I hoped that they would re-pave instead of just patch.  So, surprise!!  They did neither.  Instead they poured a driveway for one of our neighbors, drat.  Not even a dab left for the road.

I go to the dentist this afternoon.  I have broken a tooth, I think.  So this is another fun-filled day.  I don't even get a free toothbrush, or a sticker.  Last time I was there I had an easy time with the cleaning, so I guess it all evens out.  Update:  Yes, the tooth was broken, and needs a crown, but a temporary patch job will have to do for a while.

We took Maggie (Newfoundland) to the vet to get her stitches out and for them to check her ears and eyes for the infections from earlier.  She looks like a giant Q-tip:  fur on her head, and a tuft on the end of her tail, and naked in between.  But no doubt she is cooler.  She got loose when we were moving her back into the yard and did a little walk-about, but came willingly enough when we called.  There is no forcing her to go where you want, as she weighs 125 pounds and pulls you right off your feet.  Very strong dog. There is a story making the rounds about a Great Pyrenees that was kept in a horse stall for 6 years and never clipped until now.  They are about the same size as Maggie, and she felt put-upon  when she was in the horse stall for two days (where she was kept so her stitches wouldn't pull out right away, or get dirty).  Some people don't know what responsible means.

Quote for the day:  "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Carpet Squares

In retrospect, it was kinda funny, but it didn't seem so at the time.  Son C began laying the squares from the doorway back.  I suggested he find the center of the floor, snap a line, and begin the squares on the line, to keep from having to trim every square.  But in the end, it worked out OK, and in the bottom of the empty box we found the directions, and I was right.  Not that I had any OTJ training, to back up my suggestion.

Now we are moving the piles of stuff - just, stuff - back into the room.  It looked pretty large at first, and now it is getting smaller with every box full.  I'm donating a bunch of stuff to a school, through a co-worker of R.  It will be a while, because the first things out of all the flood water is also the stuff furthermost behind the bedroom stuff.  At least I can now water my dining room plants without having to lean over the boxes to reach them, and hope the water was going into the plants.  Some irony there, needing water.

Dining room; almost completely full.

If you look by the windows you can see bits of plants peeking around.  One plant hanging on the right; that's all the access to the plants.  The living room looks worse:
Living room with no place to sit.
The TV on the right doesn't work because the remote doesn't have a clear shot at the front of the set.  Or any pathway to get to the TV where the manual controls are.

None of this includes the furniture in the garage that was too heavy to get it up the stairs.

My plan is to sort things as it comes downstairs, but I probably won't be able to keep up.  Three piles:  keep, pitch, donate.  I have the stuff for a yard sale. but my neighbors say forget it, all they sold with theirs was sold to other neighbors.  I got a nice file cabinet at the last one, a commercial one, not a flimsy made in china one.  But even if we haul it to a flea market, the effort of doing the whole set-up, sell, haul away is lacking.

I realize this is a problem most people in the world would love to have; they wear it out, fix it up, make do without.  This is sorta like complaining that your diamond watch doesn't run.

Quote for the day:  "America is a country where half the money is spent buying food, and the other half is spent trying to lose weight."

Note:  I worked for a guy who bought an expensive gym membership, while he paid someone to mow his grass.

Saturday, September 03, 2016


Yesterday I had a phone call for N.  It was from a testing company for which he read aloud the tests for those not capable of reading, for one reason (like blindness) or another.  He did the reading very frequently because he was almost without any accent, and he was very patient.  In return for doing this, the company made a donation to the Literacy Volunteers.  A win-win set up.  Anyway, the caller was very upset, so I guess she knew N pretty well.  I suppose she never reads the obituaries in the newspaper, it was in there 4 times.  I never knew before that the newspaper charges by the column inch for an obituary, any of them except the tiny little 2 sentence ones, and they want the money up front.  And it is not a trivial charge, either.   Anyway, perhaps that will be the last call.  The carpet we ordered is in, and when Lowes called to schedule the installation, they asked for N instead of me, and here I thought we got that cleared up when we were at the store.  But yesterday's call was sadder because they actually knew N.

