Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Needle Pulling Thread

I've seen this Mother Goose rhyme in tons of places, but I am looking for one that is charted for cross-stitch.  There was one on Stash Unload on facebook, but I didn't get there in time and someone else claimed it.  That version had been cheerful-ized so it was without woe, far to go, and works hard, and for some reason "Sabbath" was changed to "Sunday".  Anyway, if you find a nice cross stitch pattern for this in the above version  ^, I will offer a finder's reward (via PayPal) of $20, if I claim it successfully.  This is a challenge, because I have only a few steady readers, but stranger things have happened.

I am having a good bit of pain in my thumbs from stitching, my left thumb is sore from holding my hoop, and right one because of the push/pull of drawing a needle through over and over.  I keep picking the sampler up, only to make my hands hurt more.  The right thumb has a lot of arthritis due to the years of pipetting I did in my job as a research tech.  It has been ten years since I retired, I would have thought it would mend itself by now.  But a couple of years ago I broke my right thumb, and the x-rays taken surprised the doctor, who didn't think I should be able to use my thumb much at all.

I went to Hobby Lobby Friday, I wanted to fill in my missing DMC floss skeins, so as to have a complete set.  Not all of the missing ones, just a dozen or so this time.  To my dismay, the cost of a skein has risen from $0.44 to $0.52 each.  The manufacturer is responsible, and not Hobby Lobby, it has been increased everywhere.  As much as we in the US moan about it, the cost in Aus. is $1.50 each so they aren't very sympathetic.  I need to figure out how to organize the floss, I currently have around 400 colors.  They are in individual plastic ziplock bags, and put on binder rings at 75 per ring.  It is far from good, the bags are slippery and twist and there is no way to hang them up.  I need plastic bins to put them in instead of the rings, but I can't find the correct sizes yet.  The nice cabinet is expensive $400 and I can't figure out where I could put it, the house is overflowing with stuff already.  I have too many hobbies.  Update:  I bought 6 cardboard boxes like shoeboxes, to fit in the drawer where the floss has been on rings.  But the bags are too slither-y to put one behind the next, so they are still on the rings.  I wanted to put 3 x 5 index cards in each bag to stiffen them up, but the cards are too big.  Drat.

The bread is nearly done, and smells heavenly.  I love a slice of warm bread with butter (not margarine!) and so does everyone in the family, so a loaf doesn't go very far.

Cartoon for the day: 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Too tired to do a whole post, so this will hold my place for now.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cross Stitch Redux

I post photos last month (March 7th) of some of my cross stitch projects from many years ago, like 20 years ago.  The reason I did was because I wanted to join a Facebook channel for cross stitchers.  There are several (quite a few, actually) that are closed groups.  That means you must be passed by one of the admins for that channel before you can read/write posts there.  The admins want to see examples of one's work, and to make sure that you are faithful, honest and kind.  Sort of.  They actually look at your facebook page, and not your blog, but I wasn't sure and so I posted the photos here as well as there.  I have found other cross stitch things that I still have, but they are "smalls".  Anyway, I was successful in joining the 4 channels I was interested in, and so I too will end up spending waaay too much time on facebook.  Some of the channels are for buy/sell deals, which I am enjoying very much, although I have resisted buying anything.  Mostly.

We did have one last snow last week, but it wasn't much more than a skiff on the lawn.  That hardly counts.  Now surely we are through with winter.

I keep hearing gunfire outside, it is rare for 10 am on a weekday.  This is the country, so rifle fire is fairly constant, even out of hunting season, for target practice.  Rifle fire/hunting is restricted to certain hours, and cannot be within a certain distance from a dwelling.  The ammo for these rifles is pretty expensive too, maybe a dollar apiece.  Anyway, you have to know where the shots are being fired, and then let the sheriff know, to get any kind of enforcement.  If it isn't being fired by one of the sheriff's buddies.

Our old Newfy dog is in her final days.  She hasn't been the same since we had to put her sister down when she got an aggressive cancer.  She has found a new place to hide when we let her out of the barn, behind and underneath a huge holly bush.  I am afraid she will go back in there and then die, I'm not sure how we could get her out of there, dead or alive even if she refuses to come out.  This is the part of pet ownership that I hate.  Is she suffering?  Ill?  Just withdrawn?  Damn.

We have a new addition to the outdoor cats.  There is one that has been an occasional visitor to the garage to sample dinnertime, we called him Stripey.  He was plump and sleek, and we assumed he belonged to one of our neighbors and was just snacking here.  But through out the winter he got progressively thinner and not so sleek, and we concluded that his regular family had moved away and left him.  So now he gets his own plate and as long as he doesn't hassle the old cats he is welcome to stay.  He has picked up some weight and looks sleek again.  I could just throttle his owners.

