Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Frog Jam and Stovepipe


Menu options?  Maybe. The Christmas mice are checking out the frog jam. Kamper Martha, for whom the cat was named, stopped in with this frog jam for me. She knows me to be a lover of all things froggy. Like all men, He Who is apt to eat what ever I may prepare, was not paying attention to the women chattering. It is actually F.R.O.G. jam. The initials are the first letter of the ingredients. We are thinking fig, raspberry, orange and grape. I was looking forward to trying it.

After we exchanged good wishes and met the new dog, Annie, they continued their journey to their daughters house and we went back in to our humble abode and I finished trussing up my fat chicken for the rotisserie. He Who stokes fires was in his fave chair in front of the TV and I decided to have a little fun. I showed him the jar of frog jam and managed to convince him that it was, indeed, made from frog. He looked skeptical, but he held the jar to the light and looked closely.

What he thought he would see, I am not sure. Maybe frog parts in an aspic jelly substance? I continued my charade as I opened the jar and got a spoon for tasting. Oh,the look on his face, as I scooped the tiniest of taste and offered it up for him to sample. He was hesitant as he barely opened his mouth and tentatively offered his tongue.

I could tell he was all set to spit it out should the taste offend. He stood near the sink and I watched closely as he tasted. A look of surprise and he swallowed. Then I told him what it was.

On to the second ingredient in my title. When I started the fire yesterday morning, I got a lot of smoke in the house. I thought it might be windy and it was a downdraft. I turned on the stove vent in the kitchen and it cleared up. As the day wore on, my throat started to hurt and my eyes were irritated and tearing.

I began to wonder if I was getting sick. Amazingly, none of my grandchildren were sick while I was there, but they do attend school and are a great source for germ transportation. My seat partner on my flight north was sneezing while we were trapped in that aluminum tube in the air .....

I stood to go get some aspirin (my personal wonder drug) and that is when I realized just how much smoke was in the house. I immediately notified He Who installed said wood stove. He Who tows promised to check it out as soon as he fixed a flat for  stranded motorist.

I heard him before I saw him. He was outside checking to see if there might be something caught in the stovepipe. Every year, before the season for having a fire to warm ourselves begins, he climbs a ladder and disassembles part of the contraption that carries the smoke away to clear it. Birds try to nest in there. There are always a multitude of nests that fall to the ground. Much to the delight of the dogs, but that is another story.

I doubt that any birds have been in the stove pipes lately, but I kept my mouth shut. Until I saw that the stove pipe inside had come apart. It was like trying to drive in dense fog as I navigated to the back door to let him know his pipe cleaning had opened another avenue for smoke.

Isn't the repair lovely? Looks like the stove pipe is wearing a necklace. Stove pipe bling. I decided to call it a day and go stand in the shower and try to catch my breath. During the shower, he opened the front door and place a fan there to try to suck the smoke out. I think we may smell like we have survived a house fire ........

I went to bed without further inspection of the "fix". Saw this when I got up. I am pretty sure it is not supposed to be this way. The picture does not reflect the fact that I can see light and cold air is pouring in ........

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Feeling Sentimental

Naughty or nice? I don't know which face has more mischief ..... the child's or the dog's. Zara is 4. The baby of the family and not afraid to exploit that status. After she finished her applesauce, she promptly tossed the container in the trash ...... along with the spoon. Max, the puppy was only too happy to help me dig it out.

Max was suffering with an upset tummy. Unfortunately, Zara was aware of his treat stash and kept handing out dog biscuits. Max objected when I tried to take it away. He apparently had forgotten who I was, though. I did retrieve the treat and Max was a gentleman about it.

Laila, the Boxer (not to be confused with Layla, the granddaughter) came along with her person, Leah to help with the cookie baking event. Sweet dog Laila has been sick and I was happy to get to see her. Who could not love that sweet face?

Happy faces. Chad and Adrienne and son-in-law, Nick making a goofy face. No, wait, that is just Nick!

The absolute sweetest boy in the world. Going on 9 years old and still doesn't complain that I hug and kiss him ...... sometimes in public.

After the Vikings slay the Rams, we opened presents ....

My girls, all in pink, with cousin Layla. Wrapping paper everywhere.

My Jada having a moment with her mom.

After all the gifts and paper got picked up, we all joined in the great unbraiding of two heads of hair. Aunt Jill and I worked on Maya.

Gavin and Layla decorated and ate a giant sugar cookie.

Diane is a lot faster than I am with this unbraiding. Aunt Adrienne giving Jada's scalp a good rub.

This is not a good picture of my son, but, if I had gotten all the good photo ops, I wouldn't have spent any time with my family!

It has been a very quiet day here. I am missing my kids and their kids and even the chaos and noise! I sit here with teary eyes and a smile on my face as I look at the pictures of these faces I miss so much.

Of course, the smoke in my house from the downdraft into the wood stove is contributing to my teary eyes ...... lest you think me to be too sentimental.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Doomsday Decor

The weather has limited my activity lately. It is cozy and warm in here with the wood stove, but my sewing room is freezing. Okay, maybe not freezing, but my fingers and toes get cold. I wear long underwear and lots of layers, but it inhibits movement and creativity.

