Saturday, December 31, 2011

Comin' at you

I am moving slow tonight, this seroma removal has truly taken the starch out of my sails. I had to remove the dressing tonight, which I am sure the doctor would wish I hadn't; but the itching had me tearing at my skin nonstop. Now there is a rash, but small and sooth able with cortisone cream carefully applied above and below the incision. Somehow I had pictured an incision 2 or 3 inches long with lightweight sutures, and instead I have metal sutures on a large incision 6 inches long. And, may I add, ugly ugly ugly.

Thank you all for the words of encouragement throughout this endless process. It is funny how "here" friends disappear, and "far" friends hang in there. I don't know all of you who send me words of encouragement, but I thank each one of you for even the shortest comment. Should I ever be in your shoes I hope I will pass the hugs and kisses along.

Bumper sticker of the day: "All is not lost - but much is misplaced"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Very tired

I'm back from my "minor surgery", it's 1:30 in the morning and I hurt. I have to leave the drain in till my next appointment, next Thursday. I'm calling the doc tomorrow for something stronger than ibuprofen. Meanwhile I'm walking around to feel better.

Oh yeah, and the first thing they did when I got to the surgery center was to remove my shoes and socks and put on little booties, thereby covering up my pedi and all my callus-smoothing efforts!

I got the loveliest things for Christmas, and got to watch the smiles from the gifts I gave lighting up the faces I love. I gave a rice cooker to R that she wanted, and a small Nikon camera to C, so he won't have to borrow mine. N got a Kindle Fire, which he hasn't put down except to charge it since he opened it. Our Christmas dinner was steak and baked sweet potatoes, so minimal effort and no leftovers yeah! A quiet but satisfying day.

I hope all of you had a likewise relaxing or exciting day with family and friends, and are ready to get back to a normal routine again. Maybe you have this week up to New Year's day off from work and can take in a movie or two. I'm going to watch the DVD of Cowboys and Aliens, it looks like a hoot. But whatever you do, remember to give a little thanks to our men and women in the armed forces who cannot be home just yet, and their families who are eagerly awaiting their return. Bless them.

Back to bed.

Wordless Wednesday, a day late.

Bumper sticker of the day: "Money talks. But chocolate sings!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Same song, second verse

Next Wednesday I will have surgery to remove a hematoma/seroma from the area near the mastectomy scar. Outpatient, general anesthesia, quickly done. I am consciously preventing myself from thinking about it. Tomorrow is Christmas, and that is all I am focusing on for now. Once Christmas is over, I will work on getting the diet and exercise efforts underway. I won't dwell morbidly on the what-ifs and such. I won't.

Note to self: shave legs.

Did you ever hear the definition of "minor surgery"? It's surgery that happens to someone else.

The weather here has been so weird, hot/cold, clear skies/rainy and grey, even thunder. I still haven't blanketed the horses, because the blankets are thickly padded and I don't want them to swelter when the temperature goes up. As long as they are in the barn, they are warm without blankies, the barn keeps out the wind and traps the heat they produce. I am so glad we built this barn, the old one was so inadequate in cold weather. Now they have heated water buckets, hot water, airy stalls where they can see each other, and have that cozy feeling when we shut the big door. A nite light. Toys in the stalls. All the mod cons.

what the well-dressed equine is wearing this season...

Bumper sticker for the day: "It could be worse -- what if sex was fattening?"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Where I will be in March...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Oncology nurse called and set me up with surgeon. He aspirated the lump, which diminished it, but when I said, "So it is a cyst?" he hemmed and hawed, and set me up to come back on Thursday. What I wouldn't give for a straight answer.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


What is it about yawning? There I am, in bed, it's cool and dark and I am dozing when bam! I yawn. This in turn makes my eyes water, which makes my nose run, which means I must search out a kleenex, all of which makes me far more awake than I was before the yawn. How weird is that?

And speaking of the word weird, what is that i before e except after c stuff? Weird.

And did you ever notice the word small is a big word, and big is a small word?

When you go to the grocery store, if you don't need a cart, there will be so many at the entrance you can hardly move past them, but if you do need a cart, they will all be in the parking lot?

And isn't it useless to take your car to the shop when it is making a funny noise, when it will never make it while you are there, only as you drive away? I personally need more than a noise to go to a repair place; it has to go knock knock and pour smoke at the minimum.

Speaking of noises, the computer here is making strange clunk clunk sounds when it starts up; but so far no smoke and no blue screen of death, so I'll keep going. It will probably die right after Christmas, when all the holiday bills come in.

Do you think it is a bad sign when the people at the surgeon's office recognize you by name?

"The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers."

Note on office door: "I AM LOST. I have gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Worrysome Thursday

Yesterday I went for my every-three-weeks cancer treatment. When I met with the oncologist for the pre-treatment exam, I pointed out an area on my demi-breast (the one that had the mastectomy) that felt like a hard knot. He agreed it was new and ordered an ultrasound, done right then. The unfortunate part is that the oncologist will be out of town for the next three days, and I won't find out any result until Tuesday of next week. Which is eons away, from my point of view. So think good thoughts for me, that this will turn out to be a harmless cyst.

T shirt of the day: "Easily distracted by shiny objects."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Bumper Sticker of the day: "Think outside the quadrilateral parallelogram."

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Insomnia again. And not just wakeful, but ready-for-the-day. I'd like to get some laundry going, bake a few muffins, and in general make some noise; this would not go well with husband and kids (30 year old kids), at 3 am. So I come in here and post to my blog.

Friday a week ago we had a minor traffic accident when we were stopped to let a car, three cars in front of ours, make a left turn. Unfortunately this was on a narrow twisty two lane road that gets heavy traffic and has a 55 MPH speed limit. The car behind us couldn't stop in time and rear ended us. Her car, a Chrysler Sebring, was pretty messed up in the front, bumper, grill, hood. Our car, the Lincoln, had 2 cracks in the rear bumper and a small chunk of the bumper missing. Really really minor, but noticeable. This Friday the insurance estimator took a look, and figured up the cost to replace the bumper: $1100. Isn't that insane? Yes, it is a 2010, but still... Anyway I feel fortunate that it was no worse, and no one hurt. I hate that road at the best of times, but especially at night. And we have driven on it every day for the last 30 years, because it is the only road to get home, coming from town.

Christmas is a mere 2 weeks away and I AM NOT READY. The tree is up (see below) but that is about the limit of what has been done. All of us used the internet to buy gifts, so for the most part it is just a matter of waiting for UPS Santa to come. And trying to figure out what is in each box by rattling it. A few mall trips are necessary, but on weekdays. I don't know why this year I feel so bah humbug, other than having cancer I mean, we didn't even get any Christmas stuff out of the attic other than the tree. I think I'll just buy some wrapping paper and call it done. No bows, because the cats chew them, get them all spitty and punctured. I used to make bows myself, all kinds of shapes and whatnot, but that was a long time ago. Humbug.

Did you know that humbug is a candy, like a mint? Peppermint flavor and toffee stripes. Here is a photo from Wikipedia:

Now you know...

Well back to bed, if not to sleep.

Bumper sticker for the day: "The voices in my head told me to buy more shoes."

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Back again

I have enjoyed the break from posting here, but I don't want to get too complacent or I won't be posting for a month. Or more.

The latest here at the cat mansion (we're only here to open cans) is that Mac, the oldest, somehow managed to get outside -- not once but twice -- and cut or scraped his hind foot. It is a very small wound, but he will not leave it alone, and so it seeps blood all the time, staining everything he sits on (meaning, everything in the house). We took him to the vet, who gave him an antibiotic and shaved his foot, and put him in an E-collar so he can't reach his foot. He hates it, and bangs into everything and can't figure out how to back up and give it another go. For those who don't know what an e collar is, here is Mac in all his glory:

New front door, patio door, and all the interior doors have been replaced. Getting rid of all the dark, cheap doors (I call them trailer doors) and replacing with solid oak doors and getting outside doors that don't let the wind whistle in all winter is a tremendous improvement. We have other projects in mind for after the new year.