The house is looking worse by the day, as I shift things around trying to find my belongings in the heaps.  One more week, I think I will make it.  At least my walk-in closet was not flooded, I can't imagine how I would have handled that.  As it is, the biggest nuisance is that my bed is resting on cement blocks, to get the bed frame (with drawers) up off the floor to remove the wet carpeting and let the bed frame dry.  Every time I roll over the bed goes **Scrape** and wobbles a bit.  I want my bedroom back.

I ordered sand bags yesterday so we can make a barricade against water at the doorway into the house.  I think we have done all we could to divert water away from the roll-up garage door, unless we make a bigger lip on the outer side of the door.  I plan on having a new door for the one that goes into the house, once the money is there, with the "style" that is whatever will make the threshold water-tight. ( I could buy a lot of yarn for that amount of $.)  And fortunately, all the yarn was either in plastic tubs, or on shelving up above the floor.

This photo shows the garage door, pre-flood, and notice how the road water is going *across* the driveway and not down it?  If it rains hard enough, the rain goes (guess where?) downhill, instead. 

You can also see the white cat (named, White, how imaginative) and her very own door, which is shut and fits tightly when the weather threatens.

Ah well, this too will pass.

"For every action, there is a corresponding over-reaction."

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

a cute little lamp

I really think the shade is a little large, and I would rather it was tan instead of white, but this was the best of Lowes limited selection.  I'm the only one who will use it, so if it doesn't bother me...I changed my mind; it does bother me.  I ordered a nice tan/burlap shade, smaller than this one and it looks great.  I'll spare you the pain of a third photo...

They are going to re-pave our road!  It has been so long since any maintenance was done, the homeowners on the road (including us, before N died) have been buying gravel and filling in the worst of the potholes.  Cheaper than a broken axle.  I just hope they do the entire length of it, and not just past us (where they are unloading the machinery).   One of the neighbors complained to the DOH and sent photos, so maybe this time the squeaky wheel is the reason.

Quote for the day:  "Doing things that you are not supposed to do at work makes your vision, hearing and alertness much better."

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lamping along

This is just a tiny post to show you the lamp base mentioned in the post of Aug. 19th.
It is around 10 inches tall.  Tomorrow I will post a photo of the finished lamp.

Quote:  "Progress is made by lazy men looking for an easier way to do things."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

So far so good

I am getting on top of the dreaded bill paying, I think.  I overpaid several of them, and I don't know if I will get a refund, or if they will carry the positive balance on into the future.  I am making progress in getting all accounts transferred to my name, greatly increasing the management of various functions.

The excellent news is, we sold the Toyota Highlander yesterday.  It eases my mind a lot, it was too expensive and too much more car than we needed.  I can't foresee any reason to have a car that seats 7.  It would be justifiable if there were 4 of us going out (like to dinner), but alas, now we are 3 and any of our vehicles can handle that many.  I even paid the taxes, and can only hope that income taxes will not be astronomical come April 15th.  Uncle Sam has a hard line about paying your taxes one month at a time (you can't) only if it is for the coming year when you can pay an estimated tax.

We changed our cable TV plan and saved a good bit there.  None of us actually watch much TV; I am probably the biggest user and I mostly watch the shopping channels.  I don't buy stuff -- I just like to watch and criticize the jewelry, clothes, cosmetics, and the hosts as well.  But only for short periods of time (20 min is about my limit.)

I still miss N very much, and I guess I always will.  I regret that we didn't make much use out of our time together, never knowing that it would be cut short.  It is ironic that his biggest fear was his heart, and he died of a stroke instead.  His mother did as well, but she was only 57 and once he passed that age he took it for granted that he would be like his dad and live to be 80. I wonder if he had time to realize what was happening to him, but I guess he did not, it was all so quick.  The doctor that was taking care of him in the hospital told me that his own father survived his 2 strokes, but that he really wished he had not, it left him so incapacitated for so long.  I would not have had N under that cloud, even if it did prolong his life.

