Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pressure Cooker

Wonder what I am going to talk about? So many things run through my mind. The pressure cooker has been in use all week. Not the weather, but the one on the stove. Not to mention the one in my head .......

The weather has been insane. One day this week I was tempted to start working on my gardens and planting seeds. It was in the upper 70's. I carefully pulled back dead leaves on the ground to reveal tiny green shoots working their way to the surface of the ground ....... like Spring. The air even smelled like Spring, fresh and earthy. Two days later, it is snowing and the wind is frigid. A real pressure cooker for serious weather events.

No wonder I have been blowing my nose all day. Like the weather, I am hot one minute and cold the next. My upper region is hot and my lower regions are cold. I am pretty miserable.

The pressure cooker on the stove has been churning out soups and stews to soothe my scratchy throat ........

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Am Confused

Shopping is exhausting! I was all set to sit down with a cup of coffee and read blogs. Blogger has hidden all the blogs I follow! So here I sit, coffee next to me and no good reading material. No-one to talk to.

Instead I turned on the TV and behold ..... Barry Manilow is serenading me. Wait, I think it is him. He is singing songs and it sounds like him. But, the face doesn't move. It is like a canvas stretched to frame. How does he make the sound come out of that slit of a mouth? Has he looked in a mirror lately? His face lacks character and dimension. I doubt that was the look he was going for.

Nothing wrong with a little upgrading, but, he looks as freaky as Michael Jackson! Aging offers some grooming challenges, for sure, but it also tells the story of a life. I often wondered why Larry Hagman never groomed his eyebrows. Those things were wicked and took on a life of their own, but at least his face moved when he spoke.

Who am I to judge? I did pluck my goatee before I ventured out. I hit the thrift store and scored lots of jeans to cut up for my quilt. I think I may have enough to finish and I will post pictures.

From thrift store to WalMart. Time for refills on RX. I scoured the store for bargains as I waited for the refills. Bought a few groceries and was a little shocked at the price of ice cream. I wonder if I could learn to milk a cow at this late stage of my life?

I remember when WalMart opened their first store in Albany, GA. They boasted, "You're always next in line at WalMart!" They promised fast service and advertised that they would open another line if more than 3 customers were in line. Times have changed. The new slogan could just as well say that, "You're always in line at WalMart ....... always!" As I stood waiting for my turn at the conveyor belt, I read all the headlines on the tabloids and magazines.

It seems that an investigation into the death of Marilyn Monroe has been reopened and it has been determined that she was murdered. I am confused. Why is this important now? And who conducted this investigation? Are they anticipating an arrest and trial? Aren't all the key players in this drama now dead? I am just confused.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Democratic Dog

It is cold outside. It is cold everywhere except our living quarters. I have been spending quality time with my pets and the TV.

I have said before that my dog, Toni Louise, is an avid TV viewer. Besides her eye fetish, she enjoys watching TV. She will sit perfectly still, totally absorbed in a program. She likes Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, but will simply fall asleep when Colbert comes on. Loves Animal Cops, too.

Yesterday, though, she was entranced with Obama's speech. She watched the inauguration with all the pomp and circumstance, but the speech had her full attention. She had my full attention. I was answering e-mail and reading blogs when I noticed her. I wondered what had her so riveted to the TV. Who knew my dog was a Democrat??

Or, maybe she is a Republican and was paying close attention, looking for fault. At any rate I wondered what attracted her to what she liked to watch on TV. I thought is was audio. She likes to answer barks. Maybe it is a tone of voice she likes, or even the programmed laughter. I always wonder what she sees when she looks at the big screen. Wouldn't you think that she would react as if there were an intruder in our home if she was seeing the TV the way we see the TV?

Today she was curled up on the ottoman next to my feet. I thought she was napping. I put the program on hold to go stir the chili in the crock pot. I knew there was a commercial on, but didn't really pay much attention. She started barking in earnest while I was in the kitchen. I told her to stop, figuring Mr. Martha, the cat, had decided to torment her by playing with one of her chew toys. She did not stop. She was mad, her ruff had risen and she was growling and yapping away. I came into the room, intending to scoop the cat up and scold her for barking.