Christmas shopping is going along OK, no panics on my part yet. I haven't noticed any real crowds except at (ta-da) Walmart. Yes I do shop there, it is 4 miles closer to us than any other grocery store and it has cheap plastic junk that I just can't do without. Plus the photo printing thingys. In the store today, they called "anyone with cashier training to the registers" which I have never heard them do before. I'll bet they have had to lay on extra runs for the armored car pick-ups too.

It's too cold in here tonight to linger over this post. It's me for hot chocolate and a book.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29th

Insomnia again for me; never a problem for Cookie.

I got an eye exam today, and I'll need a stronger bifocal prescription. As it is, I remove my glasses to read small print, or put on reading glasses. I am breaking down, one system at a time!

I brought Willie in from the field yesterday, as it was beginning to storm. He was in a great hurry to get in (where the grain is). For a geriatric horse he has a lot of spunk in him sometimes. I will go out tomorrow to clean him up and put on his winter blanket, as the forecast is for snow and freezing temp. (as if I can rely on a forecast here!)I'll try to remember to take a photo or two to show him in a clean blanket. It won't be clean for long, on the outside at least.

I'm still going through the old photos and trying to make some sort of order out of them. But I keep getting distracted by the photos themselves. Even mundane photos of the yard are remarkable because I can see how much everything has changed or grown. The pictures of my bedroom are a reminder of what it looked like before I started stuffing everything in there. Including all the tubs of photos. I just wish it felt like I was making progress, but I am afraid I am only "churning", moving stuff from A to B, B to C, and C to A, for example. I need to harden my resolve and throw away all the old old stuff, that seems to matter : old report cards, drawings, "awards" and on and on. The question I ask myself is, will the kids want this? Will I care? If the answer is no, pitch it. I'll never miss it.

I have almost finished the blogging for November, which is a good thing because I have run out of things to write. Even the bumper stickers...

T shirt for the day: "I am a bomb technician. If you see me running, try to keep up."

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28th

Almost done with the daily postings for NAtional BLog POsting MOnth. Today's prompt, to get the creative juices flowing, is "Describe an heirloom that has been passed down through generations of your family. What is its significance to you personally?" And right away I thought of the farm. Grandad's parents built the house in 1905, in Braxton County West Virginia. When Grandad sold it, in 1969, it was a great shock to all the family. We still don't know the reason why he did it; speculation is that the buyers knew something about him or his business dealings, and coerced him into the sale. At the time, one of his daughters was living at the farm with her husband, who was working like crazy to do upkeep on a farm that had been let go too long with little maintenance. His son-in-law's understanding was that the farm would be left to them. All the contents of the farmhouse and barns was put up at an auction, and sold for pennies on the dollar. They sold Grandma's wood rocker for $25. Grandad and Grandma bought a little old house close to town; Grandad died at the house in 1971, and Grandma went to live with my aunt in Florida.

But the heirloom, what about the heirloom? It was a pendant, a very plain silver pendant in a circle the size of a wedding ring, with a tiny blue stone in the center. I have no idea if it was valuable, but I expect not, given the family means. It now belongs to my uncle, the last of the original family, and will be passed down to his son, I think. To me, it represents a link, an unbroken circle, that connects generation to generation. The story is that it was my grandma's mother's pendant; she died when Grandma was a child, and her father remarried a very strict woman. Grandma's only physical link was through this small pendant, and I know she treasured it. I look now at all the possessions we have now, and I know no single one will ever stand out for my children. But gold and diamonds not withstanding, all of it is worth less that that plain silver pendant.
Note: it was a pendant, not a pin; I stand corrected.
Thought for the day: "Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27th

I've always enjoyed Garfield, and so I'll borrow this for a day or two.

It is hard to be nice when you are ill a lot of the time; there are so many things to do, and these things need help to get done. It seems that unless I point out what these things are, they get ignored. How can you ignore a sink full of dirty dishes? They have to be loaded into the dishwasher, or hand washed. A garbage can is overflowing, take it out to the bin. And on and on. I hate to be a nag, and I try to be reasonable about priorities, But in the end, a lot of it doesn't get done.

I think I am stronger, but then days like these occur, where my knees feel like I've
got sharp daggers in each knee, especially when I do stairs. Even on flat floor, my balance takes a few seconds to even things up. The drugs are great, except I want to fall asleep about an hour after I take one. May be time to ring up the orthopedic for more needle jabs.

I've got to do do something with my chemo-hair. It is very curly (LIKE A FRENCH POODLE!!) and the color is all wrong. I will try a different product on it tomorrow. After all, the worst result would be something that makes my hair fall off or has to be cut off, leaving us back at square one.

I'm falling asleep at the keyboard, and I forgot the point I was trying to make. Next time.

For the day: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26th

I slipped on the stairs early this morning and hurt my ribs as I crashed. Thus I am inclined to give this post a miss, with only my daily bumper sticker. More tomorrow.

Bumper sticker: "THIS IS MY CLONE. I'm actually somewhere else having a much better time."

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25th

The last mowing of the year! Hooray!

At the beginning of the spring, all of the garden catalogs arrive, and getting outside to plant flowers, etc., just seems so great after a long messy winter. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm doesn't last. This summer was very rainy and the grass just leaped out of the ground, the weeds sprouted and grew while my back was turned, and keeping up with everything made me want (every year) to pave the whole thing over and paint it green.

It always tickles me when people come to get horse manure for their garden. It is rarely in demand in the fall, which is when it should be applied, just top dressed and let it rot through the winter, then come springtime, till it under. But no, everyone wants it in the spring when the gardening bug bites, and they always take the top-most part of the pile, when the really good pure stuff, no oat or corn seeds in it, is down under the top-most layer, but you gotta dig for it. The very best of it is way at the back edge, against a big rock basin where it has been curing for 10 or so years, since the last guy with a backhoe came and took every bit of it. There it looks like black earth, all composted and rich.

One of our neighbors came by while we were outside and commented on the two nice little pine trees we have in the flower bed right next to the house. I didn't let on that they are artificial, because everything we plant in there dies, it either gets flooded out when the gutters overflow after a hard rain, or dies from lack of water when we forget to water them. These two artificial ones look very real even close up, and I look forward to admiring them for a long while. And also won't worry that they will get too big, like a couple of (live Christmas trees) evergreen trees we planted many years ago at what seemed like a good distance from the house, but which are now 40 feet tall and 20 feet across at the bottom, right against the house now. Of course, we have lived here for 31 years, and things do grow well, where we have used some of that good manure ourselves over the years...

Refrigerator magnet of the day: "Many people have eaten my cooking and gone on to live normal lives."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24th

Well, here we are, another feast eaten, another kitchen cleaned up, another ton of leftovers in the fridge. Only an optimist would ask, what's for dinner? on the day after Thanksgiving. My family did a lot of the before-and-after, as I never feel too spiffy after a cancer treatment. No one wants dessert, no surprise there.

When I was a teenager I always got stuck with the dish washing afterwards. No electric dish washer, just people powered. It drastically effected my enjoyment of the meal, knowing that I would be elbow deep in hot suds in a manner of minutes. The dishes were "the good ones" and heaven help you if you broke one. There were tons of pots and pans, an entire sink-full of silverware (also the good stuff), and large platters and bowls and such. It all had to be hand-dried and put away right away because there wasn't anyplace to stack it once it was clean. Usually someone else helped with that part of it. For me, the worst part was the way my hands felt after being in water all that time, all prune-y and raw. Even now I wear rubber gloves whenever I wash things by hand, I just can't stand the way my hands feel otherwise. But I also missed out on some good conversation around the table after the meal, when everyone was sipping a coffee and letting dinner settle. I'd give a lot to have that part back again, all that family is gone now, one by one.