So I can justify sitting here in front of the TV, playing on the computer. While on Jigidi, putting puzzles together and exploring all my channels on Dish, I discovered Doomsday Preppers on NatGeo. Dreamed about my bunker full of food last night.

One family on this show had enough canned food stockpiled to eat for a year, while another showed how to filter your urine to drink should you not have water. He even took a sip for the camera. His wife did, too and then they toasted ....... with his filtered urine. Reality TV. Really.

The family with all the canned goods was a man, wife and small child. The cans were institutional sized. Is that practical? Will they have refrigeration available in their bug-out bunker (or, hidey-hole, as I prefer to call it)? Are they planning a party for all their doomsday prepper friends? Will they just hope for the best and eat that one can until it is gone? Do they realize how much corn is in that giant can?

On the plus side, they could always use those cans to raise the bed off the floor. They could create shelving using the cans ........ empty cans or full cans.

Another family had pre-cut plywood to fortify their house against looters. They had some cans of food stockpiled, but in regular sized cans. The ammunition, though, required an entire walk-in closet. I suppose with their arsenal of weapons, procuring food won't be a problem, especially if they loot the family with the industrial sized cans.

I think maybe I should have my own reality show,  using the necessities of stock piling survival goods with creating ways to employ those items in home decor, um, bunker decor. Maybe. Someone would watch. For sure.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sunday Football

Ready for some football? Guess which team they like. My daughters and their mates, Gavin and Layla. Ready to watch the Vikings play.

Lovely Layla hugs Gramma.

They must be bored with the game. They are watching a big zit pop .........

Son-in-law Nick simply removed himself and continued with the serious football watching.

Layla demonstrates her hand standing talents.

Gavin tries ...... We were waiting for the rest of the family so that we could open gifts. My son-in-law cooked a pork roast to perfection in the crock pot and procured some bread from Jimmy John's. Yum. Did you know you can get day old bread for just pennies? Of course, this knowledge does nothing for me, as I live in the middle of nowhere.

And, yes, our team won. Just happened to be playing against St. Louis. Not to worry, though, I am still a Vikings fan.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seat Belts Required

I have been home for a bit, after my whirlwind visit with my kids. Just not in a writing mood.

The flight is only an hour and a half. That is gate to gate, so the time in the air is just a little over an hour. The longest, most annoying part of the trip is getting through security. There were new signs up. If you are under 5 or over 75, the taking off of shoes is no longer required. If you are over 75, you can leave your sweater on. I did not qualify. I knew enough to wear slip on shoes, though. So, after I filled 4 baskets with my carry on belongings, I got a free X-ray, then went to stand in a line to wait my turn to board.

I flew Southwest. No seat assignments. You get a group (A,B, or C) and a number. It depends on when you book your flight, unless you are willing to pay extra to get in that elite group of A, 1-16. They get to board first and choose all the good seats. They think. I have never been in the A group, which goes to 60. After this group boards, families with young children board, after which, they commence with the rest of us. I was next to last to board. I actually prefer this, the only downside being that you will be in the back of the plane and have to wait longer to disembark. But, instead of sitting there watching the last group board and wondering who might choose you to be their seat mate, I get to choose who I will grace with my sunny disposition!

I always look for very thin folks, I can always use the extra space. I avoid men and small children. Even thin men will be greedy with the arm rest. I was once trapped between two hefty guys on a flight. They both hogged the arm rests. One was restless, constantly bumping my shoulder and the other slept and snored. I also avoid those with phones to their ears.

While stuck in the tunnel thingy taking us to the plane there was a woman talking to someone in her office. It echoed through the tunnel. She forgot the "tickets", it seems and her husband, Randy, was bring them with him. I guess he was her husband. I never saw her, just heard her. I do know that he was picking her up and dropping her off and that he would join them after the ticket event for a late supper where gifts would be exchanged. We all just stood there listening. Talk about a captive audience. I knew I did not want to be her seat companion.

I was lucky, I got an aisle seat, with the middle empty and a young woman engrossed in a book in the window seat. I got my own book out and spent the entire flight reading. I was actually surprised to feel the plane touch down.

We actually landed ahead of schedule and the luggage was already coming out of the shoot when I reached the carousel. After arguing with an unseasoned traveler (such as myself) about the black piece of luggage with my day-glo green duct tape adorning the handle (he swore that the airlines had put that tape on his luggage, until I proved it was mine with my name on the luggage tag), I was ready to get started on my big adventure.

The air was crisp and clean as I stood waiting for my daughter. I breathed it in. It is different, this Minnesota air. Really, it is. It was in the 20's, but it felt good, not bone chilling. I had packed my heavy coat, and waited to pull it out of my luggage until I was standing outside. There was snow on the ground and a group of trees all lit with blue lights. I was happy to be there.

Even happier when I climbed into Adrienne's car next to my Gavin. Even though he did tell on me for not wearing my seat belt ...........

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pictures, I Have Pictures!!

Finally, Blogger has allowed an upload! I have been spending endless hours in my sewing room. It is cold in there and a welcome relief when he who stokes the fire too much is home.