Getting too morbid here.

It will be another 3 weeks until the carpet can be expected to be installed.  Then there will be all the transporting of everything in the LR and DR back into the bedroom and office.  R will take a day off work to help with carrying stuff downstairs, C would have to do it all himself, since I can't carry much on the stairs when I have to hold onto the handrail.  I didn't find the carpet in the color I really wanted, I guess it is too passe.  But the feel of this one beats the berber carpeting that was in there, very soft and dense.  It will be fine once the room is set back to normal.

 Thought for the day:  "To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Auto Manic

I think we have found someone to buy the Highlander.  It will ease the financial end of the budget, although I wish it were more.  We still have the pickup and C's subaru, both are low mileage and paid for.

I got a small wooden lamp base from ebay which is for use on my bookcase headboard.  It needs a lamp package to get it wired up, and a shade, but a trip to Lowes will do for both of these.  It has neat inlays and I like it.  The bottom has a name (Wm. Willok) and a place (Elkhorn, Nebraska).  And it is dated 1954 and was probably a shop project done by an instructor.  Don't see many of these anymore, and of course the shop classes are no more, it is a pity.  I always wanted to take shop, but "girls" weren't allowed to, we took Home Economics, with units on sewing, cooking, and something else which I can't remember now.  It was felt that girls would be too much of a distraction in shop.  Maybe they were right.  I wonder if any of the guys wanted to take Home Ec?  Probably not.

I am too sleepy to continue this post. 

For today:  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

More Rain

The Roto Rooter guys came on Saturday and dug a new drain line to increase the capacity of the driveway water drain.  They were scheduled to do it on Thursday, but it rained (heavily) and digging in mud is not the way to go.  I convinced them to come on Saturday, when a break in the weather provided a chance to dig before another long string of inclement weather.  I am so glad they finished the job yesterday (Saturday) because we had another Flood watch today.  So far so good.  I am really surprised that we didn't lose the power, especially since we haven't started dinner.  I think the gas range will still work, only it will need to be lit with a match.  I think.

And of course, with the way things have been going over these last months, the guy doing the excavator cut the water line that goes to the barn.  NO water in the barn is a class 4 disaster in the making.  But C went out and assisted with the shovel work to find the two ends of the water line, since the trench filled rapidly with water before we got the barn line shut off.  Makes it really hard to see what you're doing under water.  But it was repaired and all is well now.  Knock on wood.

The cost for all of this is horrendous.  And there is still the carpet, pad, and installation to pay for.  The guy came out and measured the dimensions of the big bedroom and the hallway, stairs, etc. and so tomorrow we can, in theory, go to Lowes to pick out the carpet.  I got one carpet sample from last week, but it is totally unsuitable.  In addition to being the wrong color, it has a rough surface and I want carpet where I can wiggle my toes.  We are going to put carpet squares in the computer room, which we will have to install ourselves, another fun family task.  We can't remove the big desk to make way for carpet, because the desk was put together in the room; and the doorway is too small to move the entire thing out.  Poor planning on our part...

Well, time to do the dinner things, chili for tonight, yumm.

Quote for the day:  "I always take life with a grain of salt...  plus a slice of lemon...  and a shot of tequila."