The cats of course are severely bent out of shape because they were banished to a bedroom starting in the afternoon. It is impossible to keep them off the dinner table at the best of times, and once it is set for dinner, eternal vigilance is necessary. Now they are out and looking for handouts, as soon as they smelled the turkey. Poor souls, it's tuna tonight.

Tomorrow starts the mad Christmas shopping frenzy. You couldn't pay me to go shopping on Black Friday. The advertising circulars were twice the size of the actual newspaper today, and I'm sure will be tomorrow too. But I don't see anything in them that I can't live without, thanks. And I hate crowds, and avarice is never pretty, and being rude seems to be the way to behave. I think I'm getting old.

Time for a little nap I think.

Note for the front door: "Ring bell and run. Dog needs exercise."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23rd

Well tomorrow is a big day for eating and giving thanks. Mostly what I am thankful for is lots to eat... No really, I am grateful for my health and my family, all things considered.

The NaBloPoMo prompt for today is, What piece of music changed your life forever? And I would have to say, Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. I was in high school chorus and we performed this at Christmas time to a very full audience. (There were nearly 200 of us in the combined choir.) My parents didn't come; my friend and her mother drove us to the concert. Up until that time I had considered myself a pretty hot vocalist; in addition to the women's chorus and mixed chorus, I sang in the church choir, and I could read a piece of music (a regular hymn, I mean) in the alto part and sing it right without hearing it first. I played classical guitar fairly well, and some bluegrass too, though my calluses were not tough enough to play a long time.

But that night at the recital, finally hearing all the voices at once singing this incomparably beautiful piece of music, I realized I would never be anything but a dilettante in music, because I lacked the discipline and single-minded drive to be excellent. And even now, when I hear the Hallelujah Chorus, it brings a lump to my throat, and I remember how all our voices soared in the big auditorium, and how I never again felt that way about music and performing.


Change of subject: I had another cancer treatment today, and it went very smoothly, no reactions and back home by 11:30, where I sacked out for two hours. I feel pretty good now, and the pies for tomorrow are baking and sending me mad for a taste. You know, cake you can taste, and I do, when you shave off the very top of one of the layers to make it perfectly flat and then dab on a bit of icing, yum. But there is no way to sneak a sample of pie, you just have to wait for dessert time to roll around, by which point you are so sated on the rest of the meal, pie is nice but not a terrific encore. But I will struggle along as best I can, eating some of everything including pie, and then I will need another two hour nap to recover, I am sure.

Hope all of you have a good holiday and time to spend with family and friends near and far. And if Thanksgiving is not a holiday for you, I hope you fix an extraordinary meal just the same, Thanksgiving making a wonderful excuse to overindulge this one day.

Thought for the day: "My mind works like lightning. One brilliant flash and it's gone."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22nd

This is a test on increase in font size. Well, that seems to work well, it was just a bit cramped in the 12 px size. I kept losing my place, or having to backtrack. This should work out

Got that sorted for now.I have an appointment next week to have my eyes checked, I've been reading the paper by peering over the top of them.I hope my cataracts have not worsened.

EEK! there is only 4 minutes to midnight to get this in on the 22nd. I have found a poem I want to share, It is
The Woman I will be.

I shall wear diamonds and a wide brimmed hat with ribbons and flowers on it.
And I shall spend my social security on white wine and carrots.
And sit in the alley of my barn and listen to my horses breathe.
I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the dappled mare across the moon struck meadow
If old bones will allow.
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod,
As I walk them past the gardens to the barn
And show, instead, the flowers growing there
In stalls fresh-lined with straw.
I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair as if it were a jewel.
And I will be an embarrassment to all who look down on me,
Those who have not yet found the peace in being free
To love a horse as a friend,
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With nuzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the Woman I will be when I am old.

Author unknown

Until tomorrow

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21st

I do genealogy on our families, and I know most of what I find interesting others would be bored to tears. But there are a few family tales that I think anyone would appreciate, so I'll include one here. If it bores, just surf on by, I won't blame you.

This is a story told about two families back around the first part of 1900, as told by an elderly relation to one of my cousins.

"My grandfather was Peter H-, and he had a younger brother named Luther, and Luther married a woman named Minnie; and back in those days it was customary when a couple married -- poor families-- they would borrow furniture from relatives until they could establish their own -- buy their own furniture and what have you, so Luther borrowed a bedstead from my grandfather, his brother, and he had already borrowed $50 from him to get married. Everything went alright for a short time, and they lived neighbors; and Luther asked my granddaddy about tending some tobacco on my granddaddy's land, right close to Luther's house. And my granddaddy says, "Well, that's all right, Luther, but you'll have to put a fence around it, because I'm going to pasture that field." And Luther said, "All right." But Luther neglected to put a fence around it, and went ahead and set his tobacco out, and my granddaddy's cows got up there and got to walking around in these young tobacco plants, and Luther sicced his dogs onto my granddaddy's cows, and the dogs ran the cows down to Granddaddy's house, and my granddaddy walked out with his shotgun and buckshot both his dogs. Luther heard the shots, he wasn't too far, about half or a quarter of a mile, and so he went down there, and was upset about my granddaddy shooting at his dogs. Now grandaddy would always *sniffle* when he got offended or got excited, and he says, *snff*,*snff*, *snff*, if you don't like it, he says, "I've got the same thing for you!" And Luther took his dogs and went back home. Well, the next day, Luther had come by in a wagon, and set the bedstead over the yard fence and went to Dawson Springs and rented a house or an apartment or something in Dawson Springs. And a short time later, about a month or so later, they went to a restaurant -- my granddaddy went went to a restaurant in Dawson Springs -- and as he went in one door, Luther came in the other. So they both went to the same table, sat down, and one of them, I don't know which, but one of them, ordered two plates (back in those days, you just ordered a plate lunch, you had no choice of what went on it) -- one of them ordered two plates, and the other ordered two coffees, and they sat there and ate, and drank their coffee, and each got up and paid for what they had ordered, and went out separate doors and never did speak to each other. But Luther, a short time after that, he and Minnie went to Arkansas, and they were gone about 20 years, or maybe a little more, to Arkansas. In the meantime, my granddaddy went ahead and put a fence around that tobacco, and tended it, and sold the tobacco. And according to his bookkeeping, after he paid himself for his work, he considered that Luther still owed him $9 of the $50 he had borrowed from him."

Family, nothing like it.

Bumper sticker for the day: "Instant human. Just add coffee."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20th

This is my dining room, at one end, where all the plants are clustered. Other than this one spot, I can't get anything elsewhere to live, much less flourish.

I am stuck for anything to say tonight, so this will have to do as a place holder. I promise to do better tomorrow.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19th

I've been reading a blog topic about "small moments that stick with us". And I immediately thought of Hurricane Donna in 1960. There was a ritual to getting ready for a hurricane. Bring in the trash cans and flower planters. Fill the bathtub with water (for flushing). Fill jugs with water (for drinking). Put down the storm awnings, fasten plywood over the doors (which were glass). Check for sterno and candles, get some dry ice if you could (for the fridge), batteries, matches, maybe a camping lantern and camp stove (we didn't have these usually), pull the car up against the house, get non-perishable food, and of course milk and toilet paper, those two indispensable items even today, (only now for snow storms). Listen on the TV or radio, and then get ready for the power to go off, usually well before the actual winds hit. I remember it was exciting, being at home in the dark, hearing the wind shriek outside. Donna was a very destructive hurricane, the "most destructive hurricane of the season. After reaching Category 5 strength in the open ocean in early September, it passed north of the Greater Antilles as a Category 4. Donna hit the Florida Keys, Fort Myers, Florida, the Outer Banks, and finally Long Island, New York on September 12. Donna caused $400 million in damage (1950 dollars, $3.3 billion in 2005 dollars), and caused 364 deaths, of which 148 were directly caused by the storm." (Wikipedia) It wasn't until days later that we found out how much destruction Donna really caused. We were lucky; we missed school for several days, and that was exciting, and got really tired of baked beans and such. My parents missed work, of course, which meant no pay for those days, so there was an economic pinch later, independent of actual damage. Mom had 3 or 4 flat tires over the next week or so, from nails in the roads. But what I remember the most was that the eye of Donna passed directly over our house. One minute the wind was screaming, and the next, all quiet. We popped outside to check on one of our trees, which eventually had to be cut down since the roots had pulled loose. It was strangely still inside the eye, blackness all around the sides and blue sky in the middle. The air was breathtaking, I guess due to atmospheric pressure, but it felt like I breathed in more than I blew out, a strange feeling. Then back into the house, and soon the wind was howling again, only from the opposite direction. We hurried around and closed the windows on the storm side and opened them on the downwind side; this was supposed to keep the roof from blowing off, but I don't know, that may have been a superstition. I don't figure a few open windows would do much if your roof was blowing off.

