Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Halloween Time

I had my mammogram last week, and I got a nice insulated tote bag in honor of getting my mammo done in Oct.  This was with a new machine that was not as squishy as the old one, and they got it done while I sat in my wheelchair.  (I was in the wheelchair because we were running late and it takes me forever to walk so slowly for any distance.)  Then I saw the surgeon, who gave me the all-clear.  6 months until the next one.  Yay team!

I bought Halloween candy on Amazon a couple of weeks ago.  Usually I wait and get it at the grocery store, but usually there is only old lady candy left, Jolly Ranchers, smartees, and such.  The candy for this year is M & M s and Snickers and Reese's cups and other chocolate types.  I bought a lot.  A lot as in 12 pounds.  So we can sample and not have to buy more candy.  I even bought some full-sized bars, which (ahem) I hope will be left for us.  I didn't give candy out last year, it was a time when I was still missing N, even though it had been more than 2 years since he died.  He always came outside (where I sit because the light is better) to keep me company and look at all the costumes, some are really cute.  One year we had a boy carrying a sword (fake) with a box of Cheerios stuck thru by the sword, and proclaimed he was a "cereal" killer.  Not so funny these days...

I got an email from Chase that my card had been used for something I don't recognize.  I called them right away and they blocked my card and will send a new one ASAP.  It was for 6.99 but maybe just a test run (at a spa) to see if it would fly.  Thanks to Chase, not.  The only thing I charged yesterday was for a blanket, which cost a good bit more than 6.99...

There was an obituary today for R's girl scout leader.  This is the one that led a trip to London for the senior girls (and took R kayaking on the river etc.), other than all the money collected by parking on home football days, car washes, aluminum can collection, and on and on.  R was thrilled to go, I've never been to GB myself.  The leader has family there so they had a picnic (not what they called it, I can't think of what they called it), as well as side trips to various places.  The girls had a blast.  R liked going to a pub the most.  The trip was a really special event, one that years' worth of girls got to take.  I ran into the leader at the grocery, etc., and she always remembered who I was, quite a feat, given the number of moms she knew. She was 84, but still she will be missed by a lot of families.

It's a dull dreary day today, all the fall colors are over as the trees shed their leaves, starting at the top.  It is fall, even though the calendar says there is more to do before winter.  Chris hasn't finished cleaning my saddle, all that is left is the silver to be polished, a boring job.  The leather looks great, like new.   I will have to harass him a little.  What I would need a show saddle for when I can't ride?  It cost a fortune 40 years ago, and I want at least $ 500 for it.  If I don't get it, I will put it in the house (my room) to admire.  It is silver plated, but now they ride with nickel conchos, etc.  because silver trim is so expensive.

C took the phone out of the barn, and I have it here, so I don't have to drag the big black phone around when I am at the keyboard.  It was hit-or-miss if the phone would ring in the barn, and probably C would be using the DR Power wagon and couldn't hear it if it was ringing anyway.

Time to go...Bye!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019

Back in the day

This is the hoof pick I've had for 35+ years.  When I boarded my Poco horse in Golden Gate Park, the guy that put his shoes on (farrier/blacksmith) would be a regular there for a lot of owners.  He did hot shoeing and had a little furnace-like in his truck.  He would heat them, test them for fit, whack on them on an anvil for a subtle change, try again.  Any time, even now, that I smell coal burning, I would think, "shoer is here.." .  He was quite a flamboyant sight.  He had a long queue of hair, and a mustache that he waxed and twirled so it stood out from his face like the cartoon bad guy.  Hammering, heating, dunking in water to cool, the tourists were there catching it all on film.  So, any time he had a pause in doing the horses, he would make these hoof picks out of old horseshoes, half of one, and give them to his clients.  It was considered a mark of approval to have one of Steve's picks.  The usual ones are made in china, now, and are lacking a point that you need to clean dirt, stones, whatever from the sole of their feet.  The form of these are a big improvement and god forbid you lose yours, and have to ask Steve for another.  He also made custom fence gates, for big bucks,  and probably there are still some in San Francisco even now.

I miss the social part of boarding, talking folks and horses, laughing at bad jokes, riding together.  Of course it is a Lot Cheaper to keep your beasts at home, but a lot more work too.  But the past is past...

I will get C to drive me down to the barn so I can find the things I want to keep, but none as special as this pick.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


I had the vet come and put Maybe down on Tuesday.  I could not get down there, so I watched from the house window.  It was very quick , and C took her to one side of the barn so there were no sight lines to that area.  When Willie went down, it was much closer to the road, but what could we do?  Thus the neighbors had a plain view of the proceedings.  The kids would have been shocked the most,  as they got up to "treat" them all time (against the posted notice to leave the horse alone).

I have had horse(s) since I was twenty-four yrs old.  44 years.  But no more horses anymore.  Big beautiful barn standing empty.  All the horse gear to be passed on to someone else.  There are few things I want to keep, I have one beside me here now.  Picture to follow.  Still have the show saddle to be cleaned and oiled.  This would have been better if N were here, I think, to oversee each step.  Did I do the right thing?