This has been a downer of a post, we need some humor:

Monday, April 03, 2017

Too tired

I had a 10 am doctor appt., and at 11 am I came out to the car where my son was patiently waiting for me so we could go on to my next appt.  Listening to the radio while he waited.  Hit the key and you guessed it, it wouldn't start.  Dead.  So then he called the dealer where he bought the car, who confirmed that he had lifetime road assistance, and gave him the number to call to get someone out there.  Son had to wait for the garage truck on the other side of the building, because GPS takes you to the front of the building and we were on the back.  When the tow truck arrived, he said he was told it was a keyed-out call, and that he didn't have a jump box in the truck.  Off he went, and we waited for the other guy to come.  He did, jumped it, and we drove directly to the auto parts store for a new battery.  The one in the 2011 Subaru was the original one, the wonder is that it worked all winter long.  Battery = $140.  Doesn't that seem high?  But it isn't like we could shop around.  We got home at 2:30, had to cancel the second appt., we had it for the day.  We take cars for granted, until they don't work.

I have been browsing the net, seeing what  there is for me to buy (ho ho).  I would like a cabinet with shallow drawers to store embroidery floss, which is all numbered and has a key to find where they fit numerically.  Needless to say there are two kinds of cabinets that fit that criteria.  One is a cabinet that wouldn't fit a hanky, and the other kind with just the right dimensions, except for the pricetag.  I have around 500 skeins, and keeping them straight takes me more time than the actually stitching does.  One of the group on facebook suggested having a carpenter make one, but this is a small town, and it is undergoing massive construction on every other corner, and no one is available for a simple task, when they make a load of $$ doing finish carpentry.  I think I will have to get one of the expensive ones, eventually.  Meanwhile I look. 

This is a short post, I am about ready to sleep even though it is only 8 pm.  today's cartoon:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Really bugs me

We got the exterminator to come and "bomb" our attic for the miserable stink bugs which have taken over our house.  It is too soon to tell how much effect it will have.  If necessary we will shut the outdoor cats in the garage and get the outside of the house sprayed.  I think it takes 2 hours to dry, I will have to check on that.

The next job will be to get the gutters replaced.  We had a bad winter two years ago that bent and tore down part of the gutters.  N fastened them back in place, but we are getting leakage in a hard rain, the water comes between the eves and the gutters and spills water next to the house.

It is always something.  I think we are OK on major appliances, but with all of them it is only a matter of time.  The days of keeping a washer, etc., for decades is long over, and few people believe that appliances could last that long.  Now we are grateful if they last 10 years without a repair call.  Planned obsolescence I am certain, keeping all those workers in China busy.  Not that I have anything to say about the Asian workers, but that the quality for even simple things is lacking.  Update:  The furnace/AC has been diagnosed as terminal, it is 19 years old, but the new one, for the entire setup, is costing $9,000.  What next?

I finally got reimbursed for the winter coat I sent back to China when it didn't fit.  Both the seller reimbursed me, including shipping charges, even though the package never made it past Bejing, and the P.O. reimbursed me for the insurance that I got when I shipped it out.  It only took 3 months.  I will never buy clothing, or return anything to China.  Such a hassle.  I got a coat from Land's End instead of the imported one, and by cracky it fit.  We didn't get any cold weather for the entire winter, but I was prepared if we did.  👌

Time to do more laundry, here is today's humor:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The top of old Smoky

I bought some cross stitch fabric from etsy and it came yesterday.  The first package I opened had a musty smell.  I laid it all out on the bed, spritzed it with a little Febreze, put a fan on it and left it overnight.  This morning it smells fine.  The second package smelled like stale cigarette smoke.  After I folded the first lot up and put it away, I spread this one over the bed and gave it a shot of Febreze, and I will let it steep over night.  It is funny, how people who smoke don't think there is much odor left after they stub out the cigarette and go indoors, when in fact it lingers a long time.  Phew!  I should be glad they aren't cigar smokers, I guess.

I am going to try my hand at dyeing some  of my cross stitch fabric, once I get all the bits assembled.  I am going to do tea and coffee as the dyes, and vinegar as the "fixer" .  With these ingredients I won't have to worry about disposing of a toxic solution, it can be poured down the sink.   I need to get a couple of disposable aluminum roasting pans to put in the kitchen sink, this crappy Corian sink will stain badly and I don't like doing the scrub and bleach to fix it.  I'd like it if I can get a crumpled tan/brown finish to look like old parchment for a pattern I have in mind.  I have lots of Aida fabric to experiment with.

For a wonder, the therapist I had given up on, the one who never returned my calls, called to apologize and to set up a meet and greet for next week.  She will call me when she can give me a solid time.  I was so amazed I nearly hung up on her, we get so many spam calls (I have answered two just this morning)  and she talks really fast, just like the spam callers who try to get you to listen past the first 15 seconds.  Now if she just calls me this time...  If she doesn't call this time I will give up.