I remember Mom telling us that our aunt had lost part of her roof, and I pictured that as a whole chunk of roof open to the sky, you could look straight up and see the rain; but of course what it really was, a bunch of the shingles and the roofing paper were blown off, so the rain got in. I was terribly disappointed when we went to her house and it still apparently had a roof that was just fine.

There were several hurricanes over the years and I think their stories just got folded into the Donna storm, when I was 9 years old. But being out in the eye, that I remember like it just happened. Memory is a strange thing, isn't it?

This is Donna.

Bumper sticker of the day: "Remove backing and adhere to any smooth surface."

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18th

I am greatly enjoying doing the exercises in the Photoshop book/CD that I bought nearly two years ago. I hadn't meant to wait so long to go through it, but every time I would have a photo that cried out for some hocus-pocus in an editor, I had to do it quickly and so I just plowed forward using the old trial and error method. Now I know there are far faster and easier ways to get a decent photo, starting with one that is conspicuously wrong. I think I may take the advanced class on-line when I am through this and have practiced for a while.

Thinking of classes, I remember when I was a senior in high school, the English classes assigned a project about an author, you had to do research, make notes on index cards (which had to be turned in too) and write a paper about him/her. There was a list of authors to pick from, and I picked H.G. Wells. My friend Susan picked John Donne, don't ask me why (that's a joke, he of the "Ask not for whom the bell tolls?", OK, not much of a joke anyway) and we did the research together at the Miami-Dade Junior College library. No encyclopedias. When it came time to turn the papers in, Susan gave me hers to type (she couldn't type at all, and I almost could). But when I read it, it was awful! Incomplete sentences, one sentence as an entire paragraph, misspellings, etc. So, I changed it. I knew as much about her paper as my own, from helping her at the library. I smoothed it out, phrased it better, but it was still her work, I felt. Her mother called me and thanked me for the editing I did. She got an A from her teacher; I got a C. My teacher didn't like science fiction, I think. I complained, and so she sent my essay to another teacher (Susan's teacher, in fact) but the grade came back as a B, which I had to take. Like there was any doubt that another teacher would overrule mine. One of those growing up footnotes in life.

H.G. Wells

Bumper sticker for the day: "I do whatever my Rice Krispies tell me to."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17th

I've been looking over the blogs in my bookmarks, and it struck me how many of them have not been updated in a long long time. Like 6 months or over a year, even. Do you think I should just delete them, and work on finding good bookmarks in their place? Some of them, like Magazine Man (link over there>>>>>) have been a constant inspiration since I first began this blog. It is a shame they don't give some closure (new job, too busy, etc.) to their blogs. If I ever give this one up I'll say so, and not have it just sputter off into oblivion.

One of the NaBloPoMo prompts earlier this week was about recounting a traumatic event. One this week involves facing a fear. This story is about both. When I was a teenager my sister and I were alone at home and we were baking cookies. When they were in the gas oven, we began cleaning up the kitchen. I went out the back door with a bag of trash; just inside the glass door, on the right, was the stove. I was looking at the edge of the stove when it went BOOM and flames shot out around the oven door and blew the door off the stove. I heard my sister scream, but I couldn't bear to go in by the back door, and so I raced around to the front door to find her there, screaming. Neighbors came from all over to the house, and one brave man raced in, pulled the stove away from the wall and shut the gas off at the back of the stove. When everything calmed down, we went inside to call Mom at work. Her first question was, was the kitchen clean when everyone went in? Which maybe wasn't the response I expected. Anyway, the rest of that day neither of us would walk past the kitchen to go to the bedrooms or the bathroom, for fear of being trapped in the back of the house. Over the next several weeks the fear only got worse. I slept in the living room on the couch. And in the end, Mom and Dad bought an electric stove and replaced the old gas one. What had happened, was that the old stove did not light the oven automatically, you had to strike a match and hold it to the hole in the bottom on the oven. We did that, but apparently the flame blew out, the oven filled with gas which ignited when the gas reached the pilot lights on the stove burners. Stoves aren't made like that anymore, you can see why. But the recollection of that fear, the gut twisting breathless bracing I had to do to walk into the kitchen before the stove was replaced, stuck with me for many months. When people complain about how shoddy modern-day things are made, I think of the gas stove, and I know that some old things change for the better.

Thought for the day: "Support a cause. Stop plate tectonics."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16 Wordless Wednesday

Christmas Cactus

Bumper Sticker for the day: "If this sticker is getting smaller, the light is probably green."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15th

New template!!! Woohoo! I bought the template ($20) and then installed it myself, including adding two new fonts for the header. I am so pleased. I haven't seen one like it, although it is "premade". I even got all the widgets in place again.

Today Raven, the black Newfy, had her 6 week checkup post surgery on her ACL at the vet. She walks with a decided limp, and her left foot toes under a lot, but at least she CAN walk. Bring her back in a month, and probably no restrictions by then. She really wants to get out of the stall (12 x 12, so it's not a little kennel) but for now only on leash for a few minutes at a time. Two days ago she spied another dog, and tried to stand on her hind legs at the fence to bark, but no good. She doesn't realize she can't jump and run anymore. She is 3 years old. The other Newfy is like an overgrown puppy, despite being 3 herself, and far too rambunctious. When she gets to tearing around, she knocks us right over if we aren't paying attention and brace ourselves.

We went out to dinner last Friday (we try to go every Friday, just to get away from the kitchen and cooking). We went to Ruby Tuesday, it's like TGI Fridays. I had an awful seafood platter, crab cake, shrimp and lobster. Sounds good, yes? But it wasn't. I hate that. N had a steak that was the rarest medium I've ever seen, basically it was warm meat, and it was sirloin not ribeye. Also, we got seated near the door, and I kept seeing people I know, which means being sociable when they walk past, and I like it better when we are more anonymous. So we won't be going back anytime soon.

This is one of the NaBloPoMo prompts for this month. It is, "When was the first time that you realized that your home was not like other people’s homes?" I always knew that our house in Miami was not like the ones we saw on TV. For one thing, it was made of cinder blocks; there was no carpet, only linoleum throughout, although the bathroom was tiled everywhere. It had no stairs, no garage (only a carport) and we had beautiful outdoor plants, like gardenia, alamanda, orchid tree, avocado tree. My aunt had a "Florida room" which was basically a big living doom at the rear of the house, with big windows that looked out at the yard. No pool. I remember being very concerned about how Santa was going to come in, since we had no fireplace. But he managed.

Time for a doctor appointment. I am now officially half way through the month of November, and have posted every day (so far). Yeah me!

Thought for the day: "Follow your dreams, except the one where you're at school in your underwear."

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14th

Whose idea was it to post every day? I struggle to post every week. I'll give it another shot tomorrow, but for now this is it...

Thought for the day: "Beauty is only a light switch away..."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13th

This is my sister-in-law and her son. As of last Sunday, he is a grandfather. As you might guess, the mother (his daughter) is very young, and the father? no one in the family has met him. Different worlds, different times.