It has been so cold lately, though, that mu nose and toes are frozen. The clothes and doll are for my great-granddaughter, Jailynn. She is 3. I found this panel for the rag doll in my fabric stash and decided that she would like a doll for Christmas. I gave the doll some joints and made some extra clothes for her. I attempted the pants and was so very proud that I had managed to have them match Jailynn's pants. Well, until I attempted to put them on the doll. The big feet would not fit through the legs of the pants! The jumpers fit, though and are reversible. I will try again on those pants.

I fly north tomorrow and see my grandchildren. These are for my girls. I found this corduroy for $1 a yard!!! All the prints coordinate, so they match, sort of.

See the buttons? They came off my Dad's old uniforms. Navy buttons on the belt loops.

The dogs have been annoyed with me for leaving them in the house while I sew. Mr. Martha is able to climb and jump and stay with me where ever I go. He likes baskets and he likes to stash stuff in them. His eyes are not green, they are gold, but the light hit them at an odd angle in this shot.

I am off to drag the vacuum to my luggage to suck some air out and make them actually close. I sure hope they don't decide to open my bags ......... They won't be able to close them again.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Silver Linings and Sleep-Overs

Still no pictures. I will be addressing this problem very soon. I will hand this computer to my son with instructions to "fix it". I might even let him share the process with me. Maybe. I may be too busy with some little girls I am dying to see.

I am staying two nights with my youngest and two nights with my oldest. I will be chauffeured to and fro. My son lives close to his younger sister, so I will get plenty of girl time, but Gavin is pleased to host the sleep-over at his house, then I will be at Layla's house for the remainder of my "sleep-over".

My bag packing is coming along and I have taken all the clothes out of my closet, cleaned it and put everything back. I found things I had forgotten I even had! Lots of dust, too. I confess that I am not the best housekeeper.

I reason that if the kitchen and bathrooms are clean, the rest can wait. That and I am a little neurotic about bed sheets and dog baths. But that is a story for another day.

I called my hair dresser for a cut and she was booked solid. Go figure, it is December and I didn't care that my hair was a little, um, unkempt, no, that's not the word. It lacks shape. One side has grown longer than the other. It just needs a good trim and some layers added. So, I positioned myself so the hair would fall into the toilet and cut it myself. It has layers now. I got all the split ends off and Kris can fix it when I get back. She is used to my home cuts. I see her at least 3 times a year!!

Today was a baking day. Five batches of cookies. The oven kept me warm, but the arthritis in my hands was not too happy about rolling cookie dough into balls. Then, I decided to make meatballs for supper. My right thumb joint is very unhappy about this. Spaghetti and meatballs for supper. No spaghetti in the pantry. Macaroni and meatballs doesn't sound right, but there is macaroni in the pantry and I refuse to go out in the cold for pasta of a different shape.

I finally discovered what was making me feel so bad. I was out of Zyrtec. Probably for 3 weeks, the best I can figure. I usually keep the empty bottle of pills in my basket until I replace it. I count out a two week supply for both of us at a time and make a list as I go. I was being super efficient and tossed the empty bottle after adding it to my list. I buy the generic and I buy this particular one at Family Pharmacy in town. I can get 365 pills for $30. We both take it, so I only buy it twice a year. I replaced all the prescription and other over the counter stuff at WalMart and promptly tossed the list. So, without that empty bottle to remind me, I totally forgot about the Zyrtec.

I am allergic to dust mites and mold. Like little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, I think this building is made of mites and mold and everything old. If I ever wondered about the Zyrtec, I now know that it is the drug of choice for my allergies. The silver lining to my cloud.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Very Annoyed

I am so annoyed. Blogger refuses to upload photos for me! This past week has been a sewing marathon for me as I race to get dresses and pants and doll clothes done for my girls.

I am annoyed with he who took it upon himself to purchase a ticket for me to head north without first consulting me. Surprises are great. But he knew I wanted us to go together. So, he tries to get away with gifting my airfare and act all noble. Ever the martyr, he will stay home and keep the pets and work while I go take Christmas to the grandchildren. Totally defeats the purpose of spending time together as a family.

Tomorrow will be a cookie baking marathon. I get two free pieces of luggage and a carry-on. By using space bags and sucking all the air out of everything, I might be able to fit it all in. I will limit the amount of clothes I take and just wash clothes while I am there. In the car, this would not be an issue.

I am happy to see my kids and their kids, but wanted Grampa to come with me. He says he will go in January. Not without me, he won't!

I am just going to slink off to bed. Still annoyed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Start Of Day .......

I can feel her breath on my chin, her whiskers tickle my nose and I know she is watching me. Her full focus is on me. She waits patiently. She won't move until she sees my eyes open. She can wait as long as I can. Our morning ritual. Our game. I carefully open one eye and watch her as she watches me. Her body is still, as she waits, ready to pounce. I carefully slit the other eye ....

She sees it and her tongue springs into action. She kisses my entire face and presses her body close for a hug. So happy to see me. She is selfish in the morning and will not allow her siblings close. This is her time. This love fest goes on until I sit up in the bed. The day begins and she jumps to the floor. Toni Louise can now face the day.