One of the spam callers yesterday was one who called on behalf of policemen and firefighters who are injured in the line of duty.  I told them to send me information, and I would check them out online to see if they are a valid group.  The caller told me they are a tax deductible group, and when I could get a word in edgewise, I said, yes, but that they are tax deductible does not mean they are a charity.  He hung up on me!  That is a first.  My usual ploy is when they ask, How are you this morning?  I proceed to tell them all my aches and pains, doctor advice, medications (all fictional), they usually hang up first, just to shut me up.

Our neighbor brought us a vegetable pizza, I had never tried one before.  It was delicious!  She is going to spoil us.  Originally I tried to keep up, sending brownies, bread, etc. back, but I have lost the match, and given up.  I wish she would send her apple cobbler again.

Kitchen duty is calling, so here is today's humor:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Too much stuff

Waaay too much.  My son took a pickup load of trash to the dump yesterday, old bed, recliner with all the springs broken, ratty old rugs I didn't know they were in the attic, tons of junk.  The total cost was $12.50  I am determined to clear the attic of everything but the luggage, and maybe not even that.  We have a storage unit for keepers, but there isn't much - Christmas tree, one section of the leather couch, golf clubs (which I need to advertise), etc.  It is worth every penny. 

The worst thing about it is how many stink bugs there are in the attic.  When my son opened the overhead ladder to go up, stink bugs literally cascaded down.  And most of them were dead, but some were still wiggling.  How they do that??  Survive freezing, parboiling, no food and still be kicking?  I have a horror of them, I can't stay in the room if they are flying around, ish.  Time for an exterminator for the attic.  I can't have treatment outside where the cats are, or inside, since they mostly come from the attic. I'm thinking about getting a crew to clear, while we sort in the garage.  So much to do now that the weather has turned nice.  It has, don't you think ?  We're all finished with winter, aren't we?  Please?

My trip to the eye doctor for a checkup, yielded a new script for glasses.  I'm hoping they will eliminate that annoying tip-your-head-up-and down searching for the sharp orientation.  I even found a nice frame on line (Amazon of course) which I am sure won't be available at the optician store.  At least I have insurance which will cover a lot of the expense.  My current glasses are the same for the last 3 years, after the cataract removal. 

This is the dullest post here, maybe because it is 5 am.  I think it is time for a little humor -

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Is It really Spring?

The snow on Friday disappeared with the rain on Saturday.  I sure hope that is the last.  The daffodils are already up, if the cold didn't spoil them, and the forsythia is blooming too.

I have been on ebay, for some retail therapy, and won/bought a bunch of DMC embroidery floss, which I really don't need.  I have 200+ skeins already, and recently got a small plastic box with bobbin-wrapped floss, 69 skeins.  My original flosses (also from ebay 6 months or so ago) are sorted into floss-away bags, which is OK if you don't mind dragging the whole thing out every time you need a little, say, #310 (black).  Whereas with the bobbin system, you just open the box and voila! there it is.  But really, it is just for the fun of bidding, or jumping into "Buy it Now" before it is seen by someone else.  This recent haul is the second type, it was up for only a few hours from when it was listed, and I grabbed it.  Now comes the hard part which is waiting for it to come.  Hopefully in a few days.  Gotta love it.

I am self-debating whether to get a copy of "The Last Dance", starring Patrick Swayze.  All the reviews say that while the movie, plot and script, is a real stinker, every one says the dancing scenes are breathtaking.  This was the last movie made by Patrick before he died of cancer.  His mother had a dance studio when he was little, so he danced from the time when he was a youngster.  A few years ago, he and his wife did a performance for the Academy awards (I think) but I have not found anything on Youtube.  He was my favorite actor, although most of his movies were ho-hummers, except for Dirty Dancing which has become a cult classic of sorts.  I used to joke that I would watch film of him brushing his teeth, just for fun.  I guess I could watch Last Dance with the remote to fast forward through the story.

I finally decided to see a therapist for "grief counseling"  because I am having a tough time now.  It is nearly a year since N died, and I have been having horrible dreams where I am partly awake and in my room, and partly asleep with a nightmare.  It may be because of a change in meds, too, I see the Dr. in a few weeks.  Locally all the medical practices have had a tremendous turnover in staffing, and although my latest doctor said she won't be leaving, I take that with a grain of salt.  She is the 6th doctor I have had in the last few years, some for only 3 or 4 visits.  It is hard to maintain a coherent history when I can't remember who said what, or why they prescribed one drug or the other.  Anyway, I got a few therapist's names from my last therapist (moved away) and have whittled it down one after the other.  Either they don't accept Medicare, or are not accepting new clients, or aren't local, or have given up counseling all together.  The last one, whom I thought would be a good match, won't return my calls, after the encouraging first time.  Maybe she fell down the stairs, I don't know.