I'd like to go see the baby, but it is a 7 hour drive to get to her place in KY, and we would need to stay in town, about 15 miles away, and the trip itself, I don't think N could drive it and I don't think I could ride that far unless I was heavily sedated. But darn, this might be my last chance to cuddle a newborn legitimately, unless my kids get cracking. Which isn't too likely. I've been told that grandkids are the reward for having children; you get to indulge them as you never did your child, and when they get fussy you hand them back to the parents. Sounds good to me!


Thought for the day: "Warning: dates in calendar are closer than they appear."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12th

The horses are enjoying these nice fall days, cool, no bugs, sunshine. Actually, what they really enjoy is the new hay we've been feeding, they eat every last wisp. Willie is a little on the thin side for going into the winter. It's hard to keep a cribber like him in good flesh, but he does eat well at least. Yesterday we got the winter blankets washed. They've only been in the tack room for 8 months waiting to be laundered. Every year I swear I'll get it done right away after they come off for the season, but every year there I am in November at the laundromat washing filthy and now moldy blankets. Sigh.

This is Willie, eating as usual.

Thought for the day: "Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?"

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11th

In all of the hoopla about the date of 11.11.11, movie releases, game releases, all kinds of "events" I hope we don't forget that veterans are the reason there is a USA for all of this to happen.

Back in the 70s I worked at the V.A.Hospital in San Francisco. The veterans there were mostly from WWII and Korean War and a high percentage of them were indigent and lived at no fixed address, and many were alcoholics. On top of all that, the ones my boss saw were diabetic. They would show up at an early time and get their fasting blood glucose done; then they would get a voucher for a meal at the cafeteria, eat, then come back for their doctor visit. For some of them, it was a chance to get a good hot meal, free, and a visit to a doctor who would treat them as a responsible person. Anyway, what I remember is that they were an amiable lot, and they told me jokes while I worked. Because they were living rough, they couldn't take care of themselves as a diabetic, even simple things like wearing a well-fitting shoe was beyond their reach, and so they got blisters and they got infected, and could and sometimes did turn to gangrene. Some of them had amputations as a result. The irony is that they came home from the war all in one piece, only to lose a leg to an infected foot blister.

Anyway they are mostly all dead by now, as is my then-boss, and the new patients are from Vietnam and the Gulf War, mostly. Time has a way of erasing while writing the same again. The faces change, but the wounded veterans are much the same.

So on Veterans Day, say thank you, and send some money, if you can afford it, to the DAV (Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati OH 46250, or to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (7 Mill Road, Wilton, NH 03086, It will mean a lot to the heroes who served.

Thought for the day: "Supporting the Fighters, Admiring the Survivors, Honoring the Taken, And never giving up"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10th

Wordless Thursday (because I forgot on Wednesday)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

November 9th

These are my hawaiian shirts. Aren't they colorful? There are (blush) 12 of them, and I wear every single one of them. Not at the same time. You know. But I wear them. Mostly I got them on ebay, my favorite website. I've been buying on ebay since 1997, back when I had to explain what it was. I love it.

The upcoming cruise in March is very much on my mind, we're still working out the details of hotel, and transfers from and to the ship. I'm sure the travel agent will be heartily sick of us by March, but she is very nice about all my questions. I have mentally begun packing, making lists and so forth. Probably all of you will be sick of this by then too.

But better the cruise than obsessing over the mammogram and surgeon visit in Feb. It is hard not to be pessimistic about this, but I have no reason to believe there is any problem lurking around the corner. I suspect I will always fret about every symptom (this headache! do I have a brain tumor? and so forth) and I would bet this is a common problem among cancer patients. It's a hell of a way to live life, though. Sufficient unto the day...

Thought for the day: "Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation."

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

November 8th

I found this in a random blog spot, and why I can't remember to include the web address, it must be because I'm getting old. Not, you see, old yet, I'm still in the "getting ready" phase.

Today's blogging prompt is, has anything traumatic ever happened to you? And my answer is yes.

When I was 24 my husband and I bought horses and boarded them at a nearby stable. We had nothing but trouble with his horse, Chacho. About a month after we bought him, we had a three day weekend, and I thought that we would ride a fair amount to see if the problem was just too little exercise. I rode first, being the better rider. I had been riding him about 20 minutes inside the fenced ring, when he began to buck. I lost my stirrups and then I pitched off over his side. I remember seeing his hoof come down, like in slow motion, near my head and thought, oh good, he is past me. Then I hit the ground. I ended up on my hands and knees, and then turned and sat down in the dirt, and then laid down. Everyone rushed over. I got to my feet but couldn't stand up straight. I got in the car and N drove me home; by the time we got there I couldn't feel my legs. Called an ambulance, and to make a long story short, I had fractured two vertebrae in my spine, and spent the next 4 weeks in a body cast, and then a brace for several months. We sold that horse and I never saw him again. So yes, pretty traumatic. I kept my horse for 14 years, he died when he was 23, and a real sweet heart. I miss him still.

So that's my trip down memory lane. I have no back pain, and no after effects at all. And I still have horses.

Thought for the day; "Conspiracy theories are bunk and probably started by the government."

Monday, November 07, 2011

November 7th

Got my nails done this morning, looking good. Not only do I get my nails done, I get all the latest going on in town. N calls the manicurist my "other therapist" which I guess she is. Anyway, lots of talking. That is one thing I really miss about not working. There is, however, lots more that I don't miss at all. Deadlines, reports, audits, and on and on. My replacement started about 4 weeks before I left, and as I showed her the ropes, she couldn't get over how much there was to do. I guess I never noticed because it all got added on a little at a time, but looking at it as a whole it was a lot to learn. I got several calls after I left, but nothing too complicated, so I guess she is doing great by now. It is hard to believe I retired nearly 5 years ago. After working for 34 years I might add.

One of the blog prompts for the month is, if your next meal was going to be your last, what would you have? And all I can up with is, Very Large. It would be stuff I love, and stuff I have never tried. It would include several types of wine, and several kinds of dessert (chocolate turtle cheesecake would figure in there somewhere). It would be served on linen with sterling flatware and crystal. There would be some of Mom's cooking, nothing fancy but really good, like pot roast and veggies, hers never tasted like it had been boiled for hours. There would be baked apples, and sweet potato casserole, and ...
Well, you get the drift... Yum. And no worry about gaining weight, or cholesterol, bring on the alfredo sauce.

Bumper sticker of the day: "You know you're getting older when Happy Hour is a nap."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

November 6th

Beautiful day. N is getting really annoyed with the guy who is supposed to be delivering a load of hay. It used to be delivered by the guy's dad, but he died last year, and his son has too many irons in the fire and we must come pretty far down his list. He said he would be here once he "got a bite to eat" but me I'm skeptical. He has promised before. Once the weather turns to rain and sleet and snow we don't want to try to get hay into the barn, the slope is downhill to the barn and getting back out is a good place to get stuck. And horses eat like, well, horses.

Bumper sticker for the day: "Relish today. Ketchup tomorrow."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

November 5th

My whole post! Disappeared and presumed dead. Rats.

Today is Guy Fawkes' day in Britain, a chance to do bonfires and fireworks, mainly. Sorta like our Fourth of July, only their holiday is for the defeat of a plot to assassinate King James I in 1605, so a little older than ours. Nothing like burning in effigy for a good cause.

The fall day here is glorious, and probably the last for the colors of the trees. I changed the wreath on the front door from the ghostly one to the fall one, and hung up the turkey windsock. Meanwhile C blew the dust out of my computer and then I vacuumed the computer room, whoohoo. Of course now I can hardly breathe from the dust stirred up! Oh and I folded all the laundry from yesterday, so I am really on a roll.

The neighbors across the road are really nice, the lady sends over homemade food (the last was a pumpkin pie, after the apple pie 2 weeks ago, and the broccoli cheese soup before that), and I have reciprocated with a loaf of pumpkin bread, but I am way behind in the exchanges and now I feel pressured to come up with another food to send over. Clearly she doesn't need dessert things; I am thinking about porcupine meatballs (which are made with ground beef and rice, which pokes out of the meatballs like on a porcupine). It's one of our favorites, and tastes better when reheated the next day. That should put me even I think.