P.S.  Did you notice that I found another Hit counter over there?  I don't know where the number came from, I thought I had more like 38,000 views.  Oh well.  The price for this one was right.  (Free.)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

And the Rains Came

Well, my new crisis is that the entire ground floor of the house flooded in a torrential rainfall, all the way into my bedroom up to the fireplace.  I called a home disaster reclamation company (it was 11 pm on a Sunday) and they came out the next morning with all the equipment to vacuum up the water, then tear the carpet and pad out.  We moved everything salvageable upstairs (where it looks like an episode of Hoarders)  and the company set out a dozen or so dehumidifiers and blowers to dry the floor.  Now the reclamation has ground to a halt while we wait for carpeting to be installed.  This isn't the first time we have had this happen, but it has been 15 years or so.  Back then we did all the vacuuming with a shop-vac which was like draining the ocean with a teacup.  I estimate this current disaster to be around 500 gallons, based on how much water there is in the 50 gallon water trough.

And of course homeowner insurance does not cover surface water damage.

The cost of all of this is frightful.

I am really really tired.  And I can't find anything amid all the tumbled belongings.  Like clean sheets.  And underwear.  And everything in the laundry basket that was clean and isn't now.  Teach me to fold clothes and put them away promptly....

Quote for the day:  "If God is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Such a Long break

My enthusiasm for writing this blog is at an all time low.  I won't give it up, I promise I will continue however lame the posts become. 

I am finally square (I think) with the annuity folks, although I could throttle N for not getting more life insurance.  Especially credit life for the car.  I'll call the attorney next week and see what his advice is.  Maybe I do need a financial advisor;  N would have just winged it.

Still, his death from a stroke was very fast, not even time to get chemo for the cancer.  I don't know how spouses manage, we were a couple for 45 years, and for the last 10 retired together.  I hear N's voice everytime my son speaks; my daughter sounds just like my mother.  When I am just dozing off, or waking up, I forget they are both gone, although my mom passed 16 years ago, go figure.

Willie, my horse, is also a big hole in my heart since he died.  The mare who is his sister still calls for him when she hears horses way across the valley.  Horses are herd animals, and he was her "herd".

Someone has dropped off another stray cat, I guess they see our old-timer cats and think, this looks like a good place, what is one more?  And whoosh, another mouth to feed.  There is no way I will let an animal go hungry on my property, and usually the (intact) males move on down the line, looking for lady loves.  The girls get spayed if they can be caught.  Although I have had a spayed friendly cat go missing, I hope someone took her to a forever home.  There is no way to tell, of course, but I hope.  She was a beauty, all white.  That was a long time ago.

I can't think of any more trivial bits to share.  I think I am down to a meager few reading this blog, I need to get back to reading other blogs so we can reciprocate.  But meanwhile, feel free to comment or just linger, I'm easy.

Bye for now

Quote for the day : "If you lived here you'd be home by now"  changed sign when building was torn down to  "If you lived here you'd be homeless now."

Thursday, June 09, 2016


It is with mixed emotions that I have reached 46 years of marriage, with husband who passed on May 10th.  We never did much more than a restaurant dinner, and some small gift on the day.  This year will pass without that.  We did go to Myrtle Beach for our 25th, and stayed for a week at a beach condo; and we went on a three day cruise from Boston to Montreal for our 40th anniversary.  And we went to Carmel, CA for one of the early anniversaries when we lived in San Francisco.  All of them were great, sightseeing and eating way too much.  I think I will do grilled steak tomorrow; I have never fixed them, but I guess it isn't all that hard.  My son, C, made a crock pot dinner of beef stew a few days ago which was inedible.  I've eaten some poor food, like 1000 year eggs, abalone, other ethnic meals, but this stew was the awfullest of them all.  We don't know what went wrong, if it was something in the spices, or what; it smelled good while it was cooking.  Even the dogs were less than thrilled when C mixed it with their dog food.

Our neighbor just brought us homemade cinnamon rolls, yum.  And she also gave us a macaroni salad with lots of veggies in it.  She is spoiling us!