I lift my old guy, Oscar, out of the bed and carry him in my arms to the back door. With all the canines out side I start the coffee, moving very slowly as Mr. Martha winds between my legs, impatient. I scoop him up and we have our purr fest as we walk to the door to let the dogs in. He leaps down to play with his favorite dog, Toni.

Fat old Oscar stands whining at the treat jar, demanding my attention in the form of a dog biscuit. Pour dog food and water, coax the cat and dog duo in from the back yard, then into the store to feed said cat. All the while Wall-E waits patiently, watching me.

Finally I pour my coffee and settle down on the love seat to check e-mail and lose myself in the land of blog. Wall-E is right next to me, his warm weight against my left leg. The others fill their bellies and Wall-E snuggles close. This is his time. He will growl at any intruder right now. Later, after coffee, he is happy to share my affections and his seating area, but not as long as there is coffee in my hand.

This is how I start my days.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ignorance Is Bliss?????

My child is home from the hospital and feeling better. I am catching up on the sleep I missed while I worried. Well, I would if my pet menagerie would cooperate.

The warm weather beckons and I sip my coffee while listening to the news. This particular station has students in the morning and the news can be pretty entertaining. Some will stumble on the words and try to blurt everything at once, some have heavy accents and are impossible to understand. This morning a young man was attempting to find his rhythm. He was pausing every few words, as if reading a child's poem. His pauses did not coordinate with the content of the news story. It was about a couple traveling and speaking to various groups about AIDS. As I was half listening I heard him say " ....and travel the world, (pause), spreading AIDS, (pause), awareness ........."  Really unfortunate timing there.

Last night, he who mows and tows had control of the remote and we ended up watching 'America's Funniest Videos'. Most of the clips showed people doing things that were really dangerous and could have ended up with serious injuries, making me feel like it was staged. That they were thinking up stunts to video just to submit. Lacked spontaneity. There was one that I just found disgusting. A toddler with a diaper full was put on a water slide, leaving a trail of brown smeared behind her. I don't know if it was "real" or not, as all the people around the child were bent double in laughter and not rushing to get out of the pool of water she entered at the end of the slide.

All I could think about was that some poor soul was going to have to clean that slide and the pool would have to be closed to sanitize the water ......
Then I started to wonder (as I am prone to do). What if they simply washed it into the pool of water and hoped the next group of swimmers didn't know about the "fecal incident".
I don't know that I will ever slip mindlessly into a pool of water again!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mother's Guilt

It never goes away. Guilt. As I sit here drinking my coffee I am torn. I have the phone right next to me. But ....... the phone can't smooth her forehead.

My baby girl called me yesterday. I saw her number on the caller ID and I was all set to settle in with a cup of coffee and catch up on her life. But when I answered she was gasping in pain. "Mom, I hurt so bad." She was crying and could only talk as the pain subsided. She was waiting for her fiancee' to come take her to Urgent Care.

I spent the rest of the day waiting for the phone to ring. Longest day ever. She is in the hospital. Her small intestine is inflamed. Don't know why. Tests today and an IV drip with pain meds. She sounds goofy on the phone, but that is so much better than hearing her in pain. I can talk to her, but I can't touch her and everybody knows that a mother's touch has healing powers!

My blood pressure is under control, but the headaches are still with me and strike when I least expect it. A 9 hour drive would be interesting .....

She insists that she is fine and I don't need to come. Her brother and sister are close by and helping with her child. But if I were there ....... I might just be in the way. Gavin is a pretty self sufficient kid. He would have to tell me what to do. He is his mother's child.

So I wait to hear what will happen next. Feeling guilty that I am not there.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back Roads, Backwards

I did not succumb to shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and have not taken any cyber bait thus far. I am proud of myself. Even though some of my strands of lights refused to work, I took the fuses out and worked with what I had. In years past I have been known to just go buy new ones.

But, today, the shopping ban ended. I shall now refer to it as Sad Sunday. It all started with a simple request for dinner. He Who works much harder than I do requested tacos. Upon checking my pantry I discovered that I was out of taco seasoning. Needed lettuce, too. So I drove into town. I wandered through Alco to see what I could see. Nary a thing did I long for and left. On to the grocery where I scored some packets of taco seasoning and found lettuce on sale. Ground beef, too. I was horrified to see that chuck roast is now almost $5 per lb!

So, I was happily headed home, feeling noble for not buying anything I did not need. I was zipping along, looking left and right at the Christmas decorations starting to appear. There is one house in particular that always has some message on the fence fashioned out of styrofoam cups. On my way into town there was a tarp covering the message that was no doubt under construction. So, as I headed home I looked to see if the tarp was gone. It was.

I wish I had a camera, but the sun was in my eyes and I might have been exceeding the speed limit. I did not want to cause an accident. The new message for the approaching holiday was simple. Simply spelled out 'JESUS'. Well, sort of. The 'J' was backwards and I think the 'S's were, too. Dyslexic Decor? A tribute, nonetheless. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day After Thanksgiving

I felt almost good yesterday. Spent the day in my kitchen, cooking and cleaning. Basting the bird periodically and cleaning the areas of my kitchen that get lost in the season. The shelf above the microwave and the spice racks and the top of the refrigerator. You know the spots.