(This is a web picture, mine aren't quite so photogenic.)

Time for lunch, I think I'll have pumpkin pie.

Thought for the day: "Never eat more than you can lift."

Friday, November 04, 2011

November 4th

nightmares. can't sleep. I'll write more later.

Later, more. (hehe)

But seriously, on the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) website, today's topic is, when you write, do you use a pen or the computer? My answer would have to be, both. If I am writing on my opus, I use the computer because I can't stop editing it as I go along, after I have re-read what I have written. If I am writing in my journal, I write using a fountain pen (I collect them), and also if I am taking notes. My typing is horrible. I cannot break myself from looking at the keys, rather than the screen. Been that way since high school, and it equaled a C- for me, alas! But I like to think my handwriting is pretty nice, and I can do calligraphy too, but it is very slow. So there you have, a piece of useless trivia about me, and aren't you glad I kept this short?

I am working on my Photoshop skills, and here are before and after photos. I mean, where else can I brag but here? (The "before" is a lesson example.)

Thought for the day: "Santa's elves are just a bunch of subordinate clauses."

Thursday, November 03, 2011

November 3rd

Laundry. Where is a magic wand when you need one?

I remember having a set of tea towels when I was just married, one for each day of the week, and each one had an embroidered sketch of a girl that corresponded to the day. For instance, Monday was laundry day, and there was this sweet little tyke hanging up washing on a breezy sunny day. There was one for shopping day, and dusting day and on and on. For some reason that escapes me now I thought these were cute; but anyway the habit lingers on that I should do laundry on Monday. This obviously doesn't happen, especially when R gets her stuff in the washer before me. I could just run her loads through and then do my own, but before long I would end up with the entire job, which I refuse to do. Bad Precedent. Now I feel fortunate if I get it washed and folded and put away before midnight on any given day. And I hate to have it spill over to a second day, too depressing.

Yesterday's cancer treatment went smoothly and we were home by 1 pm. The oncologist's office has moved to the hospital where the treatment is done, so much more convenient than it was prior to yesterday, when we had to do a separate trip to see him, then go on to the hospital. Today I feel very tired, but otherwise OK.

It strikes me that when we go to Hawaii in March I will need a whole different wardrobe, as my current one is pretty much all blue jeans, which will be too hot for the on-shore part. Also I will need something a bit more formal for the dining room on board. Gosh, what a terrible burden, shopping. I already ordered a new set of luggage, I picked school bus yellow for the color, should be easy to find at the baggage carousel. And very roomy, as I will over pack I am sure. At least the on board laundry and dry cleaning are free. Although I plan on packing enough underwear for the entire trip, I don't want my undies handled by someone else, that's just me. Right now we are reading up on all the excursions, to book them before we go. There are so many, and so many $$$ for them, but I'm not up for renting a car and taking off on our own, in a strange place with an absolute return time to get back on board before the ship leaves without us. If the excursion returns late they hold the gangway for you...

This is all of us, on board the Westerdam on our first cruise, several years ago. Back when I had hair. And two boobs.

Thought for the day: "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup."

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November 2nd -- Wordless Wednesday

Mac, doing what he does best.

Thought for the day: Bad news: It's better to give than receive.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November 1st

It is my goal to participate in NaBloPoMo this month, that is, the national blog posting for a month. I did this one several years ago, and I thought I'd give this year's attempt a whirl.

Last night was Halloween, and we had 42 little kids traipse up to the door. Several of them said not a word, just marched up to the door, opened their bags and then walked away. When my kids were of the age, I went with them and the running joke was that every time they forgot to say "Thank you" I got to eat the candy. I never did get any, but they remembered to thank everyone. Of course, this year it rained and rained (I sat under an umbrella and back against the door for shelter) so it was a pretty bedraggled wet bunch of kids. Some great costumes, there were the usual batman, Spiderman, ghosts and vampires, but there was also one Harry Potter, and one little girl in dress like a southern belle, hair all in ringlets, so cute. The first several years here we had no trick-or-treaters, we were the last house on a very long road; but eventually all the area popped up in houses and now we are in a regular development. Us and the barn, manure pile, and horses. Ah well, we were here first, and the gardeners love us. Free manure, all they can haul away, it's not like there is any slackening in supply.

I'm sitting here in the computer room, trying not to think about the mammoth spider I saw in here several days ago. I couldn't reach it to smoosh it, and boy am I sorry. N sprayed the room for me, and I hope that reached the bug. I am way creeped out by spiders. Partly because I grew up in Miami FL where all the bugs come giant-sized and pushy. Shudder.

I think the wood shaving truck just arrived, time to go and unload the bales. I'll give more Random thoughts tomorrow.

Thought for the day, "I've lowered my expectations to the point where they've already been met..."

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Today marks the 7 year anniversary of this blog, and in honor (well, sorta) of the occasion, I will re-post that first blog entry below, just in case you are really desperate to read yet another Random Micro bit of prose.

Oct 29, 2004

Having gotten this far in creating a blog, you'd think I'd have SOME idea about what I was going to use for content, but no, not me, just leap into things and look later (ah, I'm falling......). You might even assume (erroneously) that I had perhaps READ a few blogs to gain some insight into the how of things, but no, too logical. I could waste your valuable time meandering on and on (Do you know what you call a caveman who can't find his cave? A Meanderthal) talking about my family, my job, pets, my experiences as a suicide survivor, my thoughts about Life and the Meaning therof, I could even post reams of genealogical data on the family, proven to drive grown men to cry and gnash their teeth. I could talk about therapy (what do you think about that? Why? Is there something you're not saying?) or I could regale you with my treasure trove of blonde jokes (I feel particulary superior since I used to be blonde but am now redheaded). I could post recipes, guaranteed to be un-original, since every combination of ingredients in every possible permutation has already had a recipe published (I could show you the math)--not good recipes, of course, but still pretty much OK if you're hungry . I could write about the latest book I've read, or my favorite musicians or albums (oops, should call them CDs now). I could talk about the pros and cons of driving a really small car, like finding good parking places but getting blindsided on the freeway. I could wax eloquent (well, sort of) about my friends, and the Meaning of Friendship, and why friends come and why they go, while your enemies stay steadfast forever. I could do any of these things, but would anyone read it? Why? Have you already read this far? Surely you have better things to do, like call your mother? Think about this....later.

And that was my first post, and I've come pretty far. I don't post as often as I could, and my topics ARE pretty random. I still don't know how to do strikeouts, and my template, tho not the original one, is still pretty vanilla, but still, 7 years! The only thing longer that I've done is be married (41 years and counting).

Hope all of you are ready for Halloween, with plenty of candy so there will be leftovers for you...

Bumper sticker of the day: "When you're finally holding all the cards, why does everyone else decide to play chess?"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hawaii bound

I booked our cruise round trip San Diego to Hawaii for March of next year! It's not that far in the future when I look at all there is to do. The kids will take care of the animals, which would otherwise be a huge stumbling block. It's hard to get a house or pet sitter that does dogs, fish, horses and cats! Now my only worry is that I will be having a mammogram in Feb,. and if it shows anything I will need a biopsy, and who knows what might follow? I tell myself I shouldn't borrow trouble, but myself doesn't listen very well. I did opt to include insurance on the trip and the flight to SD, at least we would get our $ back. And could re-book.

I recently took a photo course online, the purpose was to get an understanding of the features of the Nikon D40. Once the class was done, I pretty much forgot all that I learned, so I reprinted the class syllabus today and have been slowly going over it. It sticks better the second time around, I think. In addition I am working thru a training book for Photoshop, and I am quite happy to know all the ins and outs of PS. Like a lot of photographers, I have fooled around with Photoshop, but I am surprised at how easy it is to do pretty complex manipulations of photos. Once I work my way through it I'll post some before-and-after things here. I want to take lots of photos in Hawaii and on the ship (Holland America) since I'm real sure we won't be back there again.