I got our photos from the funeral back from Walmart and they made me cry.  The ones of , well here you can see for yourself:

The few we took were all done before anyone arrived, so Susan (N's sister) isn't in them since she came later, straight to the venue from Kentucky.  I never asked her how she found the funeral home, I had hoped we could have some time to visit, as she was originally planning to come the day before.  Anyway, here is the box with ashes, beautiful flowers and a stained glass backdrop.  I would have loved to take one arrangement home, but these obstreperous cats would have it in shreds in a single night.  Instead the funeral people took them to the nursing home where my mom and dad both lived at the end.  

And here is a photo of our living room, a little cluttered but not too messy.  The foot in the white sock on the right edge is of N's foot, in his favorite easy chair.  I can sit in it myself now.  Alone.

Well, this has been an uplifting post (not).  Hoping all of you are doing fine and enjoying the company of your loved ones for as long as possible...

Thought for the day:  "A clean house is the sign of a misspent life."

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Sweet Willie

On June 1st, about 9 pm, we heard (the mare)one of the horses making a racket, but we could not see why she was calling.  Only one horse seen, not two.  Flashlights up in the tall grass, there was my bay gelding Willie, dead.  He was in full rigor, so he had been dead for a while.  We put the mare in the barn, and tried to figure out, by flashlight, what had happened.  But even in daylight the next day it looked like he just laid down and breathed his last.  I hope he didn't suffer, but really there was no sign one way or the other.  I spent hours on the phone trying to get someone with a farm, backhoe, and flatbed truck to get him and take him to be buried.  Our property is only 1..5 acre and anyone looking our way would see (and smell??) what we were doing trying to dig a mammoth grave and move Willie to there.  Nine hundred pounds of inert horse.  And it is not like the matter can wait, with temps in the 80s.  The man we finally found (friend of a friend of a... you get it) came in about 2 hours with his son, and had him in the truck , covered and tied down in 2 hours more.  The fee was $450, which was far less than I thought it would be.

The mare is still in the barn, because she needs to get used to no Willie.  They are siblings, Willie was the older at 25.  When we let her out it will be just in the day, so we can see what she is doing, if she starts racing around and calling.

If Norm were here it would have been so much easier, he knew people he could count on finding someone for this.  I have thought about this for the last 2 years or so, and asked here and there what we should do, given our two geriatric horses, but got no solid leads.  I will keep this man in my organizer, the way my luck is going I will need it soon.

Thought for the day: " I'm not fat.  I'm just...easier to see."
In younger days

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial holiday

Tomorrow is Memorial Day so most of those who work will have an extra day for the weekend.  Norm was a veteran, serving 4 years in the Air Force during the Vietnam years, as a language specialist, Russian no less.  These days those who are veterans are very much in the minority; I'm not sure when or why this happened.  The military was a good choice for guys that didn't want college, or couldn't afford it, and guys who were at loose ends for what kind of a career they wanted.  Norm's reason was the last, he figured out how poor his high school training was if you wanted to be, say, an engineer and so he enlisted.

I'm trying to get back in my usual groove, but it is hard.  I can see why people often sell up and move to another home, I still am feeling like he will walk in the door at any minute.  When I surf the channels I still mentally choose what he would like, but have no intention in actually tuning in football, golf, or PBS.  I will never have to watch NCIS or NCIS-LA again, thank my lucky stars.  He was a big fan of both of those and would, at any moment, launch into a synopsis of that weeks' episode.  Better by far to watch it myself, than to having it explained.  I would ask, how many people got killed this week?  Both of those were (are) incredibly violent.  And he had the first 7 seasons on DVDs, and taped each episode on In Demand, so he could watch it again to pick out details.

The thank you notes still have to be written for those who sent a memorial gift, or flowers, or food.  I know there is no hurry, as the memorial gathering was a week ago.

big damn wasp in here, bye

Friday, May 20, 2016

Checking in

My psych doctor called me today to see how I am doing.  She got the urine drug screen results, all 100 of them, and that I will be pleased to know that the "none detected" included heroin, ecstasy , cocaine, and that the ones detected included toprol (BP control), Seroquel (antidepression),  etc, all my prescribed meds.  She was quite amused, why someone thought it was necessary to do this panel, and if I get a bill from LabCorp or the hospital to just set it aside and she will carry the battle to them.  Whoosh!