I finally got a new mouse for this computer.  The old one had taken up the disorienting  habit of moving when I wasn't holding it.  If I want that kind of motion I'll use a Ouija board!  So for a few bucks, I got a Microsoft one.  It is made in China just like the other, cheaper, ones, but at least there is a USA source for this one, if I need help.  Although what kind of help I would need for a mouse, I don't know.  The new one is very peppy, but can be adjusted if it is too peppy.  I'm still test-driving it.

Well, back to the trenches (cleaning). Today's cartoon:


Monday, March 13, 2017

Bored / boring

I am getting a small amount of followers for this blog, and I hope they aren't too disappointed in the frequency of my posts.  I try to have something reasonably interesting and not post without a subject.  Unfortunately this is one of the posts when I just meander from topic to topic.  Sorry!

The forecast for the eastern part of USA is grim.  The forecasting is usually correct in predicting if it will snow; not very good when it involves the amount of snow.  Still, the local Walmart was packed yesterday, and from the number of cars in their parking lot packed again today.  The two big items are Roll paper and milk.  Milk I can understand, you can't stockpile milk because it will spoil; but T paper?  I wanted to go and get new filters for the furnace, and a plastic storage box for my cross-stitch stash, it won't be a very large box, but I was deterred by the crowds.  As for the cross stitch patterns and such, I decided to have more than a single work in progress, for times like yesterday when I had to rip out everything I had just stitched.  Right now my stuff is overflowing a medium sized box, too shallow and the kits are slippery.  I did get to the pharmacy today, bad time to run out of necessary refills.  I take dozens of meds (slightly overestimated) and I am always out or nearly out of something.  The pharmacy staff know me on sight, sigh.

My son and I were discussing what we will do if we go out to the barn and our old old Newfoundland dog is dead.  She doesn't seem to be in any pain, just moving slowly and having trouble getting up.  Appetite is still good, and her tail wags just as hard as ever.  This is the same dog that had two ACL surgeries, and she has gotten several years since then without pain.  I know she misses her buddy who had cancer and a systemic infection, but there isn't much we can do in that area.  So the question of how to handle a dead dog weighing 120 pounds is a tough one.  Guess we will see when the time comes.  I will miss her.  We seem to be slowly reducing our critter population.  It will be strange when they are all gone.  The horses made it well into their 20s and the cats into their late teens.  I vow, no more horses, dogs, or cats.  I am too old and what would be done should they outlive me?   Anyway, I guess we will take her to the vet, they have done this before.  Unfortunately they charged $400 for the other Newfy, my jaw dropped when I got the bill.  We can't dig a hole for a dog that big, we would need a backhoe, and that isn't possible.  It isn't like we could borrow one from a neighbor.  Guess we will see for that part too.

I need to get a new mouse for this computer.  It is doing strange things, like when I am not touching it and the desk is not shaking or anything, it will scroll up or down, it is a drag when I am trying to read text.  The PC downstairs uses a trackball, which I prefer, but the mouse is cheaper by a factor of 2.  This one is so old, and was my husband's before me, it has potholes where my fingers rest on the surface. 

That is all my sleepy head can manage for today, if you are in the storm's way, stay home if at all possible.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

A Taxing Job

I am doing income taxes; I have it done for son and daughter, they were a snap.  Then I waded into my taxes and got completely bogged down with all the assorted forms to consider.  I am going to have to call one company tomorrow and see if I can figure out where they fit in, in the greater scheme of things.  Bah humbug.

We had a narrow escape with our 2015 taxes.  When I went to do this year's, I looked everywhere for last year's forms.  When we had the Flood several months ago, the boxes with all the taxes 2000 - 2015 were soaked.  Still, each year was in a plastic envelope and none of them were too wet.  What happened, tho, is that they got stuck wherever there was space and carried upstairs.  When we put things back downstairs, the boxes that held the taxes originally were a soggy mess, and so the envelopes went into another box.  Unlabeled.  When i found the box, all of them were there, EXCEPT the 2015 ones.  To make a long story short, we found them at R's office, along with a lot of office-y supplies that we gave to a third grade teacher for her classes.  No one wanted the three ring binders, and R was moving them out when she rooted around to the bottom, and there was a big plastic envelope with "Taxes 2015" written on it.  Also was a folder with credit card information, including one form that had our credit card account no., credit limit, my SSN, and the PIN on it.  Geez, talk about lucky.  Everything was untouched because the water stains on the papers had stuck them together, a little, and they were still stuck, no one had found them.  Thank my lucky stars.  I need a bigger safe deposit box, I think.  Or a bookkeeper on retainer.