Martha, the boy cat, was in his usual spot in the lone chair asleep. When I looked at her to see what was causing her agitation, she was staring at a troll frozen on the TV screen. I guess she does "see" what is on the screen. She likes Obama and Jon Stewart, but disdains trolls. She is a Democrat, after all!

Friday, January 18, 2013


I seem to be caught up in a dog theme of late. Perhaps I am spending more time with my pets than I do with people.

I was going to post a picture of Wall-E under sedation, but Blogger is persnickety today .... Suffice it to say he looked pretty pathetic with his little pink tongue protruding just a bit. His eyes were glassy, too. Hmmm, I have seen people look this way under the influence of alcohol.

Oscar has had an amazing recovery. He is so perky again. He longs to chew on a treat, but, he can't. I am afraid he will hurt his gums. So, he will be on soft food forever. I have been making his food. Brown rice and chicken. I boiled a whole chicken and then pulled all meat off the bones. I was more careful boning his chicken that I am when I do it for people to eat. I shredded and mushed up all the meat and then cooked it all until it was really soft. He loves it. He gets to eat alone and the other two are jealous and no longer want the dry food.

I ventured out of my lair yesterday and drove into the great metropolis of Montgomery on a mission for bread and milk. He Who loves Jif needed his daily bread. While in the local grocery, I meandered down each and every aisle (having forgotten my list). Sometimes I will see something that will trigger my memory.

After Oscar's traumatic tooth loss, He Who loves to run errands told me that a small can of Alpo dog food was $2.00. She Who is cheap scoffed and decided to make her own. But, as I found myself on the dog food aisle I decided to do a price check of my own. He Who has been known to exaggerate, or even just make something up if he forgets to do my bidding.

The small cans were $.79 and the large can that could feed Oscar three times was on sale for $1.00. I should have known. To be fair, he says he priced this at the Dollar General and if I find myself there I will check it myself, but , whatever, it is the dollar store and is usually cheaper, for heaven's sake.

I purchased 5 cans, thinking that Oscar may be getting tired of eating the same thing every day. I bought 5 different flavors. I am a good and loving dog mom, after all. But, last night, as I lay snug in my warm bed, in the wee hours of the morning when insomnia once again invaded my world, I reconsidered all my actions of the day. I think it is called second guessing.

First I calculated the cost of my home made dog food as opposed to the food I purchased. Mine is still cheaper, even though the one can would provide 3 meals for my little guy. Then I wondered why I was worried that he would tire of the same food every day. He has been eating the same dry food 13 years. So, why did I think that? Is it a subliminal message sent from the dog food companies to encourage those who love their pets to buy more? What other evil ploys lurk on the grocery aisles?

I bought one can boasting a T-bone Steak flavor. I opened it and gave Oscar a little snack. He liked it. But, then Oscar would eat anything if he thought I would eat it. Then I pondered other things. Who taste tests this T-bone flavor? It smelled beefy to me, but I didn't want to taste it and it made me wonder if this was an actual job that was assigned to someone, to taste the dog food? Does it taste like a T-bone to a person .... or to a dog? And, how do you know the difference?

I had a very restless night as I pondered all this. Then I fell asleep. I don't know when I actually dozed off. I have removed all tellers of time from my room, eliminating my neurotic need to calculate how many hours and minutes of sleep can be attained if I go to sleep "right now". I do know I need more coffee to get myself going today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Zipper Quilt?

Cold toes plague me. I can only get two pairs of socks on with my fleece lined slippers. It is 80 degrees in our little sitting room with the wood stove and I have on a tank top and pajama pants. But ....... the toes are still cold. The floor is still cement.

I only venture out for firewood and to take the dogs out. I stand inside and watch them through the storm door. I can hear the icy grass crunch as Toni Louise runs round and round in circles. Martha, the fat cat watches from his perch on the wood pile. Wall-E and Oscar get right to business and hurry back to the door.

