Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Homage

I know a lot of people -virtual as well as "physical" friends -who don't just like to read but who love to read and, I consider myself to being one of those who does love to read.

The only problem I have with that is that I love to embroider too and so far, I haven't figured out a way in which I can work on my embroidery stuff and also, to read simultaneously.

So the result is that one suffers from no attention when the other takes over the spotlight.

One thing though, for sure, is if I get into reading a book and am really liking it, I have to keep reading, pushing myself to stay awake for as long as it may take (if possible) until I finish the book. Embroidery, on the other hand -well, sometimes I can manage to push myself -and my needle -up and down for fairly long periods of time, but definitely not keep going until the project is completed. To be able to do that would really be a very, very long period of insomnia, for sure!

Right now, I do have an embroidery project I should be working on however, the other day I made a purchase at Walmart of a book that I thought looked interesting. Actually, I thought it was the book daughter Mandy was reading a couple weeks ago but which she hadn't brought up with her over Thanksgiving to share it with me. And, I thought perhaps this book would make for a nice gift for Christmas for someone on my gift list.

Now my kids all know that if I buy a book to give to one of them (or even if it is intended for a non-family member) the odds that I will read the book before giving it to whoever I thought would like it are very high that as my kids say about this habit of mine, I give "second-hand" books because I read them all first.

There's a method to my madness, if you will, in doing that though. Especially on those rare occasions when I find several books that appeal to me and that I think maybe this or that person probably would like to read too, in that if I read it before giving it, it helps me determine who I think would most enjoy this book!

Well, I decided to read this particular book - "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman -and it was, for me, one of those books that I didn't want to put down until I finished it.

But this time the reason I couldn't put it down was a bit strange, even for me, because after I got started reading it, the story was very familiar to me -like I had read it before. However, if I did read it before, it is the first time I have NOT recognized that I'd already read it by simply by looking at the title and author's name nor by any of the little blurb of description about the book on the cover either!

But the more I read, the more I knew I had at least had this book at some time and had read at least half or more of it at some time but I also knew I had never finished it because when I got close to the end, it then became new territory, unexplored previously by me on one of my reading binges.

Seriously, I have never had that happen before -NEVER! I've had books that I have begun reading and not finished for one reason or another but I have always recognized the titles and authors of them upon sight of those books.

The thing is there are some books that I have read and reread several times, including two very large books -"Gone With The Wind" and "Not As A Stranger!" But the book I have read and reread several times was one I read in the 6th grade and for the next 4 years, I took that book out, again and again from the bookmobile and reread it -"Jonica's Island" by Gladys Malvern! Much as I really did (and still do) love GWTW -book and the movie -"Jonica's Island" is my all-time favorite book ever. Although it's been well over five decades that have passed now since the last time I read that book and yes, it is a young girl's type of reading material, I got the bright idea about 2-3 years ago that I'd like to get a copy of it and reread it and then, pass it along to my granddaughter, Miss Maya, who is becoming a bit of a voracious reader now too.

However, in trying to find a copy of it, all I found was information that it is long ago out of print and a copy of it now, if one were available to purchase, would run me close to $300 which is considerably out of my price range! I can only hope that someday Maya will have the good fortune of coming across this book in a library someplace and read it and fall in love with that story as much as I did, many, many years ago!

Now that I have polished off this latest book, I can  return to working on my embroidery project again until the urge to read comes over me again if I should happen to come across another book that I just can't bring myself to put down!

It would be nice if I could bring myself to pick up and finish one of a few books I have here that I started to read but have yet to finish -rare though that type are in my bookshelf. I'm thinking about the copy of "The Count of Monte Cristo" which I started to read over 11 years ago and have not yet completed reading it or "Paradise" by Toni Morrison which I have started to read at least three times now and have yet to get beyond about completing maybe half of that book! (When Oprah said, as she recommended that book for her Book Club that it was a difficult book to read, she sure just wasn't whistling Dixie there!)

Wish me luck in trying to divide my time between my two favorite things equally now! (And here's hoping those I often give books to give me some hints about books they'd like to receive too!)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

More problems? Perhaps.