Monday, October 14, 2019


I am fighting off a sore throat and drippy nose, and there is no condition or mending that can be accomplished with Kleenex and throat lozenges.  I can't wait for the aftermath, so I am out of bed now, sniffling and looking forward to being able to get my passwords sorted out.

Beetles, ugh.  I saw one in the bathroom and gritted my teeth and stepped on it.  I have never seen one in the house before, but it looks like one in the Wikipedia for big black bugs.  With the high frequency gadget in there I thought all the bugs would head out away from the source.  Maybe as time goes on they will clear out.

I am finally agreeing that it is time to put Maybe down.  She has steadily gone downhill since her stroke-like episode several  months ago.  The farrier came yesterday and couldn't trim her feet, she can't stand on just three legs, she might well have fallen on him, she is so wobbly.  My usual vet is recuperating from a bad back condition (I have been there too) and the next closest vet is way pushed to do his patients and Jim's as well.  I have the guy with the backhoe and flat bed truck lined up, only have to give him a day before notice and he will come.  This is my last horse, I am getting too old to do this, I can't even manage to get to the barn, because the ground past the yard is so rough with tree roots, etc.  It will be strange to have the nice barn and all the gear, and not have a horse.  I will ask the shoer what he wants of the gear, for a flat price, I think.

I couldn't ride again anyway, my left knee is in bad shape, and mounting and dismounting risks a fall, even a tumble under the horse if my knee gives out.  I never thought my last ride would be the last one, I would have savored it more.  But with all the new homes built past us, 40 at least, and the drivers zoom past, never mind the 20 mph signs,
it is too dangerous to ride.  I wouldn't even let my kids (if mine were young again) out to play in the front yard, it would only take a few seconds to drift into the road.  Ours was supposed to be the last house on the road, but the contractor started a new one before our paint was dry.  I want to move where the road is level, and someone else clears the snow off.

Here is my plan:  buy a big mobile home and have it set up in the best park.  Move in over several days, maybe get a moving company or someone to help with the carrying, clear out everything here that I want, and get an auctioneer to sell the rest.  Then, with the house empty and clean (painted?), put it up for sale.  Use the money from that to pay off the mobile home.  I would use the balance to pay the lot rent,  or put it with the investment guy.  This house is 38 years old and needs some TLC to get it sale ready, and  remodeled bathroom and kitchen will increase the asking price.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Med Tech.

When I was still gainfully employed I could explain (briefly) what I did for a living.  Clinical labs, OK, that's where all those tubes of blood, or samples of urine go to be tested for this or that.  I worked in the blood bank, testing bags of blood to get a "match" for a patient who needed a fill-up.  People have seen that, bags of blood hanging on a long pole, on TV if not in real life.  I worked weekends and holidays, and my 40 hour job too, so sometimes I worked 14 days in a row.  After 5 years I gave up the blood bank job, I was so exhausted, although the extra money was nice.

But my regular job was working as a research tech.  I worked jobs in physiology, biochemistry or pathology, for a wide variety of principal investigators.  The problem was that for most of these jobs I got paid from a grant, mostly NIH money, and most grants are for 3 or 4 years.  Once they run out, the investigator would write a new grant for another 3 or 4 years.  The results in fund-ability depended on a lot of things; cancer was the main project for many years, and now the top priority is Alzheimer research.  But if the grant ended and there was no money from a new grant, then POOF! I looked for another job.  Every 3 years.  It got really tiresome, never knowing if that new car was manageable when my salary was zero, and so forth.  And there was probably a bunch of other techs looking too.  As I got older, it got harder; I was a whole generation older than the investigator, who felt more comfortable being the boss of a young person and not someone the age of their parents.  And I had to take classes to keep up to date as science evolved into new techniques.  The last 3 years were heavenly, I was the lab safety specialist, paid on HARD money (not a grant) and I enjoyed telling investigators how to shape up, preferably before the OSHA inspections.  But once the mortgage was paid, and N was doing all kinds of consultant work at home for nice money on top of his annuity, I knew this was the time to get out.  Plus, they were building hundreds of new labs, and the thought of having to do so many inspections made me tired to think of it.  My replacement was a tech laid off too, and she was a great one for doing that kind of work.  So we overlapped a couple of months, and then I retired with 35 years of work.  My retirement wasn't much, but I had a nice nest egg laid back.

And I still haven't said what I was doing all those years, have I?  Think mice and rats, and sometimes rabbits and goats (YEW) that were studied for results that would occur mainly in people.  Consider radioactive compounds, and infectious techniques.  I worked one whole year on trypanosomes, the organism that causes sleeping sickness.  Fortunately we don't have tsetse flies in our part of the world, will that change as global warming increases?  Dunno.  Not my problem now.

And so went many years' work, many techniques, SOB bosses (we won't go there; karma will do it)  papers and grants, and some really nice co-workers, many passed away now.  I miss them, but not the  lab.

That is all for now, I'm sure everyone is bored by now, and time for me to go to therapy.  Bye!

Tuesday, October 01, 2019