Oscar is enjoying his new special diet and the status of eating alone. I am making his food. Chicken and rice, with some dry dog food mushed in. Wall-E protested for a whole day and refused to eat the dry food he has always eaten.

I am bored. I started a quilt. I am using old denim jeans. It will be heavy. I am happy to have a use for the jeans. I won't have enough to complete it, but a trip to some thrift stores should take care of that. It is mindless sewing. Straight seams, with the edges exposed. The hardest part is cutting the squares. I am using 8" squares. I will need 13 rows of 15 squares each. I have two rows done. Some of the 8" squares will be composed of four 4" squares, make that 4 1/4" squares, to allow for the 1/2" seams. This allows me to use more of the fabric on each pair of jeans..

I am saving all the zippers. Don't really know why, but you never know ........ I never really knew why I was saving all those jeans.

The most exciting thing that happened today was during  a phone call from my baby girl. She accidentally swallowed her gum, but it came back into her mouth when she burped. I was so proud. A moment every mother dreams of. She is almost 35. My girl. She makes me laugh.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dentures and The Tooth Fairy

I never got a call from the vet yesterday. I had been told to pick Oscar up at 4:00, and they would have only called if something had gone wrong. But I did have to sign that form for him to be put under anesthesia and one of the complications for older pets is death. I read it. Right there in black and white.

I was starting to get a little anxious when He Who taxies dogs home wasn't home. I figured he had plenty of time, but I didn't want to call him. I was afraid to call him. What if the unthinkable happened? Would he tell me on the phone, or would he just show up with my forever sleeping pet?

Why would my mind go there? Well, you would have to know him. Many years ago, when my children were young and I worked the 4-midnight shift in the ER, I had a cat named Patches (along with a Doberman named Boobs ........... but that is a whole other story).

One evening while I was about the business of gathering meds for a patient the phone in the nurses station rang for me. It was He Who was home with the kids calling to tell me a car ran over my cat and killed her. So I had half my shift to work and think about my poor cat under the wheels of the car. He gave details to assure me that she died quickly. So you can see how my thoughts might turn a little macabre.

He arrived home with my old boy safe and sound in his arms. He handed him over and told me that he had lost 12 teeth!! He handed me five syringes of pain meds and the paperwork and rushed off to a tow job.

I felt like poor Oscar had been at One Day Dentures! He was whimpering with hunger and we don't have canned dog food. I boiled some chicken broth and rice for him. He has had his pain meds for the day and is resting quietly.

The real question is, does the tooth fairy visit dogs? Oh, and will he need dentures now?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Four Hours

I arose earlier than usual today. It is supposed to be almost 70 degrees this afternoon. But, that's not why I got up early.

Last time I changed sheets on my bed I found what I thought to be a dog toenail in the sheets. Wall-E is opposed to the cutting of his nails and they are spectacularly long. I figured he had caught one on the blanket and yanked it off. I set it aside to show it to Wall-E later and ask him if he wanted all of his nails yanked out. It was to be a learning experience for him, something that might convince him to let me trim his nails. Do not scoff, I have conversations with all my dogs.

I was all set to have my chat with Wall-E later that day. I sat next to him as he napped on the love seat and carefully checked each and every paw. My inspection did not yield an injured toe with part of a nail hanging to a bloody stump. There was no blood on my found object in the sheet, but I imagined he would have licked at it like crazy. I mean everybody knows that dog slobber can heal anything!

I did not have my chat, I was interrupted by the phone and forgot about it until that evening. I had kept my prize to show it to He Who loves Wall-E. He immediately scooped up the dog to check him for injuries I might have missed (as if I would!). We were baffled. When I found it, it was wet and gooey feeling. Slobbery. Now my artifact was dry and hard, really hard. I carefully rolled it around in my hand. I tried to pierce it with my thumbnail and that is when I realized it was a tooth!! A canine!!

I grabbed Oscar. Oscar is 13 and his breath is ......... well, breathtaking! He will usually succumb to my inspections. Long ago he decided not to bite me, since I have no qualms about biting him back. And he does trust me. I checked one side of his mouth, but could not see any obvious hole. When I tried to lift his lip on the other side he yelped. I quit and decided I didn't need to see it to know that he was the one. There was no root on the tooth I found .........