As if having a computer and occasionally having it do strange things that you don't know how to counteract to correct isn't enough, in a fleeting moment of temporary insanity, I decided I needed to own a tablet!

Why, I'm not really sure now what my logic was in getting one of these things but I took the leap.

Okay, I was egged on via some pre-Black Friday sales online at Walmart. But, I think somewhere deep inside of me, I had some kind of real rationale that after several days of pondering the idea of the purchase, I broke down and made the more to purchase a Nexbook unit.

It's a 4-quad -whatever that means -with 16 GB according to the ad for this fine unit, and a 7" screen, plus other accoutrements that I don't even know for sure what the heck some of them are for.

This is definitely going to be one heck of a learning experience for me. That much, I have determined for sure in the two short days since I picked this little gem up at my local Walmart location.

And the first thing I have figured out is that I definitely need 10 new fingers! Well, at least 10 much smaller fingertips would do the trick, I think. Shifting gears all the time between the type of keyboard I need to be using is a neat learning trick in and of itself, for sure.

But let me clarify one main sticking point here as to my reasons for purchasing this thing.

It was between getting myself a new camera or a tablet and I decided on the tablet because -well, it also has a camera. So now -once again -I will be able to take pictures and post them too (maybe, if they turn out okay) and I will also be able to do Facebook and communicate possibly better when I am away from the house from time to time and therefore, unable to be accessible via e-mail or Facebook.

Hey -it seemed like a good, very viable bit of logic to me.

I struggled for several hours the first night of playing with this toy, trying to get my Facebook presence on this thing before I finally conceded defeat of that cause. Tonight though, lo and behold, I fired it up and just like that -presto, magic, ya know -there was my Facebook live and online! About an hour later, I actually managed to find the keyboard and type a status update on Facebook that "Woo Hoo. I am actually using Facebook on my new tablet."

And after that major success, I decided to stop playing with this puppy while I was still ahead in the game of learning how to use a tablet and I shut it down then.

I had planned on doing some baking tonight but unfortunately, the urge to nap overtook me and I fell asleep then in my recliner for about 3 hours or so. Now -at 2:00 a.m. -I am wide awake and this will no doubt cause me to oversleep Sunday morning and not make it to things I should be attending to -like my spiritual life, ya know.

Earlier this evening though, my younger daughter (that would be Mandy) called me and we had a very brief conversation before she had to hang up. During our fast chat though, Kurtis had something very important he wanted to share with me. And I absolutely have to share this with everyone here.

Kurtis:   "Hi Gram! Guess what? We went caroling and sang to a bunch of old ladies!"
Me: struggling to talk to him because I was totally cracking up laughing - "That's great, Kurtis!"

Kids! Gotta love their interpretation of events, don't 'cha?

I'm wondering now what the age ranges may have been of these ladies they sang to that he classified them as being "old ladies?" Wonder too if, in his mind, I made the cut?

And that pretty much sums up what's been going on here today -another rainy December day but at least today's rain was soft and didn't add to the ice cover that was on my car all day yesterday!

Oh and I just remembered something Mandy told me in our brief chat this evening as I was complaining about my fat fingers not being able to utilize the keyboard very well on this tablet.

"You need to get a Stylus, Mom!"

Alright! Good to know there is a device that will help me to use this sweet little instrument perhaps a bit easier.  Hopefully, it won't break the bank to get me one of those things cause that would then just add lots and lots more problems, wouldn't it?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Happenings!

I honestly don't know where the time goes that days pass by so quickly and I still am just as darned disorganized with my blog and postings here! I start out with all the best of intentions and somehow or other, things get overlooked or just plain forgotten about.

And I don't know which to blame right now for the fact it has been well over a month since I last posted something here.

I've had so many things -ideas -that have popped up in my mind and intended to write about them but then, somehow or other, I got waylaid, or busy with something else and well, it just totally slipped my mind then.