 I'm nearly done with the minutiae of Norm's affairs and I am determined not to do this myself when I pass.  It's funny, sometimes, before his death, I would think, Hmmm, I could do this different if I was alone, not seriously considering.  Do you know, I have found very few of those things.  So far I have decreed that bananas go in the fridge, the horses stay turned out even when it rains, the cats don't get fed at our dinnertime (to get them out of the kitchen), and so on.  The one large change I will make, after all the dust settles, is to trade the whale (Highlander) for a Lexus.  That is if I have enough money to handle the purchase.

It is this time of day when my feelings of loss overwhelm me, midnight, and I know nothing will work to fix it.  Grit my teeth and go on.  Every time I would walk past his easy chair, he would reach out his hand for me to hold for a few seconds.  Now I sit in that chair, and my son is the one who reaches a hand to me.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.


"There's no time like now to postpone doing stuff"

Monday, May 16, 2016


It has been 6 days since my husband Norm died, but it feels like it was yesterday.  I can see that I am going through the reactions to grief:  according to On Grief and Grieving by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  But I seem to be stuck in the first stage, denial . "Denial is the first of the five stages of grief. It helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a way to simply get through each day. Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle."

I keep feeling that Norm will return from a business trip.  Yesterday I looked everywhere for a certain photo of him, and I stumbled upon a sketch, a baby pencil drawing of him and his sister, that I had searched for years ago.  My immediate thought was, Norm is going to be so pleased that this turned up, and then I felt the jolt as I thought, Norm won't ever return, and will never enjoy this or anything else.  In a way I wish I could be a believer in God, but that ship sailed long ago.  I must cope.  There is so much to be done, and I keep finding more tasks as I go.  I will be finding things to do for months.  For instance, the cable bill is more than $200 a month, who would have thought this?  And his Prime status for Amazon.  And the balance of the car loan.  And on and on.

I still cry when I have to inform a caller on the phone that there isn't any reason to take a message, and I am so glad the local newspaper got his obit  in on the 13th (Friday!) so some of his contacts need not call.  The actual informal gathering at the funeral home will be on the 23rd, to give his sister time to get here.  Come to think about it, his sister may want the sketch...

I don't want this to be too maudlin of a post, so I will stop here.

Accchhh  I'm losing it.

Addendum:  My hit counter has disappeared once again, and I am too sad?  Preoccupied?  Depressed?  Whatever, to hunt up the problem or get another, so I'll just tell you, it is 38,000 or there about.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 10th, 2016

My husband N of 45 years died this morning, here at home, on his way to another radiation treatment.  Probably from a stroke.  This was a shock, but the EMS and fire guys came almost instantly, and worked on him with CPR for 20 minutes or more.  I feel totally at sea.  I am going to go to the funeral staff and pre-plan for my own end.  It is too much to do this without any guidance when death comes calling.

I love him so much.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Keeping the boat afloat

I feel overwhelmed now that N is home.  He gets out of bed, sits in his recliner in the LR, and except for potty breaks, there he stays.  Asking for water, snacks, pills, his Kindle (charge it first), and so on.  Would you believe, the very first thing he did when he got home is turn his PC on and go to the bill pay for our bank and start firing money to the outstanding bills.  I had already paid electricity bills, credit cards, water bill, all the critical ones, so there wasn't much remaining to do, no rush.  Made me feel like a 10 year old with daddy checking my homework.

 I wonder how this is all going to shake out.  I'm not in great shape myself, and C is the one who bears the brunt of the tasks that are needed.  It isn't fair to him, and I know he is approaching a melt down himself.  I will need to intervene.  N has a new gesture; if you tell him something he doesn't want to hear (like that the kitchen counter has split in a new place) he turns his attention to the TV and goes all blank in the face.  I get up and leave the LR when he watches baseball(!!) or endless repeats of NCIS episodes.  Neither which he did before the hospital stay.  Brainwashing!!