The farrier came today to trim the horse's hooves, an every-8-week job.  I pay whatever he wants, because most farriers would rather do a whole stable full of horses, one after the other, than just come out for a single horse.  We did a swap, tho, he wanted our gas powered auger, and in exchange he would do the next two trims for free.  The post hole digger was just sitting in the shed gathering dust, and there is no way I will ever put another fence up.  The last time it was used was to set the mailbox out.  We put up two fences, first with locust tree posts (they rotted off in a few years) and then with pressure treated 4 x 4's set in concrete.  Those are still going strong, except for one the idiot horse has gnawed through.  Anybody want her?  She is 24 years old, stubborn as a mule, with the temperament of a Tasmanian devil, and has not been ridden in years.  I'm way too fond of my bones just the way they are, thanks.  She lives a life of leisure, fed hay year round, hay and grain twice a day, hooves done, stall cleaned, turned out in nice weather, blanketed in cold weather, wormed, vaccinated, vet to look at every little boo-boo, fans in the stall for hot weather, heated water bucket for winter time, automatic fly sprayer etc. etc.  The lady who does my nails says she wants to come to my barn to live. I had a therapist who would chide me (gently) for not riding more (when we had 3 beasts) until I pointed out the care they get for doing absolutely nothing.  Do you think she misses being ridden?

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Well, not really.  I am sorting through all the jewelry I have accumulated over the years, set aside those that need repair (does any store still do this for chains?) and adding chains to all the worthwhile pendants, polishing the silver things (and what a difference it makes) and figuring out what gold is real and what is gold filled.  I'm still not done, I have run out of 30 inch chains, and I am never going to wear necklaces any shorter because I want all my necklaces to fit over my head without having to open/close the chain when I wear them.  My hands shake too much to fasten things around my neck.  And I swear the manufacturers are making the clasps tinier and tinier; probably the same designers that invented transparent steel to enclose all sorts of things.  I notice there are some items where the ads say "frustration-free packaging" and here is a cheer for them.  We all need a little less frustration in our lives...

I have damaged my "good" knee and can scarcely climb the stairs; once I am upstairs (kitchen, living room, etc.) there I stay until I go back downstairs (bedroom) for the night.  My knee feels like there has been a blowtorch on it, yet I have no idea what I did to damage it.  I have to use my cane just to go to the bathroom, and I haven't mastered taking a shower with it.  I just go very slowly when I wash my feet, standing on one leg at a time, and I would greatly appreciate grab bars in the shower, but we tried to install one and couldn't find the studs behind the shower to fasten one to.  Not for the lack of trying.

We have a couple of beautiful mountain ash trees that I don't think will make it until the spring.  The local woodpeckers are chopping huge chunks of bark off the trees in pursuit of a borer insect that has arrived in WV from the north.  All due to global warming that extends the moderate zone southward, bringing the pests along with it.  Did I say, global warming?  I mean temporary weather fluctuations.  Riiight...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The End of Illness

It is 6 am here and I feel better, without taking phenergan or whatever.  Here's hoping it lasts.

We had 4 inches of snow, but today it is supposed to have a high of 60.  I want to go to the drug store -big excursion! - so I guess I will need to get cleaned up.  Meanwhile it ts back to bed.

I wrote the above mini post and then forgot about it.  Now it has been a week with no posts, sorry!  I know you all have been bereft.  This will be short as well, but more than 3 sentences, I would hope.  We will see.

I think spring is right around the corner here, mild weather forecast for the next week or 10 days.  I will try to get out for more than 30 minutes while it lasts, it is still Feb. so nothing is for certain in the local weather.  Last year we had a sizable snow this time of year, so it doesn't pay to get too complacent and do some foolish thing, like putting the snow blower away, or using the last of the ice melt and then not getting any more.  That is only tempting fate.

I am losing steam on my Kitty Trio cross stitch, so I will put it aside for a while until I am ready to go again, just a few days.  Meanwhile I will try machine knitting again and see how my shoulder does.  It feels pretty good now.  I'll start with something small, like dishcloths or a scarf, no loss if I have to frog it.  Probably do the dishcloths, I have a ton of cotton yarn to use up over the next, oh I don't know, the next thousand years.  When I was 12 or so years old, my aunt tried to teach me and my sister how to crochet.  My problem was maintaining even tension, row after row, so the piece wouldn't start out 12 inches across, and then diminish the next row to 10 inches, and so on, until I had a triangular piece at the bottom.  I never did get the knack, although I tried multiple times.  My sister, however took to it like a duck to water and crocheted all the time until she passed.  This delighted my aunt and pi**ed me off.  I gave all the afghans, etc. that she made for me to Goodwill after she died, but that is another story.  It makes sense if you knew the full story.

This damned desk has a slot at the back, all the way across, for wires and cables, a gap of 4 inches or so.  I am getting really tired of fishing back behind the desk for stuff that has slipped down behind the desk, grrr.  I keep trying to clear the surface of the desk, but as soon as I get it done, more stuff amazingly appears in that space.  Then it gradually crawls to the back and oops, there it goes behind again.  Stuff expands and fills the space available to it, I think.