I cooked a small turkey. Just the two of us. He who likes Thanksgiving meals had suggested Cornish Game Hens. For just $2 more that what they cost I got an eleven pound turkey. When I was finished with the carving and dividing, I made 7 meals out of that bird.

My turkey was cooked old school this year. No fancy rubs, no salt water brine or other elaborate prep involved. I just washed the turkey and salted and peppered it and put it in the oven. I basted it with melted butter and cooked it the required amount of time and then carved it up. It was so good. Good sandwiches, too. I made fresh cranberry sauce, but forgot all about it until today!

Today I tackled the microwave. I have to stand on a step ladder to reach it. It smelled like an armpit when I stood there face to face with it. An armpit that has never seen deodorant. Really. I took all the removable parts out and set them aside as I tackled the job. I clean the microwave periodically and I am always careful to cover my leftovers as I heat them up. He who tows is not so careful and at some point, something came to rest under the revolving platter. I think it was Chinese. Food, I mean. Not a part of a person. It was definitely the source of the odor and I was happy to solve that little mystery. I cleaned all the parts with a solution of bleach and water and dish detergent. Smells like a pool now. But, that is better than an armpit.

No big towing jobs yesterday. He who tows had agreed to be here for the holiday. This is why we had a lonely turkey in a quiet little house instead of a big family celebration at my son's house. No chaos, no crying children, no embarrassing stories about me from the mouths of my children ........ no hugs and kisses from the best grandchildren in the world. It was lonely. And I tried to tell him that he would not be busy ....... all those road ragers were camped out at Best Buy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Five Minutes Ago

I am feeling no worse, although not really better. I wait to either feel better or a whole lot worse. Limbo.

While lingering here in limbo I have become addicted to LMN. Watching one sappy movie after another. When I encounter one I have already seen, I skip over to Dateline ID for a dose of bloody murder scenes and court drama. Animal Cops is also a favorite. Toni Louise loves that one and will watch it with me.

Now, lest you envision me on the love seat in my jammies with my pillow and a maid servant delivering endless cups of herbal tea at my pleasure, please know that I am ambulatory and maintaining a level of order in my home. That means I am still cooking and cleaning, just spreading it out and resting in between.

I am sleeping better and did not grace the TV with my attention until 9 this morning. I was savoring my one cup of coffee and watching some mindless drivel on a morning news show and checking my e-mail. The phone rang.

I arose from the comfort of warm dogs and went into the office to find the handset. Local number. I answered and found myself locked in conversation with a man claiming to be a very close friend of my husband. "We go way back." he tells me.

I am always a bit skeptical of those who would claim to be so close with my husband ...... wouldn't I know them, too? This man is not drinking coffee. He is a drummer and his band just released an album and he is on tour. He is home for the holidays and wants to "interpret" to my husband what being on the road is like.

He blathers on and on and I find it difficult to break into his monologue as I try to end the call. I have been told that I am a master of changing the subject. It is a well known fact that you cannot out talk a drunk and I have met my match. I know too much about this man's life on the road already and tune him out as he recites his upcoming itinerary. Finally, after promising that I will relay his message he ends the call with "I love you, honey."

I called he who tows. I did not want him to miss this opportunity for interpretation of a drummer on tour. He laughed. The man is a mere acquaintance and starts drinking beer upon awakening. I wonder how many others he tried to engage in conversation before he got me ....... I made note of the number on caller ID and I will not be held captive for five minutes again!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Are You Here?

I have a headache for three days. Not a migraine, not sinus. Just that dull nagging pain that never really leaves, but ebbs and flows. I tried all the ready remedies. Aspirin is my drug of choice for anything. Can't really hurt, might help. I use it  for arthritic pain and it seems to work the best for that, but won't touch a sinus headache. But, I always try aspirin first, my thinking that if I have a heart attack, I am all set.

Along with the headache, I have had just general malaise ( or crappiness). Insomnia, irritation and slight nausea. I figured that I may have picked up a bug from a poorly wiped grocery cart handle. I made the best of it by getting a good bit of writing done and some sewing. The weather was just beautiful yesterday and I longed to be outdoors, but just had no energy.

He who tows was busy all day long with stranded motorists and I was alone much of the afternoon. The headache was making it hard to concentrate and after many attempts to re-thread the sewing machine, I gave up and decided to eat my lonely supper and take my meds, then zone out in front of the TV. But, I decided to check my blood pressure. No reason, just did. It was 170/100. Gee, no wonder I feel so crappy. I decided to take an extra dose of my blood pressure meds. Went to bed, but could not sleep. Every sound and movement was magnified and I was so irritable, add to that the indigestion and the lingering headache.

This morning I still felt the same and my blood pressure was 150/98. It should have been a lot lower. I called the clinic to make an appointment. When I relayed my blood pressure I was told to come in right away.

I showered quickly and took my meds, along with aspirin. Hey, I watch TV, I know what those symptoms were pointing to. He who tows came home and took me (he loves me). I felt nauseous on the way. But, that could have been the over-heated car.

Upon arrival my blood pressure as 170/68. The nurse practitioner I usually see is no longer there and the doctor came in to see me. He asked why I was there and I gave him my list of woes. He listened to my heart for at least 2 seconds and then asked me if my headache had caused my blood pressure to go up. I almost asked him which came first, the chicken or the egg.