Here's a little blog question that I have seen on other sites: What is a true thing that could be said about you?
Answer: It is true that I am a very fast learner. I can pick up "how to" without someone showing me how, and I even amaze myself; sometimes I make things up as I go along, and at the end find I was 100% correct. Now if only the things I am fast at would prove to be financially rewarding! Ah well.

Thought for the day: "If all else fails... more duct tape!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ides of October

Raven, the black Newfoundland, came through her surgery on Monday just fine, after Wednesday's false start. (She had a bad reaction to the anesthetic.) The main difficulty, as I said before, is getting her into and out of the truck. Anyway, she is walking on her bum leg, limping, but walking on it. She and Magpie will have to get used to seeing each other through the fence, as Maggie is far too rough in her playing, and we CANNOT pay for hip replacement or shoulder surgery or elbow surgery when the most direct way is to separate them, not just now while Raven is mending, but all the time. Forever. Sad, but there it is.

The fall colors are taking a beating now, what with the 20 mile-an-hour wind on Saturday and the torrential rain storms. Sunday is expected to be nice, before starting the week with showers every day. If so, I'll post some photos here. These were taken in the front yard. Fall is my favorite time of the year, but it seems to go by so fast, and then we are in the dreary rainy days of winter. Not to mention those days of s**w that make for lousy driving conditions, and let's not think of them.

I think I will take a page from Lucky Lady and begin a Wordless Wednesday. It will be fun to see what I can come up with. I promise it won't ALL be pics of the cats.

Bumper sticker for the day: "Why is abbreviation such a long word?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I must flea!

We are waging all-out war against those little buggers, fleas. Everyone says this is a bad year for them, because we had a mild winter, but whatever the reason they are a plague here. We treated the inside cats once last year and they were fine (as far as we could tell.) But this summer!! Gross...

But the cats have been amazingly cooperative as we ply them with pills, collars, and the stuff you dab on their necks. All but one cat, who earned the coveted Vet Visit for flea treatment and two vaccination jabs. Isn't it amazing how cats struggle when they must go in the carrier, then at the vets place they don't want to get out of it? And how they howl on the way there, but never make a peep on the way home? They are looking a little hunted, and won't come to the lap for a snuggle. Which is OK by me, right now.

And in case I haven't said it, I love the internet. I was having a fit with HP Image Zone crashing ever time I started it, and that is the program I use all the time to tweak my photos, leaving Photoshop for the complex editing. It all had to do with a new printer (one that we gave R at Christmas several years ago, and she never even opened the box.) Somehow I messed up the photo editing program with the scanning of an image, and the fix was not intuitive. But what I did was type the whole error message into Google ("An outgoing call cannot be made since the application is dispatching an input-synchronous call." What the hell does THAT mean??) And the first or second hit was the simple answer, through Task Manager. All this was after 3 hours of re-installing printers, restarting the computer numerous times, and looking on the internet under the name of the program. Live and learn.

I have another herceptin infusion on Wednesday. I asked the oncologist about taking that Hawaiian cruise in March, even though the treatments won't quite be finished, and he said, Go for it. So I will call the travel agent this week and start the ball rolling. I will add more in the next post or two. Planning travel out of Morgantown is always a challenge, our airport only flies to Dulles, and only twice a day. Small town, eh?

Bumper sticker of the day: "Double your drive space! Delete Windows!"

Monday, October 03, 2011

Meme for today

This is the “Where I’m From” writing template that I found on I Wasn't Blogged Yesterday. This is my result:


I am from fountain pens, from the Parker Pen Co. and the smell of blue ink.

I am from the ice cream house, older but just right and filled with the smell of candles and the feel of tall grass.

I am from the marigold flower, the only kind I can get to grow outside.

I am from a family tradition of big meals and big eaters, from Grandma Knight and Mom and Aunt Nina who swapped out Christmas and Thanksgiving at their homes every year.

I am from a family that tells tall tales and laughs loudly.

From being told as a child "your face will freeze that way" and "stand up straight".

I am from a Baptist church that broke up in strife and took my spiritual life with it.

I’m from West Virginia farmers from before the Revolutionary War, from raising horses and growing bumper vegetable gardens (which I also can't seem to grow).

From the family story of a certain speeding ticket in Claxton Co., GA and why Dad would never eat fruitcake; and the story of how daughter R ended up being born in San Francisco instead of WV. (N accepted a job here in WV and we sold our California house, and then I went into labor 10 weeks early; R stayed in the Intensive Care Nursery in California for 2 months while I lived in a friend's home and N, the horse, the cats, the dog, and all our belongings went to WV.) Beach Boys "California Girl" in my head now...

I am from a genealogy index of more than 2500 family members, and I can relate family lore of soldiers and scoundrels, show photos dignified and hilarious and I know the difference between second cousin and first cousin once removed (which no one really cares about). I will probably never finish the family of Knights, but I get a great kick out of looking for all the Peter Knights in WV.

Whew! That all took some heavy thinking...

Bumper Sticker for the day: "If you can read this I've lost my trailer!"

Saturday, October 01, 2011


I feel like I deserve a blue ribbon for today. My daughter and I went shopping together for 2 small rugs for her bedroom. On Thursday new laminate flooring will be put down, and she needs a rug where her computer chair wheels will be, to avoid scoring it over and over, and another one at the side of her bed. You would think this was a fairly easy task, wouldn't you? AH HA but you haven't been shopping with R. No decision is ever easy, and after two stores, one of which was holding a rug and home decor sale, she still couldn't settle on anything. Finally in desperation I picked up two striped throw rugs around the right size, and told her she could see better how they would look at home, and return them if not satisfactory. She hesitantly agreed and we made our way home (in the pouring rain, I might add). The rugs look great, and she LIKED WHAT I PICKED OUT! Be still my heart.

She doesn't read this, by the way.

So right now the dining room is once again serving as a holding room, this time for two bedrooms full of stuff and the furniture from them. The dining table is completely covered, which doesn't matter since there isn't room to pull out a chair anyway. The last time it was full of stuff like this, was the time the sewer line had to be re-dug and the storage shed had to be moved, the one with all the junk in it that I couldn't fit in the house to start with. Here is the link, if you are interested Moving along

Anyway, this at least will result in a positive improvement in the house, and not just a big muddy filled-in hole. In a few more weeks, the all-wood doors will be installed on all the hall doors, replacing those horrible hollow dark plain doors. I'll try to remember to take some before-and-after photos. The next project will be the kids' bathroom, and I am not looking forward to the turmoil that will result when it is torn out.

I finally got a copy of my PET/CT scan results, which I requested about 4 weeks ago. All 3 pages. They don't say anything the oncologist didn't tell me (his exact words were, "It all looks good"), but I like to read reports like this myself. And keep them in my files with the other breast cancer stuff. My version of compulsive, you could say.

Bumper sticker for the day: "I just let my mind wander and it didn't come back."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bound and determined

Next month will mark the 7 year anniversary of this blog. It amazes me that I could natter on and on (with so little to show for it) and with so little to really say :-} but I began to feel like it could all vanish with a server failure at blogspot, and so I got one of those online web sites to convert my posts into a pdf document which I then printed out and voila! I had it bound on Friday, all 243 pages. What, exactly, I plan to do with this is a puzzlement but at least I can use it as a doorstop if all else fails. My therapist calls it a memoir, but I'd like to think a real memoir would have a bit more substance to it. Ah well, that's why I call this random (unplanned) micro (very small) thoughts.

