Friday, January 31, 2014

Pets of the Past

I've had lots of pets over the last 50 years, but I never got into birds.  When I was a kid, Mom had a parakeet or two, and I would spend hours repeating phrases to them, so they would talk.  They had a few words, but I wanted them to say "Hello Joe, what do ya know?"  I never succeeded, but one of them would say "Joe" now and then.  Once we visited "the bird lady" in Miami to trim the beak of one bird, and she had all kinds of birds as pets and being treated for illnesses.  One was a mynah bird, and he would say all kinds of things, it really tickled me.  Beautiful bird, too.  But I felt sorry for them, all caged up for most of the time. 

Here are the names of all the cats we have had:  Frosty, Shari, Misty, Whim, Mandy, Moxie, Mensha, Mali, Splotch, Emma, Mac, Gracie, Beans, BC, Dottie, Melly, Funny, Mouse, All White, Nearly, Ditto, Travelers (several), Mamma, A, B, Blackie (probably a traveler), Mismatch, Bro, probably more that I have forgotten, and cats we found homes for.  The travelers are male cats that hang out outside until they wander away again, usually in the spring when lady loves are crying out for a handsome fella.  I have loved them all, and when they pass they take a part of me with them.

The dogs are fewer:  Lady, Joker, Shadow, Simba, Lotsa, Magpie and Raven.  We still have Magpie (black and white Newfy) and Raven (black Newfy).  There will be no more dogs, cats, or horses when these pass they won't be replaced.  It is hard to keep that resolution, but there may come a time when we must move into town, maybe a condo or whatever, and pets make that really really hard.  Especially the horses, which cost a fortune to keep and even more of a fortune to board out.  I've had 10 horses/ponies:  Poco, Chacho, Jakate, Beauty, three pony foals from Beauty whose names escape me, Blondie, Willie and Maybe.  We still have Maybe and Willie, although they are in their 20s; they were both born here, by Blondie. No more after this.  And there is all of the tack, saddles and such to dispose of too.

Whew!  That's a lot to remember.

The weather is finally moderating, the snow is melting and the bitter cold is gone for now.  I feel for the unprepared Atlantans.  When we lived in Memphis, we bought snow tires and the natives laughed at us.  Then there was a really rare snowfall, and we were the only ones traveling without a problem.  Basically, they just wait for the sunshine plow.  Not fun if you are stuck on the interstate surrounded by jack-knifed 18 wheelers.  Although I did get tired of seeing the same footage over and over on the Weather Channel.

 Bumper Sticker for the day:  "I like you, but I wouldn't want to see you working with sub-atomic particles. "

Sunday, January 26, 2014

bored bored bored

Being cooped up at home for 3 days is giving me cabin fever.  The roads are horrible here and they haven't been touched since the snowfall last week, so yesterday's snowfall just covered tracks left from before the storm.  We, husband and I, don't have to go out, but the kids have jobs to go to, and I really worry about the drive there.  Our road is basically one car wide, so if you meet anyone coming or going, one of you has to get in a driveway or the ditch.  Part of it is a steep drop-off over the side.  I hate even thinking about it.

I've finished the knitting projects I've been doing, but can't make up my mind what to tackle next.  I use a knitting machine, which whips through yarn in a heartbeat, so if I use it, I have to be sure I have enough yarn to finish.  Unfortunately I don't have enough experience to estimate yarn quantities, so I just go with whatever I have the most of.  Even more important is not to run off the end of the skein, because moving the carriage without having yarn fed into it, causes all the stitches to fall off the needles, which puts "finito" on the work.  So I have to keep track of the skein and go slowly if I am near the end; I can only tie on a new skein when the carriage is at either side and not in the middle of a row.

Now that you know way more than you wanted about knitting, I'll change the subject.

I have decided to stop going to the psychotherapist for the time being.  I am running into problems making the appointments, between other appointments and the weather.  And I miss my therapist of 10 years who moved away, and I just don't seem to click with this one.  Not her fault, but it's hard to talk with an utter stranger about family problems, and my problems; my other therapist just got the story about all this a little at a time as it unfolded.  Now there is too much water under the bridge to lay out everything from scratch, if I may mix my metaphors.  I have much the same problems with my primary care doctor. I had the same one for 15 + years, who passed.  The next one I picked retired; and the one he recommended moved out of the area.  So doctor #4 seems nice and can hopefully keep all the balls in the air from all my specialists. 

I decided to start taking Social Security beginning in February.  The benefit of waiting until I am 66 to get the full amount is offset in that it will take 10 years at the higher level to make up for the 3 years of no benefits.  But with typical government finesse, I got one message to bring in my birth certificate (I wrote about that in my last post), and then got a phone call where I went over my application on the phone and was told it would processed within the next two weeks, and no further action for me to do. Go figure.

I don't know when the horses will be able to get out of the barn, with the footing bad from the snow and the likelihood that they will get sweaty and then chilled in their heavy blankets.  Their stalls are a mess, but not soggy under foot thanks to the mats which drain away liquid.  That and their heated water buckets so they don't have to drink immediately after the buckets are filled or go thirsty when they ice over.  I hate to think how we would have coped in the old, open sided barn,  with the temps here below zero at night.  One of the best investments we have made.

And the outdoor cats are literally wrapped around the oil-filled space heater in the garage, staying warm.  It is not really warm there, but we have had electrical problems with the older heaters.  We don't want to burn the house down to keep the cats toasty.  We went to Lowe's to get a new space heater, and there were none.  Zero.  Zip.  Any size, any brand.  Nada.  So they will have to make do with what there is, as we can't bring 3 outdoor cats into the house with the 6 already here.  WWIII.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "OMG!  My mother was right about everything!"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The weather outside is frightful

I always seem to start with a weather report, but tonight I'll just say it is cold and snowy and let it go at that.