That is why I was up early and out the door with no coffee. Oscar is having what remains of his tooth extracted and the remaining teeth cleaned or extracted, as needed. He is old and I am worried about him.

We took Wall-E along to have his nails clipped. Wall-E is not a fan of car rides and trembled all the way. He calmed when we arrived, but watched in horror when I relinquished Oscar to a kennel. He snuggled close to He Who loves him and was no doubt thinking he was just along for the ride. Before he gave it too much thought, he was being examined by the vet and he did not like it! Then he was vaccinated. He was becoming less and less enchanted with these new people doing things to him.

The nail cutting began. He squirmed and cried and soiled himself. Then he was muzzled. Oh, the indignity! He became so distraught, foaming at the mouth and hyperventilating. He had to be sedated. He is still goofy as he naps beside me. He will look up with his wobbly head every now and again to make sure I am still with him. His nails are trimmed short and filed to perfection, though. He will be delighted when he regains full consciousness, I know I am.

But, as lovely as his nails are, I am worried about my old guy. He looked so forlorn as he watched me leave with a drugged Wall-E dangling in my arms. He was probably indignant, but thinking I would reappear momentarily to retrieve him. I warned them that he would start howling ...... I have the phone on my person and am ready to go pick my baby up at a moments notice. Just four more hours until he will be ready. Four hours to worry. Four endless hours.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cold Toes

I waken slowly to the weak light filtered through the shade. My toes are cold. I wiggle them and the cat grabs them through the thin quilt.

Not sure when I grabbed the quilt and flipped around with my head at the foot of the bed. I long to snuggle under a pile of covers and sleep, all warm and toasty. The room is getting lighter as I try to recall the dream I was lost in. I can't recapture it. I wonder about getting under the proper sheet and blankets. Will I wake completely if I attempt this. More important, will I wake the dogs? Will I have to take them out?

I lay still, so still. Trying to hang onto sleep. If I tuck one foot into my knee to warm my toes I might create too much movement and make the dogs jump to the floor. The cat is still toying with my toes and he bites into them through the quilt. I grunt the negative grunt that indicates to all animals to leave their mistress sleeping.

The cat responds by sticking out his claws and grabbing my foot. Displaying cat claws is strictly forbidden and I rue the day he learned to jump the half door and enter my sleeping sanctuary. His action causes me to respond by tossing him to the floor. THUNK. Fat cat hits the floor and has the presence of mind to stay out of my bed. The sound causes the old dachshund to seek shelter under the thin quilt and snuggle next to my belly. Like me he is looking to stay in the warm bed. I just wish it was next to my toes.

I can feel Toni Louise staring at me, trying to will my eyes open so that the day can begin. Wall-E follows the cat to the floor and taps across the surface on his way to the back door.

He Who Tows throws back his covers and leaps out of the bed enthusiastically. He never climbs out carefully, so as not to waken his wife. Even though her poor night of sleep was caused by his snoring. He could have slipped out carefully, leaving a tunnel of warmth for her to crawl into, but, no, the cold air has already invaded the space he left.

Giving up, I shove my cold toes into my cold slippers and shuffle to the back door to let my four legged friends relieve themselves. It is so very wrong to start the day with cold toes!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Poof, It Vanished

All week long I have been anticipating the promised warm spell of weather. I do realize that the forecast can change. Can I help it if I was watching a Lifetime movie instead of the news? News is depressing.

It did warm up yesterday and I was so happy to go outside and move some firewood to the pile adjacent to the back door. We were running very low and I had been fighting the wind and cold, tromping through wet areas just to get an armload of wood. Well, that and it was my time outside.

Today was supposed to be warmer than yesterday. A balmy 38. Still, I put on my long johns and thick socks as I dressed for my voyage to the grocery. He Who Plumbs had been outside all morning, so I asked him if I needed a coat. I had jeans and a sweat shirt, along with my cuddle duds under it all and he informed me that it was "nice" out. And it was. When I left the confines of the park.