He seemed unconcerned and told me to increase my dosage and wrote a new prescription and sent me on my way. Oh, he did say I should call if I continued to feel bad.

I left feeling no better or worse than I went in. Ironically, while waiting to be called to the exam room, there was a warning about ignoring the signs of a heart attack on the health channel that was playing in the waiting room.

You hear it all the time ....... women ignore the symptoms because they don't want to be a bother. I felt like I was bother today. He even asked me why I was taking my blood pressure. Because I can. No, I monitor my blood pressure because I take medication and it is a good idea.

This is why women do not seek help with vague symptoms. I was less than impressed with this physician. He made me feel unimportant and silly. This clinic is my only option for health care right now and I am not feeling warm and cozy. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sheet Lotto and Cat Naps

I finally found some sheets. At Target. Free shipping. The pockets are only 20", but I do have those handy-dandy sheet garters.

Still, I sent e-mails to all the sites that neglected to put the actual depth of the pocket in their description of the sheets. Maybe they will decide to send me a king fitted sheet for going to the trouble of pointing out this little omission. One can dream. Just picture daily arrivals of fitted sheets from about 12 sources.

It would be like winning a bed sheet lottery!!

Yesterday was sunny, so I decided to hang my laundry on the lines. I was happily going about my business mid-morning. Pinning the worn out fitted sheet to the line (I could use it as a pattern to make my own fitted sheets; there are parts that are okay and I can use them to make "sheets" for Oscar's dog bed ......... I am frugal, I can't seem to help myself!!), I hear a plaintiff meow and it occurs to me that I have not had my morning purr fest with Mr. Martha.

I assumed that he exited the building when he who left for work. I later learned the he refused to come in the night before. He sleeps in the office and is the responsibility of the last one in. It was not me.

I looked around the yard and did not see him. I called out for him, "Marrrthaaa". More timid meows and I still don't see my cat. He can now scale the fence with little effort, so I waited a few minutes to see if he would appear at the top of the fence post. Called out again and added, "kitty, kitty". He answered again and I finally look up to see him on the roof of the shed, hunkered down as if to jump. He was afraid. I could tell by the timid meow.

"Mommy's coming, Mr. Martha, hang on." I found a 6" board about 10' long and leaned it against the building. He looked at me as if to say, "You are kidding, right?". I reminded my feline friend that I do not climb.

By now the three dogs were all looking up, too. And me without a camera! I motioned for him to use the plank of wood as a ramp and come on down. He stoop up and looked the remedy for his situation. He took a deep breath (I swear, this is true) and ran lickity split down the board and then to me to be scooped up in my arms. He not only purred as he burrowed his head into my neck, but made a garbled sound of mewling. He was, no doubt, telling me about his ordeal.

The three dogs waited their turn to examine their feline sibling. He was sniffed and flipped over by Toni Louise and thoroughly checked out. He came in, ate, drank and then promptly took a nap in Daddy's chair. All is right in his world again. I do have remarkable pets, don't I?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Deep Pockets

Wonder about the title? Am I about to mount my soap box and rant about politics or some injustice perpetrated by someone able to buy their way out of trouble?

No. Today my rant is about fitted sheets. Those labeled "deep" pockets or "deeper" pockets. Can they not simple state the dimensions with a number? The width and length are clearly labeled with numbers, so why not the depth?

My mattress is 15" deep, add to that the 4" memory foam topper and my mattress is 19" deep. Most sheets labeled "deep pockets" are 18" deep. I know this, because I carry a tape measure in my purse and am not afraid to whip it out and measure before I buy. I have also been known to return items I find to be less than satisfactory. Not afraid to complain, either. Really. Ask my family.

I had a favorite set of sheets. You know the ones that make you say "ahhhhhh" when you climb into bed at the end of a long day. I was doing just that and rubbing my feet against the texture and snuggling down for a long winter's nap. I felt something give and the well-worn fabric gave way. I was devastated. My favorite sheets!! The deep pockets did not quite tuck, but I put garters on each corner to hold them in place. Not so easy to do with my arthritic thumbs, but it was worth it.

I lamented the death of the sheet and was about to say that they should have lasted longer, then realized they had lasted longer. They are about 9 years old!! Got them at Target on sale for $39. They no longer carry my particular sheets. I loved those sheets.

I launched a search for sheets online and that is when I became incensed about the labeling of the sheets. I have found some with dimensions, they have really deep pockets, 24". These would actually tuck. I could skip the sheet garters! No, I can't ....... $229.

I can't seem to find just the fitted sheets. They all seem to come in sets. I have top sheets from all those sets that have shallow pockets for skinny mattresses, I suppose. I tried to make a fitted sheet before. It's not hard, just takes a ton of elastic. I guess I will switch my search from sheets to elastic ..........

In the meantime I will continue my letter writing to the those companies that make sheet sets. I am suggesting they make sets with two fitted sheets and one top sheet and four pillow cases. The bottom sheet wears out long before the top sheet. Then maybe the set would be worth the amount they want. Oh, who am I kidding, I still wouldn't buy it!