Ah well, this too will pass, and it will most probably be far too soon.  Then I will feel bad for being cranky.  N is getting daily radiation therapy (not, thank gods, on weekends) imagine how ill he will feel when the chemo starts in another week.  And it takes hours, and leaves you feeling like some squishy thing on the waterline.  As my t-shirt says, cancer sucks.

Back to bed.  Send positive energy to us, or pray for us if that is your custom.  Peace.

Quote for the day:  "Even a small star shines in the darkness."

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


Yesterday N went to the radiation unit for treatment of his metastatic lesions in his occipital lobes.  While there they (the radiologists) identified two more lesions in his chest, and those are what they will treat first, starting tomorrow (actually today) and continuing for 10 days.  It is a simple procedure for N and a quick one, except he has to go to another hospital to have it done.

I don't know why I am writing this here, it doesn't help me and I know all of you don't care.  Well, most of you.

Back to bed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


My husband (N) has had a stroke and is back in the hospital.  He is "very very sick" (doctor's words) and the next 48 hours are critical.  Please send positive thoughts our way, that we can get through this together.

No funny quotes, my heart is too heavy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Well well well

N (husband) has been diagnosed "officially" with adenocarcinoma in his lung (hasn't smoked in 45 years) and metastases into his occipital lobe on either side of his spine.  He will be going  into chemo next week for one-out-of-three weeks, for series of at least 3 times.  He will also go under the gamma knife for the brain lesions as well.  None of this is fun and giggles, and there isn't anything I can do to make it better for him.   I am wrestling with my own cognition problems.  For example I wrote myself a note "Tile floors  1 cup vinegar plus 1 gal hot water, wash with soft brush."  OK so far, right?  then it goes:  "Add somewhat of dish soap than Coptich wited so into mail muscles, the more season"  Huh??  It gets worse the later the writings/typing I try to do.  So between the two of us, we will have one functioning brain, I guess.

If not for son C we would be so much worse.  He handles the feeding of the horses, the lawn work, the kitchen clean-up and laundry and so on.  It isn't any earth shattering tasks, but I couldn't manage it all on my best day.  All this in addition to driving N to all of his appointments. 

Daughter isn't doing her share, but that will change on Saturday.  I don't expect much from her after work (she gets home at 9 pm)  But she could do some smaller tasks before work and on weekends, something besides play that ridiculous on-line game.  Grocery shopping for one; kitty litter scooping for another.  We will see how it all shakes out.  I'm looking for a lot of flouncing around so we can see how she resents all this.

That's it for now.  Send me good thoughts to get me through the months ahead.

Thought for the day:  "It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker ."

Monday, April 11, 2016

You were always on my mind

Last week N (husband) had an MRI of his head and chest because he has been huffing and puffing and felt a pain in his neck. Two days ago he got the diagnosis.

He has cancer in the occipital lobe of his brain, metastatic into his neck as well.

 I don't know if N really knows what that means, but we see the oncologist later this morning (it is 3 am now) and he will be able to ask questions.  He is seeing the same oncologist that I did, and we have an idea of what the process is.  He has weakness in his hands that he cannot use the left one to grip at all, and little air for doing anything (the cancer pushes on one lung).  We each have long term care insurance, which is a comfort to me.  He has been the one to do the bills every month; I used to do it, so I guess I will learn the process again.  Our son will have to pick up the chores for the horses, and our daughter the household tasks.  I am pretty weak walking the grocery in the huge one we go to, my knees feel like they are on fire and I need to sit down RIGHT NOW.  I will figure out something I guess, someway to break the big push in the do-it-all-now to manage smaller trips.  Thank god for our son C who has been out of work since the aftermath of his shattered knee, he can do the basics at the barn and mowing, etc.  I don't care if he gets an offer for all the resumes he has sent out, I need him here.  N doesn't agree,but I am stymied for any alternative.  I wish we had two sons!