I've been -of course -still dealing with the Avon and definitely not setting the financial world, much less my own personal status on fire with that business! Thankfully, this year, although I have had a few issues now and again with items not being available, it hasn't been near as bad as it was last year during the Christmas selling season. But the strange thing is last year -problems with orders and all -I still had way better sales than I have had this year. Oh well. Live and learn and deal with it!

I've been trying to incorporate a little extra time for me to devote to my embroidery projects but even that hasn't been what it used to be. I did finally finish a tabletopper this past week but, although I had done this particular tabletopper a couple of years back and managed to get it done within 2-3 weeks, my stitching must have slowed down drastically this year because this time it took me over 2 months to finish that thing! I have since started a new topper project -a Christmas piece -and so far, it seems to be moving fairly fast -which is to say there is a remote possibility I can finish it before the holiday!

Last week though -Thanksgiving Week -I had the company of my two younger grandchildren (Maya and Kurtis) here all week. They had the pleasure of accompanying me to deliver several of my Avon orders and provided a good bit of entertainment in the process for me.

The weather here has been so up and down -one day it's like springtime, another day, like a rainy summer day and then, boom, out of no where it seems, Mother Nature decides to attack with a bit of revenge to remind us that it is very near to wintertime here!

Most of the nasty weather has involved my most hated type of weather conditions, that being freezing rain. Gosh I do hate that stuff with an absolute passion because it makes driving as near to impossible and is possible! Had a good bit of that substance here this morning and as yet today, I haven't been out of the house, but I know my car is going to need a lot of muscle to clear all the layer of ice on my windshield, for openers, before I will be able to go anyplace now!

Now, I know several people who say they love rainy days and don't even mind the days when the rain freezes upon contact with the ground, or changes over in mid-stream to sleet. (I think those people are insane, but that's my opinion.) They tell me that, to their minds, it is like a form of music to their ears when they hear it hitting their roof or the windows in their homes.

I do love music, for sure, but that kind of music doesn't make me think of PA's music at all.  Nope, no way! To my ears, that kind of music from Mother Nature sounds like a big old orchestra trying to tune up and not giving any harmonizing tones to it at all yet!

And now, because Sammy - my little old mutt here -is doing his kind of music of whimpering and whining and telling me by that to get my boots, coat, scarf and gloves on and please take him out for a walk very soon or I will be making some bad music of my own here, with a bit of cursing involved, as I will have a mess on my hands then to clean up after him!

So, off I go -into the wild, dusk, sort of gray, gradually turning black, yonder so he can find some areas along the road and our little walk to stay on my good side for the rest of today.

That much, I can control for now, today!



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On the Agenda - Baking (and then, some more baking!)

It's that time again when I go on a bit of a baking binge. No, not baking ahead for Christmas; not even for Thanksgiving for that matter. But I will be doing a good bit of baking off and on this week now -as often as I have time and the energy that is -in preparation of the Annual Bazaar that the women of our church here will be running on Saturday, November 1st!

And let me tell you this, I just hope any bread baking I do this week now turns out as good as the Whole Wheat bread I baked this past Saturday but minus all the hassles that were involved in that production!

First off, Friday night, I drove down to Milesburg to pick up my older daughter there and bring her up home here to spend the weekend with me and my next door neighbor -one of her closest friends. She has a walking cast on her leg now but still is not allowed to put ANY weight at all on that leg. (She broke two bones in her left ankle about 6 weeks ago and will be off work, laid up, in essence, for at least 6-8 more weeks with this problem.

She wanted to come up here this weekend because I had said I planned to bake some bread and she wanted to watch me do that so she can get a little more idea of how to go about baking bread.

Normally, it takes me about 4-5 hours from start to finish to make a batch of bread but this time I sure set some records I think in having it take more like 10-12 hours from start to finish!