Onward to the kitchen for now, the offspring went shopping this morning and my daughter was hungry when they went and they came home with an amazing array of snacking stuff.  I've got to find space (again) to put it all away where it will get used before the "use by" date.  Such a burden %> )

Today's cartoon:

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


I guess that the weather is mild for now, but I wouldn't know first hand as I have been in bed for the last 4 days.  I went to the Med Express on Sunday and the nasal swab said "guilty!" I have the flu.  I haven't eaten much since Saturday, but I don't miss it.  I saw the dentist yesterday to be prepped for a crown ($$), but today I am worse so I canceled the eye doctor appointment.  I think med visits are my only activities that get me out of the house.  Bleh...

We did have one hellacious clap of thunder last night, I swear it was directly overhead.  I didn't see my chicken hearted cat until hours later, I think she was behind the furnace.  The other three don't like it either, but they hide under the couch, etc., and only briefly if the thunder passes by.   When I was a kid in Florida, where thunderstorms are everywhere, we had a cat who would run OUTside, get soaked, then flee back inside, and if the storm continued, do it all over again.  Maybe she thought the house was  the cause of all the commotion, I don't know.  Maybe she just dared to show the storm who was the boss.  I wanted to give her a shot of cat shampoo the first trip out, so she would at least get clean, but Mom said that was a bad idea.  Guess so.  I would never go back to FL, even in the winter when we are immobilized by ice here.  It is too damn hot there in the summer, and the bugs alone would keep me out.  When I went to see my friend in FL, who was slowly dying of lung cancer, the first visit I stayed in an old motel, and slept with the lights on so I knew were to stomp.  The other visits I slept at her mother's house, which had routine visits from the exterminators, and had a rental car so I could come and go as needed.  Now that she is gone, there is no reason to return to FL.  I would do it now, though, if my friend was still there.

I tried to do some cross stitch while I am in bed, but it makes me sea sick, and it is at a clumsy position anyway.  I still have more patterns to come, I probably already have the right colors of floss, but I will need more fabric for them.  But first I will finish the "Kitty Trio" (see down there ) pattern.    Feeling bad again, I'll quit while I am ahead.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Hoping for a mild February

We had another 3 inch snowfall a few days ago, but not much of it stuck.  It was kinda pretty, big fluffy flakes, as long as I don't have to be in a car on a steep guard rail-less road.  Northern WV is a nice place to live, it has scenery, and is close to a major metro city (Pittsburgh) for shopping.  I personally haven't been to Pitt for years, after all, there is the internet which has the advantage of no crowds, parking, and traffic back to WV.

The preventative maintenance on the furnace was done today, and there are no problems except for too much dust in the immediate area (e.g. the cat litter box right next to the intake duct), but I think I can correct that without moving the box.  I mean, how would we like it if we had to use the bathroom and couldn't find it? We will give it a trial and see if the furnace filter has less dust on it.  A simple furnace filter replaced more frequently won't be a burden either.

I found some neat cross stitch patterns over the last few days, just the pattern and not an entire kit, which runs the cost up a lot.  Here is one of them
It is a fractal cat image, and if the monitors of all you readers can render a reasonable copy, you can see the pattern should be easy, unless it is stitched on black fabric, which is the pits.  I haven't received this pattern yet, I am keeping my fingers crossed about the black fabric.  I did one cross stitch a long time ago on navy blue and swore I would never do a dark background again.  But we know how that goes?  It has to be worked on in the daytime, you have to have a white something on your lap so the holes show up, and you don't want to take some of it out to do over.  But there are lovely patterns with the dark background that are very striking.  Sigh.  Update:  it is stitched on white fabric!

Ugh.  I just was dive-bombed by a stink bug, I'm out of here until it is found.  Hope all of you are having a good down time on your days off, and I am hoping you have no close encounters with bugs.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

January is almost gone

We have had a very mild winter so far, just one 3 inch storm.  The major problem of that storm was one steep section that turned into a sheet of glass and stayed that way for several days.  We live on an undeveloped road, and I haven't seen a plow or treatment truck here in years.  It is ill-advised to put salt on the road, since as it melts, it turns the road itself into a mired mud pit, pretty much permanently.    Cinders are the only salvation, not something you can pick up at Lowes.  We had the furnace people try to come and do the preventative maintenance, but the truck slid into a ditch and he couldn't get it out.  He was lucky, because the ditch is on one side, and a steep drop-off on the other side.  And a rear wheel truck.  No go.

Anyway, we haven't had a replay of the bitter cold weather we had before, when we had to leave the kitchen sink doors open with a heater in the room.  Brrr.