Monday, November 12, 2012


 The weather forecast was correct this past weekend. A cold front was coming through with some rain. When I arose from the warmth of my bed Sunday morning, my joints confirmed this.

I left he who tows snugged in bed. He was out on a call the night before. Cold front will mean a fire in the stove, and rain will mean wet firewood. I skipped the shower and washed my face and brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes and grabbed my trusty wheel barrow. I hauled wood and stacked wood. I placed it under the shelter near the back door and covered it with a tarp.

While I was emptying the trash into the dumpster, I discovered a lone pumpkin that had grown in my garden. It was totally hidden by the tiger lilies when they were standing upright! And a lovely pumpkin it is!

Even though the gourd vine bloomed late in the season, one managed to mature before the frost knocked down the cone flowers and revealed the hiding place.

Those cone flowers are still trying to bloom!

My clematis vine was fooled by the recent warm spell. It did feel like spring last week.

The Four O'clocks are thriving!

They even have buds waiting to bloom.

So, here I sit. A fire burns in the stove, a cup of coffee sits nearby. My hair glows with product that promises to make all other hair "gel-ous". A freshly bathed fat dachshund is nestled against my leg, a fat boy cat named Martha is keeping my shoulders warm. Contentment.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Much Loved Dog

I did not check my e-mail before retiring for the night yesterday. When I woke this morning and brewed my coffee, I settled on the love seat with my cup and my lap top. My faithful dog, Oscar at my side. This is when I learned that my dear friend, Martha had suffered the loss of her sweet dog, Buddy.

I started crying, knowing the pain my friend was in. My Emmy left us last spring and I still miss her. Lately I have been "seeing" her. I had told Martha that I walked into our seating area and thought I saw her sitting on the couch in her usual spot. My spot. Emmy would always move to my spot when I wasn't there, like she was "saving" my seat. It was Toni Louise sitting there and it was only an instant that I mistook her for Emmy. A couple of days ago, I could have sworn I saw her walking into the kitchen in her careful little manner. It was Oscar, and again it was only an instant.

Now I wonder if she may have been hovering close by to help Buddy cross over. I know it sounds silly. They both possessed sensitive temperaments. I saw Martha for a bit today and we cried together as she remembered her sweet Buddy. I hate to see her so sad.

Rest in peace, good boy, you were loved so much.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Struck Speechless, Not Really

Just when I think I have heard all the absurdities in the world.

"Do you have a dispense station for doggie poop bags?" No, I don't. Most stores carry them, but if you are out of bags, I have some WalMart bags ....

"Oh, no, I have plenty. I just wanted to stock up if you had a station here." What? What????? This woman isn't even a guest here. She stopped here to let her dog relieve himself. And, I suppose to steal necessities. Shall I just fix her up with toilet tissue and paper towels, too? You know, so she won't have to actually go to the trouble of stealing them from the restrooms. A goody bag of campground condiments, if you will.

I was dumbstruck for only a second. Then I said, "You do realize that is stealing, don't you?" She looked appalled that I would suggest such a thing and informed me that they were free, provided by the state, for state parks. She went on, indignantly, to say that I was acting like I bought the supplies myself!

There she stood looking down her nose at me and I sort of lost it. "Just what is the name of this state park?" I asked. She told me and I responded that her first clue that she was in the wrong park would have been the numerous signs she passed as she drove into my park. The signs that do NOT have the name of the state park on them. I also pointed out that she had not stopped at the STOP sign and that she totally disregarded the sign that says all visitors must check in at the office. I knew all this, because I was outside working when she pulled in. I went on to inform her that I did indeed purchase the supplies for my park and that she was on private property. I then instructed her to scoop up her poop and take it with her when she left, that I also paid for the dumpster located on my private property. She had already made use of my facilities to relieve herself and I wanted to demand payment for that, but felt like I might be pushing it. 

I followed her as she cleaned up her pet's leavings. I used this opportunity to educate her and told her that the supplies in the state parks were paid for by taxpayers and that she was a leech on society. I was on a roll and couldn't seem to help myself.

I don't think she will entertain thoughts of camping here. Not that I would want her to ....... she did not flush the toilet.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Insights and Observations

I am in a strange mood this dreary day as the slow drizzle of rain spots the gray skies.

I usually like Mondays. Mondays are my Saturdays. Weekend is over and all my "guests" have left. Time to scrub the bathrooms and empty all the trash. Start to get ready for another round of "guests".

My joints are hurting. Mainly the right thumb, right elbow and right shoulder. It is right painful (insight). Tiger Balm smells funky. Not unpleasant like  Ben Gay. It has a hint of wintergreen, I am thinking (observation). The directions (if you have a magnifying glass) warn to keep this product away from your eyes and that it is for external use only. Really. This means that someone tried to eat it at some point. Any time you see some redundant rule it is because some person tried it at some time. Maybe not that product, in particular, but a similar one.

You should avoid standing on your glass top stove. I know of someone who did just that. It will only hold so much weight. I was going to buy a canner, but read the accompanying instructions that said "DO NOT USE ON GLASS TOP STOVES". I didn't buy it. I really want a gas stove, but this one won't die .......