I went first into the Alco store. Just because it is right there, next to the grocery. And who knows what clearance item might enchant me. I did happen upon an extra 10% off clearance items. And ..... if that was not exciting enough, they had day-glo green long-sleeved T's on clearance! Only two left in his size, but ...... they also had a buy one/get one for 60% off on the short sleeved variety of the same shirt. I got 4 shirts for He Who Tows. Then I stumbled on some socks for him.

I was quite pleased with myself as I left the store to put my bag in the car. Until the wind blown sleet hit me in the face. Not one to be so easily discouraged, I pushed on to the grocery. They had chuck roast for $2.69 lb. and I was determined to get my beef! That is cheaper than lean ground beef! So many things I can do with a roast, but I will spare you the list.

I battled the wind and loaded my groceries and headed home, still pleased with my money saving ways. I was also a good Samaritan while shopping. I don't know why this always happens to me. People will approach me and ask for help finding things. One time someone even asked if I would mix some paint in WalMart. I know how, but I didn't know if my expertise would be appreciated by the personnel. Of course someone would need to show up at the paint mixing counter to out me and we all know how unlikely that would be.

So there I was, debating the need for stale Christmas cookies at 60% off when a sweet little lady asked me where the cold remedies were. Instead of politely telling her that I did not work there, I led her to the aisle and she found her favorite remedy. She was thanking me and mentioned that she still needed to drive back to the place she had been staying and hoped that she would be able to locate the interstate. I patiently explained how very easy it was to get there and finally went on my way ....... without the stale cookies.

The same lady was at the check out counter when I arrived. She asked for directions to the interstate again from the man behind in line. Then she asked the man behind the counter for directions. She started out the store and asked all of us if she should turn left or right when she left the parking lot ....... I feel certain that she stopped several more times as she traveled those 5 miles to the interstate.

It is wet and cold again. My toes are still frozen from the two trips I made to get all my stuff inside. Then after putting away the groceries I perused my receipts and found that the 60% had not been taken off that second short sleeved day-glo t-shirt. My good mood has vanished. Just like that. Poof. It is gone.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dreams Can Save You Money

Yesterday I confessed to being enchanted with the ear vacuum. I dreamed about it last night. Is my life boring, or what!

I had a restless night, as He Who Tows had a late night, towing a car to Kansas City. He got home around 2:30. I know this because, in his efforts to NOT wake me, he woke me. With his cell phone that he was using as a light source. He loses flashlights with great regularity. Nothing like being in a cozy bed in a state of half sleep and have a light shined in your face. I guess he was making sure it was me. Like, maybe, I had been replaced with an alien.

I had not been asleep for very long. I must have gotten too warm and stuck my foot out from under the covers, causing Martha, the boy cat, to "groom" my toes with his sandpaper tongue. Woke me right up.

Towards sunrise I dreamed about the ear vacuum. One of my commenter's likened it to a baby snot sucker. Thanks, Linda. I think a bulb syringe would work to get the water out of my ears and it would be a whole lot cheaper! But ........... the ear vacuum had a little motor in it. And we all know how Americans like their motorized doo-dads. Especially the male species.

It took me back in time to the 80's. I was working at the fabric store in Albany, Ga. Being the manager, one of my duties was to make sure that new products were properly promoted. A little battery operated sweater shaver came on the market. It was about the size of an electric razor and was supposed to safely shave the "pills" that form on your sweater after many wears and washings. We sold sweater combs for $1, but this had a little motor .........

We had an incentive program which gave the employee $.50 for every sweater shaver they sold. I had an "interesting" mix of employees. Some were timid, not outgoing at all, having no idea how to promote this gadget. I suggested that we all wear sweaters during this promotion. Sweaters that had experienced a good life, so that you could demonstrate the product. One employee, in particular, always had trouble following suggestions. She showed up with a sweater that was beyond any hope and ready for the rag bag.