I am finding it difficult to do even the most rudimentary cleaning.  My knee doesn't like it, and now my back is chiming in with its twinges.  I used to have a cleaning service that came every two weeks, so the place stayed pretty much clean all the time, just a little touch-up as needed.  But when I retired, I canceled the service (dumb me) as I would be home all the time and could save a bunch of money by doing it myself.  I didn't remember at the time how much I hate cleaning.  I can do de-cluttering and other odds and ends of housekeeping, but scrubbing and vacuuming not so much.  I am tempted to get a service to come once a month, once the road is reliably passable and once I can see how the $$ works out for the entire year.

I must try to stay away from the news about what Trump is doing.  It upsets me a lot, especially the foreigners trying to come here.  He is such a maniac, the thought of his finger on the red button makes me actually ill.  If only Congress can shift to Democratic control ( how likely is that?) he could be impeached.  If only he gets tired of doing the actual work of the president and resigns.  If only...

I am getting along on  my current cross-stitch pretty well.  It would be nice if I didn't have to pick up and put away the project every night, but these cats would have it destroyed in a single night.  I am also enjoying watching the posts on YouTube of the cross-stitch forum, they are listed under FlossTube and range from excellent to pitiful, but I watch them all, and subscribe to the best.  In place of cleaning, I am afraid.  Here is a picture of what mine will look like eventually:

"Kitty Trio" by Design Works.

I have also bought several patterns (more than several) but I don't know what I will do next.  I can't have more than one project going at a time, that would lead to a lot of half-done things, but I really like this one so I will finish it toot-sweet.  That isn't spelled right, but you know how French is, nothing is written like it is pronounced.  And of course, I don't speak French...

Cartoon for the day:

Take care and stay warm!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy Birthday...

...to me!

As time marches onward I am finding that "the firsts" are getting fewer.

Since N died:
This is my first birthday.
June 6th was the first  (46th) anniversary without him.
Dec. 25th, 2016 was the first Christmas.
Jan. 1st, 2017 marks the first year that I am a widow.  I went to bed early.
May 10th will be the first anniversary of his death.

Even though I can't drive for now, I have kept all of my appointments.
Although I goofed up the bill paying at first, I can now manage the bills.
I took care of the flood downstairs, and what's more, paid for it.
Sold N's car for a nice amount, and thereby canceled the monthly payments.
Filed for the settlement of a law suit, and got the money, yeah.
Remembered to claim his dry cleaning, and donated it to a charity.
Discovered that I really don't like to watch TV or movies, and canceled all the premium channels.

And best of all, I am now able to talk about his death without breaking down.

Still, I feel an overwhelming sadness when little things catch me out, like finding last year's Valentine card.  Or when I hear from someone who doesn't know he is gone.  Seeing mail addressed to him.

Anyway, I am doing better, overall.  If you know anyone who has recently lost someone, give them an extra hug (if appropriate) and a few kind words.  It is hard.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


I signed up for Facebook several years ago.  I really don't care one way or the other, but my very best friend posted regularly and it was hard on her to send an email saying the same information.  She died 2 years ago (?) so the only contacts I have are her family, and some cousins of N, for a total of 16 friends.  Two are some old friends from CA days, and two are friends of the kids (who are not themselves members).  Anyway, I found out how to delete posts, which is all I really need.  No games for me.

I am astonished that the Trumpster (rhymes with dumpster) is still posting on Twitter.  I guess he thinks he is "in touch" with the core of his supporters?  Or just that he likes to seem "with it" ?  In any event, it is not doing him any good as he seems to be the butt of many jokes because of it.  I am still floored that Hilary lost.  I can't believe the stories that circulated about her during the campaign; that she was a murderer was the most egregious lie I heard.  I remember in high school civics class learning that, if you're going to tell a lie, make it a big one.  Guess DT and his cronies read the same civics books.

My family is currently sharing the same virus, as we have all been down with sneezing, coughing, sore throat, etc. one after the other.  I have been exempted for some reason; I haven't had a cold in at least 15 years.  Clean living?  Superior immunity?  Luck, I think.  This current one seems hardier compared to the run of the mill sniffles, so I shall see how it goes. 

I had a long talk with Norm's sister the other night.  She doesn't have an internet contact, which would be easier for me.  About 80% of the way through the conversation, my phone began to lose its charge so we had to cut the conversation.  I don't know why N only talked to her 3 or 4 times a year.  I know he hated the way she screamed at her great-grandson, but all that meant was that he needed to call later in the evening when the kid was put to bed.  I wish we lived closer, it would be good to see her other than at funerals. 

Well, time for the cartoon:

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Woman from Maine

If you marry a Maine woman.....

Three friends married women from different parts of the country. The 1st man married a woman from Indiana, he told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple days but the 3rd day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away. The 2nd man married a woman from Alabama. He gave his wife orders to do all the cleaning, wash the dishes, and prepare gourmet meals. The 1st day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better.  By the 3rd day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table. The 3rd man married a girl from Maine. He ordered her to keep the house clean, the dishes washed, the lawn mowed, the laundry washed and ironed, and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the 1st day he didn't see anything, the 2nd day he didn't see anything, but by the 3rd day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has some difficulty when he pees.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Can't think of a thing to write..