I'm going back to bed. 
Thought for the day:  "Common sense is so rare these days, it should be classified as a super power."

Monday, April 04, 2016

A few regrets

I was in a shop this morning and heard this song (an oldie from Frank Sinatra, "I did it my way") on the loudspeakers.  We don't do things "our way" in real life, do we?  And we end up with more than a few regrets, sad to say.  But if you lived your life with the ultimate goal of having no regrets at the end, you'd be stuck in the starting gate, so to speak.  No one has a handbook for an error-less passage through life, including those who claim the Bible is such a roadmap.

So much for philosophy.

I got up Sunday and thought how bright and sunny it looked outside, and then I lifted the window shade and THERE IT WAS!!  Snow! 4 inches on April 3rd !!  It didn't last too long, it was in the 50s the rest of the day, but it sure spoiled my morning.  It's spring, dammit.  The stink bugs got the memo, we killed 6 in the house yesterday, so at least some of them are out and about.  We have sealed every possible crack and still they find their way in.

I see my doctor tomorrow, where we can discuss my so-called positive urine test for pot.  It is impossible to prove a negative.  I can swear up and down I don't do pot, but doctor B would have to take it on faith, and he doesn't know me.  And users can be most convincing liars and pot is available everywhere, I guess.  I don't know how I would find some, but wouldn't it be nice if it were legal?  I don't have a problem now, but boy I wish I had some MJ back when I had chemotherapy.  I had drugs that vanquished the pain, but the nausea was grim, even using phenergan.  And with all of that, I still didn't lose weight.  Sigh.  Anyway, I plan on telling Dr.B that if he won't give me opioids when my test/tests are positive, then don't.  I would rather manage my knee and shoulder pain with OTC drugs than having to pee in a cup every time I see him.

AND I am so glad, once again, that I am not working, or trying for a new job, or dependent on one doctor for all my meds.  I have read some sad tales of people losing their job, home, children, everything, from a positive test.

Thought for the day:  "Why would I want to delete cookies?!"

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I have been neglecting my blog for the last month, and mainly writing email to special friends.  I find emails and blog posts are better off when not co-mingled.  So, one or the other are up-to-date, and the other is lame.  Multitasking anyone?

I went to see yet another family doctor 2 weeks ago, following the three visit doctor who moved away just as I was feeling comfortable with him.  He asked about drug testing. and I was a little taken aback,  this on the first visit, but I said "sure".  Urine specimen, on my way out, and guess what? It came back positive for THC (pot) and benzodiazapine (Xanax).  Xanax is fine, I have a script for years and years (anti anxiety and help sleeping) but the pot screen!  I haven't smoked a joint in 40 years (San Francisco days).  Back home and onto the net, and lo, it turns out naproxen (Aleve) cross reacts to the THC test.  I have a scrip for naproxen,(it is there on my drug list, twice a day each day) so I got a script for testing at the hospital (vs. doctor office dip stick) from my psyc. doctor (she says she never tests her patients, they are taking this and that and the tests are always positive) , and meanwhile I am taking no Aleve.  I feel it, tylenol just doesn't cut it for knee pain; my knees pain me awake or asleep, I even dream about knee pain.   The new regs for pain meds leave legitimate patients like me bearing the brunt of the results.  Do you know, the street price of Oxycontin is so high that people are switching to heroin because it is cheaper?  Crazy world.  It is only sparingly used for post-surgical pain, because it is "redirected" to the black market it is so pricey.  No knee surgery for me anytime soon.

I finished the income taxes for us and our two kids today , don't get me started on THAT.

This isn't very long of a post, but it is 4 am and I am back to bed. 

Motto for today "  Everything we have is taxed - even our patience."