This month the color is aqua (turquoise) for the knitting forum colorwheel swap.  I can't find the staple things I usually send, like an apron, kitchen gadget, hot pads and mitts, they just don't seem to be available in aqua, not at a reasonable price.  Well I'll review my box once the things I have ordered all come in.  And yarn takes up lots of space in a box.

Last Friday we traipsed all the way to the Social Security office, only to find it was closed until today (the 21st) due to construction next door.  I want to get my retirement now that I am nearly 63 (well, on Friday) . Since I no longer contribute to my fund for the last 6 years, the benefit of waiting to age 66 makes no sense.  I won't bore you with the math, but waiting until I am 66 means it will take me years to make up the early disbursement.  And who knows what will happen then?  We are frugal, but the extra money into our "what if" fund will be welcome.   I just hope we don't get the surly person that I had to deal with when I had another question.  Update:  there has been so much snow they closed (or kept closed) the office for the entire week, so it will be next week before I can go and finalize the application.

I actually registered via, but at some point it screeched to a stop and referred me to the local office.  Why have an online method if you still have to go in person?  Grumble grumble.

Last week I was bending down slightly to attach the vacuum cleaner hose, when my back went *Pow* and I couldn't straighten up.  I hobbled my way into the bedroom, and somehow got my feet up on the bed so I could lie down.  I stayed in bed for 3 days, just getting up to use the euphemism, and DH brought me food and drink.  After 3 days I could gimp along fairly well, and could cope with the stairs so I could see something other than the water marks on the bedroom ceiling.  And television.  It was a toss-up as to which was more entertaining.  Gotta get the ceiling painted, but not anytime soon.  This makes a triumvirate of ankle, knee, hip and now back.  Oh wait that's four.  Well, you get the idea.  I am falling apart one joint at a time.  I wish our house was on one level.  The vacuum cleaner is *whisper* evil  .I just know it will punish me when I try to clean again.

I have written this over the course of several days, that's why the timeline is a bit back-to-front above.  I can't sit for very long or my back gives me fits.  Somewhere in this blog, I have recounted the Fall-from-horse, bad landing, 5 weeks in a body cast and several months in a brace, so I won't re-recount it here.  Suffice to say that the vertebrae where the injury was is still exquisitely tender, from 39 years in the past. When asked now to rate my pain in a one-to-10 scale, everything is 5 or below, because I know what real pain is.  Ten is when the pain comes in waves, bearing me off to oblivion and binging me back to more pain.  Morphine, please, every 4 hours, thank you very much.  I slept through the 2 weeks I was in the hospital before they cast me.  Just as well.

Still went back to riding as soon as the doctor gave me the all clear, but on a different, sweet, easy-going lovely palomino.  He died at 22 years old, it's been some 30 years ago, but I still miss him.  Heart-tied.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right!"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January Winter

I hate posting about the weather, because if a reader does not live here why would they care?  And if you do live here, you already know what the weather is/was, right?  So we will skip all of that except to say the West Virginia suffered its coldest day EVER since recorded time, like maybe since prehistoric days, I dunno.

Going to Gassaway today to see the aunt and uncle.  It will be good to be there, it's getting there that's the problem.  I've already said, if there's snow, I don't go.  I'm going to carry a full arsenal of winter stuff, blanket, water, first aid kit, the works.  Be prepared.

We have been bedeviled with stink bugs in the house, ick.  They're easy to kill, or capture and flush, but damn they are creepy.  I'm calling an exterminator soon, I can't imagine how many we will have once it is warm.  Ick.

I have been "looming" since Christmas on hats (very easy project)  but so far they have been too small for an adult.  I dropped them off at the oncology office when I had my 4 month check-up. 
They really came out nice, someone will take them.  My check-up went fine, I have 6 months to the next check-up, woohoo.  I will have a mammogram in Feb, that is the next challenge.

I made bread yesterday, one for the family across the road.  She had sent us (via kid) a coffee cake with cinnamon sugar; the only problem is that she bakes with Truvia instead of sugar.  This is because DH is a diabetic, but let's face... sugar is better.  Anyway, you can't send a pan back empty, thus the bread.  So although I fell behind last year in our treat-to-treat competition, this week we are even.  (I know I will fail.)

I need a haircut, but I don't know...

Bumper sticker for the day:  "Never assume malice for what stupidity can explain."

Thursday, January 02, 2014


 This is what it feels like when one of the cats peel off my lap at the speed of light.

I had acupuncture years ago when I slipped at work and fell on my butt, which wasn't as cushion-y as it is now. I injured my back, beginning a long period of pain and treatment.  I tried physical therapy, bed rest, and pain meds.  My physician finally recommended I try acupuncture.  I probably would have skipped the whole thing (I'm not into woo-woo stuff), but she called right then and made me an appointment for that afternoon. I went, all hunched over to ease the pain.  He did a treatment and as I got off the table, I thought, damn, it feels better. ( But physical therapy felt good too, until I reached the car, when I'd be popping pain pills before I started the engine.)   I walked out of the office, upright, and out to the car, still feeling fine.  No grogginess like the meds would do.  To make a long story short, after treatments daily for a week, and then once a week for a "tune up" I was cured.  Isn't that funny?  Tiny tiny needles,about the size of a human hair, placed just so, and each time more of the pain went away until there was no more pain.  Maybe this is one Chinese import that is better than home-made...

Hope all of you have a very happy new year, and if you traveled, I hope you drive home safely from all the hung-over drivers.  Even a fender-bender can ruin your day.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "Sex on television can't hurt you unless you fall off."