I had always planned to get both bedrooms that the kids use re-carpeted and re-painted once they moved out, but (ah hem) that doesn't seem to be a reality anytime soon, so we told them that they had to clear out everything, leaving only the main furniture, so the floors can be redone with wood laminate, and the wall paper stripped and the walls re-painted. They both keep very neat bedrooms, always have, but they were stuffed to the gills with books, computer games and consoles and CDs. So this weekend they have been sorting, tossing, donating and boxing everything up and what revelations they have made. R found shoes, still in the box, under her bed; C found a backgammon set, very nice, that none of us could identify as to origin. Long lost books were found, and I am the beneficiary of a bunch of unopened CDs that I think were mine to start with. Not that it matters, really, but still... Once C got his bookcases empty, he knocked them apart and threw them out the window in pieces, so much faster than carrying them all down the stairs and outside. It worked OK but seemed a little, um, bold, but they were in awful shape and his window faces the back of the house where only the horses and dogs can view the chaos and be offended.

I've been doing some bidding on ebay, it is an awful addiction of mine that I try to do conservatively. It must be working, or I've lost my touch, because the last several auctions I have been outbid in the final 15 seconds of the auction. I usually bid at 30 seconds to the end, but that apparently is not good enough to win. Just as well, the whole house would look like the kids' bedrooms and poof! there goes my image.

This post has been a little more random and tiny than usual, so I will leave with this bumper sticker: "Don't make me get out my red pen!"

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Here it is the 10th and I haven't posted in over a week. Just one of those times when there is more to do and less energy to do it with. We've been managing the battle with the cats' fleas, and I think we've finally gotten the upper hand. How they get fleas when they never go outside I can't figure out, but one of our cats is solid white and she is the bellwether for all of them. We have (wince) 7 cats indoors and now 3 outside barn cats that we feed regularly, plus visiting cats from the neighbors. Really, I'm not one of those crazy cat ladies, they were all legitimate cat rescues or the result of an ill-advised trip to the local pound. I have told N that he is to take the keys away if I ever suggest going to the pound again. So many lovely cats, and they euthanize 1 of every 2 cats. So heartbreaking.

The echo cardiogram went quickly and the tech said there wasn't anything she saw that was different from the original scan done before I started the chemo. A little leaky valve, but nothing serious. I am thinking about uncrossing my fingers any day now, I think.

I still haven't finished the mountainous task of organizing the photos, I am waiting for the storage boxes to arrive, then I will be able to sort better and to label the back of each photo as to who is who. The "when" will be the tricky part, trying to relate hair style and furniture and background, as well as how old the children look, to figure an approximate date. It was so nice when the film developers put dates on the back; now my camera will print the date on the front, not the date it is printed (like the old ones were) but the actual date it was taken. All these modern conveniences.

I want to sign up for another on line photo class, like the ones I did before, but the assignments every week can be labor intensive, and I'm not sure I can master the effort to do it justice. And I had a phone call from Holland America (cruise line) to ask about booking a cruise to Hawaii, but that can't happen unless I finish with the Herceptin therapy earlier than expected. The season ends in early April for those cruises, because of the weather. I'd like to do it in December or January, wouldn't it be heaven to leave a cold wet winter here for sun and surf in Hawaii? (Sigh). There is a live webcam at Turtle Bay resort on Oahu, the camera pans back and forth, aimed at the beach cove on the eastern side of the resort, and you can hear the surf, and see people walking along the shore. I visit there often. Here is the link if you are interested:

Turtle Bay web cam

I bet this resort costs and arm and a leg.

Bumper sticker for the day: "Optimism. Waiting for a ship to come in when you haven't sent one out."

Monday, August 29, 2011


Hard to believe summer is nearly over, especially as the high today is 90 degrees. When we first lived here, 30 odd years ago, there was no air conditioning, but we had a whole house fan in the hall ceiling that blew into the attic, and if we ran it at night and closed the window shades in the day, the house stayed perfectly cool. Now we have central air, and a window unit in the dining room which has windows on three sides (and is hotter than the rest of the house), and I can't imagine doing without them. I not only believe in the reality of global warming, I think it has been quietly gaining ground for at least 25 years. I hate hot weather. I grew up in Miami Florida, back in the ancient days of the 50s and 60s, and we had no air conditioning at home either. I didn't know anybody who did. If you got too hot, you went to a department store or the movie theater. There we also had a lot of rain, so it was nice and steamy as well as hot. Now the area is sweltering and having a drought, not an improvement. Even hurricane Irene didn't do much to change that; what they need is steady light rain for an extended time, and not torrential downpours that run off and not soak in.

Here is a photo from the 50s of me, my older sister, and our grandmother, in front of the house in Miami. The big awnings kept the house cooler and folded down to protect the windows in a hurricane. We had several hurricanes, what they mainly meant to me was that school was cancelled (if in the fall). Never thought about the storm itself, or how the house could be damaged with us in it. Sweet ignorance of youth.

The visit with the oncologist was uneventful and the only wrinkle is that I go next week for an echo cardiogram to check that all is OK in the heart department. I had one when I first began the chemo, and it is fast and painless, so no trauma to do.

I'm sleepy and want a nap, so I'll leave you with this bumper sticker: "Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag?"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

All is well.

The result of the PET/CT imaging is back and everything is OK! WHEEE! I love that they called me so quickly, the waiting is the worst. Thank all of you for your kind thoughts and prayers. I see the oncologist next week, and then every three weeks thereafter, but at this point in time, there are no tumors or growths anywhere. I will still receive the antibody Herceptin for a year total, and thank you Uncle Sam for the Federal employee BC/BS insurance, we couldn't do this without it.

And thank you, S, for the yummy cheesecakes, I'm ready to celebrate with it. I'd also been ready to commiserate if necessary with cheesecake; it's the all occasion dessert, but celebrating is the best.

The photo is one from the Web, but the apparatus looks just like the one I was in, head first, for 20+ minutes while laying perfectly still. With your arms over your head, and your head braced in position. After receiving radioactive glucose and a contrast media, IV. All in all, though, not really that bad. I'm just glad it is over, and all is fine. And did I thank all of you??

Bumper sticker of the day: "If I must die, let it be Death by Chocolate."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bits and pieces

I'm scheduled for another PET/CT scan later today. I know I won't find out anything about my cancer status for days, maybe a week until my appt. with the oncologist, but I've already started obsessing over it. Will the tech doing the scan drop me any hints if I ask? Probably not. Will it do any good to call on, say, Friday? My jaw muscles are so tight it's a wonder I can eat.


Willie has recovered from his sore hoof,so no more soaking, Hooray. My back is even on the mend from standing bent at the waist to hold his hoof in the water; if I removed my hand from his fetlock, out came the foot, usually kicking the bucket over as it did.

Let me see... Oh yes, Google adsense emailed me that I have a $10 check coming, thanks to nice people like you who click on one of the three ads up there on the top of my right sidebar. Of course, it has taken 5 months to accumulate $10, so I haven't planned on a big spending spree just yet. Still, it is nice, and thank you for checking them out.

I've been busy listing used books for sale into my data base, so far I've gotten around 750. This is for ABEbooks, or Amazon, they email me shipping manifests and I ship the book off, national and international. So if you have a burning desire for a book that hasn't been published in a coons age (see below), check them out. There is another button over on the right for that too, but it doesn't pay me (sigh); in fact I frequently spend more in shipping than I get from the sale, after all the monthly charges and all the commissions. I also think I've bought more books than I have sold, which is not resulting in the clearing out of 40 years of accumulated books that are in every nook and cranny of this house. But now that I have the Kindle, I'm hoping I'll stop buying print books (mostly) and I guess a lot of people are doing the same and paper books will be going the way VHS tapes went in recent years.

Our neighbor across the road has successfully trapped those pesty raccoons that have been raiding our cat food in the garage and our trash cans. The most elusive one was a huge beast and the big concern was that he was too large to get in the trap, until we borrowed a very big trap. And you know what was used for bait? Peppermint patties. Apparently coons are wild for peppermint, and as an added bonus, cats aren't interested at all, so no risk of catching one.

Well, one of our house cats (Mac) would eat peppermint, he eats everything, from jelly beans to cantaloupe, quite a scrounger if we let him. Here he is:

Thought for the day: "Never confuse movement with progress."