Soured sweet tea smells like black olives. I love sweet tea with just a touch of sweet. I like to brew the tea leaves and steep them just so, then pour it over 1/3 cup of sugar for a half gallon. I like it when it is still a little warm and I pour it over the ice. The ice crackles ands pops and that first sip is so refreshing. But I am the only one who drinks it here in my house. I am loathe to waste anything and I don't like it after it has been refrigerated, so I leave it on my counter and try to drink it before it sours. I seldom succeed. It gets sweeter when you put it in the fridge. My grandson called it the frigatory when he was learning to talk. We still call it that. Sounds like purgatory.

Dust balls are rarely shaped like bunnies. I wonder why they are called dust bunnies. Are dust balls similar to clouds, taking on different shapes if you stare at them long enough. Maybe they are called dust bunnies because they multiply so quickly when you leave them alone? Would this be insight on my part?

I am at a standstill with a book I am working on. I do my best thinking when I am occupied with a mindless chore such as weeding or mowing. Since that is not possible this wet and dreary day, I will follow the words of the song floating through my mind (endlessly) and try to want what I've got and not have what I want. I think I will head to my sewing lair to soak up some artificial sun and try to lighten up.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

82 Degrees

A chill is in the air. I love this time of year. I like sleeping all snug and warm under a quilt while breathing the crisp air. My nose may be a tad cold, but I sleep better when there is a chill in the air.

I cringe as I watch him about to toss another log on the fire. It is 82 degrees in here, I just checked it. I am sweating. I dressed appropriately for the season when I got up today, but now I need to change into shorts and a t-shirt. He has long johns on, for heavens sake. Two shirts and heavy socks. He has those socked feet held up to the wood stove.. I just clipped my damp hair up, as my neck is so hot.

82 degrees and he wants to feed the fire. I will never be able to sleep. If it were 82 degrees outside, he would want the air conditioning on.

Apparently 82 degrees in November is different than 82 degrees in June.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It Wasn't Me!!! Really!

"What do you think you are doing?" I asked Martha the boy cat. No longer a kitten and not quite a cat, I suppose Martha has decided to see how far he can push me.

As you can see, Martha has decided to nap on the table. I just washed that table cloth and am not too happy with Mr. Martha. Like a teen is his prime, Martha is looking at me insolently.

Perhaps I shouldn't have bragged about training him not to claw and bite. I used the kennel as a jail for this. Solitary confinement. No bread, no water. He had to stay until he stopped crying pitifully. This punishment works only for teeth and claws, though.

"Get off the table!!" He seems to be saying "make me". Not only has he made this a nap area, but he has developed the nasty little habit of clearing the entire table. If the mail is on the table, he swipes it to the floor. Bowl of apples are rolled to the floor one by one, then the bowl, unless he decides to get in the bowl.

Mr. Martha, meet Mr. Fly Swatter. Really, you may want to re-think that paw you are extending! Mr. Martha has now experienced what the dogs have been warning him about. He is a very unhappy cat. He might think twice before he hops on my table again. Until this habit is broken, the table cloth will be removed before we eat and replaced after!

Besides trying to assert himself as the alpha being in my house, Martha has developed another problem. Martha eats dog food and cat food. I do not know if this may be cause of his problem, but Martha has gas. Well, that's not quite accurate, as he expels this gas with great regularity.

Although unpleasant, it does not make me love him less. But, he seems to actually choose his timing. He does this in the store while I am checking guests in. I smell it, so I know they have to smell it. They get this trapped look on their faces. They look around to see where this odor has originated and this is when Martha will disappear.

I want to deny any culpability. But I know they think I did it. On the plus side, check-ins have been really fast of late.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Growing Up

Happy Birthday to Layla, my granddaughter. She is twelve years old today. There are no words to describe just how amazing she is.

It goes without saying that she is beautiful and fun.

She is photogenic, for sure.

Not afraid to try new looks ...... and they all look good on her.

Twelve years ago I met this amazing girl and have had the joy of watching her become a beautiful young lady!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

He's Alive .......

 Remember my dead scarecrow? He's alive, he's alive!!

His clothes used to glow in the dark. The fabric has lost that capability. It is, after all almost 25 years old. I worked for a fabric chain then. We were all amazed with this new fabric. We stole away in groups to the stock room to turn out the lights and gaze at the fabric and giggle. Grown women. I actually wore this to work one Halloween. My kids were so proud .........

I hope my face didn't look like this, although he is kind of cute.

Fred Sanford struck again. He brought home an office chair. We don't really need one, since he gave me a new one for my birthday. But, it was free ...... and he was wondering if I could use it. Somewhere. So, where did he put it? On the front porch. Kind of kills the ambiance of a rustic campground, don't you think?

This is the garden I weeded after the rain.

Planted some lavender. It smells so good. I am hoping it will spread out so that when the wind blows I can pick up the scent. That has already happened with the mint that has taken over my hollow log.

The gourd vine has picked a fine time to bloom! Too late for gourds to grow, but my ferns are looking good after the hot dry summer.

Zinnias still blooming!

Clematis is fooled by the recent weather.

The sweet potato plant is looking a little sad from the frosty nights we had not long ago.