I could not believe she wore it to work. In retrospect, I don't know why I had trouble believing it, since I had had to counsel her many times on basic hygiene. She drove a panel van with no air conditioning ..... in south Georgia, people. She would arrive with a sweat rag draped round her neck, mopping her face as she walked in. Oh, and she did not bathe regularly. Nor did she use an anti-perspirant. I know all this because I had to tell her that her odor was offensive to her fellow workers and customers. She was baffled, because she didn't smell anything out of the ordinary. Causing me to ask all these questions. I stopped short of asking about the grooming of underarms, but I would be willing to bet that she could have demonstrated a razor.

Upon arrival in the raggedy sweater I had to tell her to remove it, that I was afraid the sweater shaver would eat the whole thing up. The rest of us were selling those little suckers like crazy. She wanted in on the action and spied a lady in a sweater that had seen better days. The lady was looking at the clearance fabric and did not appear to be someone who would splurge on the $4.99 "luxury" item.

My smelly saleswoman was not to be deterred, though. After tailing the lady throughout the store she accosted her at the checkout counter and demonstrated the gadget on the lady's sweater. The store was not packed, but pretty busy. To my absolute horror I looked over just in time to see her running the shaver over the lady's sweater, with not just a little bit of pressure ......... on the woman's breast.

No, she did not make a sale and I think we lost a customer forever. In my dream, it was this woman selling the ear vacuum on TV. I no longer want one.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cabin Fever?

Cabin fever is setting in. I have watched too much TV. As I sit here in my wood heated exile, watching endless hours of mindless TV and prowling Pinterest I have begun to ponder the absurdities of life.

These thoughts are now invading my dreams. Why does Jamie Lee Curtis have Activia in her purse? Is her purse refrigerated? Would I turn and run if she approached me? Is she an RVer? If so does her RV proclaim the benefits of Activia like a moving billboard? I know I would let mine be used as an avenue for advertising if I got paid to do so .....

I want to try that ear vacuum! But wait, that's not all ....... I can have TWO, for the price of ONE! If I pay shipping and handling on the free one. The shipping and handling is more than the cost of the product. No, I did not call to order and discover this. I read the fine print flashed briefly on the screen. If the shipping and handling were reasonable, I might consider it. I will wait until it ends up on the "as seen on TV" aisle at Alco. It will be awhile before I can suck water out of my ear ...... 

I know it is warming up outside, because a faucet just burst in the park and is spewing water. Yep, temperature is rising! I just had to turn the water off so that he who plumbs can fix it. Oh, no, now I can't wash the dishes! Or fill the mop bucket .......


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Wall-E and Oscar know what to do when the snow falls and the temperature drops. Grab a blanket and crawl under it with a buddy, then sleep .......

Don't move, unless you have to go out ..... or maybe, relieve yourself on the floor, after a careful look around to see if anyone may be watching. The only sound that will rouse them is the sound of the treat jar opening.

Toni is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Quite literally. She owns an impressive fur coat and her tail is magnificent. She can create a wind storm with it. She waits patiently for her master to come home.

She does not lack confidence in her elegance. She knows she is the queen of this universe. It has occurred to me that she is the lone female here in the animal entourage. I think she rather likes her status.

Remember that tiny scrap of fur I fed lovingly with a bottle? Mr. Martha is no longer a lithe little kitten, despite the fact that we have been limiting his food intake for the past two months. He likes to go outside and I think he must be supplementing his diet with fresh meat in the form of mice. I don't worry that he will get too cold with his impressive layer of fat. Do you?

He went out with the dogs at 12:45 last night and then looked disdainfully at me when I encouraged him to come in. He stuck his head up and sniffed the air as he swished his tail, then turned his back to me. I needed no other invitation to shut the door and go to bed.

It is cold. The wood stove is adequate for the living quarters and I do have a small space heater for my sewing room, but it just doesn't keep my fingers and toes warm. Makes it hard to cut and do finite jobs requiring skills with my hands. I pushed myself to get Christmas stuff done, but my joints ached all night for my efforts.

So, here I sit, double socked feet on the ottoman, laptop in my lap .......... I think he has the history channel on. It is about smog. I think. Is this any way to welcome a new year?

I think it must be, as I am working my way into this afghan with my dogs.