So let's go to the cartoon first thing:

Friday, January 06, 2017

First Snow, dammit

I wouldn't mind the temperature (within limits) or the early darkness, or the wind, if only the snow wouldn't fall on the roads.  We got 3 inches last night, and it is lightly snowing now.  There is just enough to make the driving slippery, but not enough to get the plows out.  I don't have to get around today,  we even have milk and t. paper, the two commodities everyone grabs when the forecast is chancy.  But my daughter has had to go to work this morning, and yes, she is a good driver, and the roads in town are rarely more than slushy, mostly.  I still worry (I am a parent, after all) and having found she made it in, with no trouble, I am now all set to worry about the drive home in the dark.  I never say anything or ask about the drive, there is no need to pass my anxiety on.  Still I wish for clear skies all year round.

I got the check yesterday for the class-action lawsuit, all I need now is to go to the bank.  I still haven't figured out whether I will need to declare it as income, apparently it is not a yes/no question.  I will ask the financial guy his opinion, rather than find yet another guy,  an accountant, to render a definitive decision.  The settlement came with a 4 page document on this question, lots of ifs and  unlesses.  Pain.

I have been spending an inordinate time on YouTube, watching videos on... are you ready?... cross stitching.   I know, how could hundreds of people with regular lives make these videos on such a simple topic, but still I watch.  I have 10 tips I wish I could give to all of them, they are consistently guilty of most all of them.

1.  Don't scratch your head or play with your hair.
2.  Try really hard to stop saying "um"  "so"  "you know" every other sentence.  Try.
3.  Don't mumble; we are not mind readers.
4.  Make eye contact with the camera (and therefore us) and don't peer into the distance at the side; and mumble.
5.  Be organized.  Don't rummage around on your table or desk for your notes, or something you wish to share with your audience.  Have it right at hand.
6.  If you are showing projects that are completed, if you haven't gotten it framed or made into something, at least have it ironed, and maybe even tacked to a piece of foam board temporarily.  It drives me nuts when your project curls up or flops around as you hold the corners up to the camera.
7. Have something to say, not just parade a looong series of things you are working on.  A tip, a feature, something.
8.  And since we are here, if you have 20 stitches done, it doesn't count as "started".
9.  Keep your pets out of the video; they aren't cute to anyone but you.  A photo or one brief facebook, OK, but not a pet distracting you on camera and knocking over your notes.
10.  Watch your videos after they are done and before you post them.  Editing really isn't that hard.  It helps if you are not the presenter AND trying to fiddle with your camera.

In summary, be calm, collected, organized, and enthusiastic about your topic.  Try.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year

I managed to sleep through the fireworks in the neighborhood at midnight, thank you very much.  I didn't think they would do them as it was cold and rainy, but when you gotta go boom! then go boom!

I surely hope this year is an improvement over 2016.  Between deaths, flooding, illness and injuries, it would be hard to equal that this year.  Or so I hope.  Almost 8 months since my husband of 45 years died.  I think if I had some warning, if it had happened in the hospital, if I hadn't seen the CPR being done, maybe it wouldn't have been such a shock.  No chance to say goodbye.  The gathering (not an actual service, just an opportunity to mingle with those who knew him over the years) was a success, not as a social party, but talking with people who worked with him, mostly.  He was retired for 16 years, but we couldn't go through the mall without at least one person stopping him to chat.  He was the director of personnel for a large government entity, co-workers of many hundreds.  He was cremated, something he had stated many times.  I'm not sure he would have approved of the gathering, but it made me feel a lot better, especially since his sister could be there.  Their brother had died early in the year, so now his sister is the last close relative.  I wish we lived closer.

 The farrier came this morning to trim the hooves of the last horse we own.  It is a clear blue sky today, and the temperature is mild, unlike the last two weeks.  We had all the faucets and piping in heated rooms but I still felt like sinking into the ground when we lost the water;  I thought the pipes had frozen.  I called the water company and she told me there was a break in the water line that was being worked on.  Whew.  Our neighbors called too, with the same fear.  I'm seriously thinking about moving to a place where there is no snow or frigid temperatures, but it would have to wait until our animal census is zero.  Maybe one cat.  No horses, no dogs, no more cats.  It is not like I have a circle of dear friends, and there are no ties to keep us here.  It is worth thinking about.

I have been a slacker for writing in my journal, but it is not like I am trying to win a prize with a daily diary.  I will write when it feels right.  My blog here serves as a similar purpose, and is easier to write because it is easier to do revisions than to cross out and erase there.

That is the latest update, more or less.  Hope all the readers here have an enjoyable and trouble-free year!

 slogan for the day:  "I put the PRO in Procrastinate."