First off, I had my ingredients all measured out and the first four items in the big bowl I use, just waiting for me to measure out the hot water and pour it in to mix with the butter, molasses, karo syrup and honey and get the butter mixed in and semi-dissolved. But before I do that, I have to measure out 1/2 cup of hot water (between 110-125 degrees temperature), add a pinch of sugar and a pinch of flour to that and mix it up and then, empty in 2 packages of dry yeast and proof my yeast. The water and yeast combination should start to kind of produce tiny bubbles at first and then, rather quickly, those bubble should grow and make the yeast mixture develop a foamy head (like pouring  a beer, you could say and you get a head on the beer) and it should then measure to a full cup of the yeast liquid. Well, in this process on Saturday, the yeast was either no good or just very lazy because it seemed to take forever before it started to form that head and it didn't come clear up to the 1 full cup measure either. More like a little more than 3/4 cup is all the higher it got.

But, I decided to go with what I had and use that. However, before I had a chance to add it to my batter, the foamy head just sort of went "poof" and disappeared taking my yeast mixture then down to the 1/2 cup measure I started with.

Now that really set me on edge because I've never seen yeast proofing where it sort of evaporated on me before. So I called my neighbor who has been baking bread way longer than I have and asked her if she'd ever seen that happen. Well, she said no because she said she never proofs her yeast.

Hmmmm. That surprised me because as I mentioned then to her, it was her younger sister (who is my age) who told me it was always a good idea to proof the yeast. This then surprised my friend because she said "Oh, I didn't know she proofs her yeast!" Well, I was convinced that was who had told me to do that so I held my ground, insisting it was her sister who said that to me.

So anyway, she didn't know if that yeast would work or not and I went back to the business at hand of adding all my flour then to my dough mixture and even getting my mixing bowl all ready to wrap in waxed paper on top with about 7 or 8 tea towels covering the bowl and even wrapping a heavy lap blanket around the bowl too and then, placing it just above my radiator to let the dough rise. (Well, hopefully, it would rise.)

So, there I was worrying about whether this dough would rise so I could bake it and my daughter suggested I go online and look for websites about working with yeast and troubleshooting then. WOW! Turned out to be a good suggestion because I found a website that told me just about anything I'd ever need to know about working with bread dough and yeast!

First off, I learned that if you proof your yeast and the liquid does not double -or as was my case, turn into a liquid product measuring 1 cup -then the yeast is no good and the advice was to pitch that and start the proofing all over with a fresh pack (2 packs in my case) of yeast. SO I did that and this time, that yeast kicked into high gear right from the beginning and in no time, it was up to the 1 cup measure.

The advice also said that you could add this yeast to the dough, even if you were through with mixing in the dry ingredients so I did that too then. After which, I was to add a little more flour and make sure that all got well worked into the dough. And, I did that then but boy, what a job that was to work the yeast and a little extra flour into the dough that was already well mixed! It took me a good 20 minutes of kneading to finally get the dough to the right consistency to let it try to rise then.

And rise, it did! But whether that was due completely to the addition of more yeast and fresh active stuff to boot, or maybe it could have been due to the fact my daughter and her friend, my neighbor, and I then sat down to eat supper while my dough was sitting on the warm radiator doing its thing while I got my mind away from the bread dough and forgot it was rising away till almost 2 1/2 hours had passed!

It did rise up quite nicely so I panned it out and even got enough dough from this to form six fairly even sized loaves to bake! I set the pans with the measured and rolled out dough loaves on my counter, layered on waxed paper and the tea towels as well as the blanket to cover the pans then so the bread could do the second rise.

And while it was doing that, my daughter and I moved into the living room to catch the Penn State/Ohio State football game just past the start of the third quarter. If you saw that game or read anything about it, when we tuned in Penn State was down by 10 points with the score being 17 to 10. But we got really engrossed in the game because Penn State came back after half-time loaded for bear! And they played a great game then that got tied up with about 1 minute to go to the end of the game and that of course, sent them into overtime play. Penn State scored a touchdown and then Ohio scored a touchdown so again, it was tied up and it went into double overtime then! Sadly, Ohio managed to score another touchdown ending the game then with the score being 31-24!

And the whole time we were watching this, my bread loaves were merrily rising away just waiting for me to toss them into the oven and get them baked! My getting my head all wrapped around the football game meant the bread was well overdue then to be baked!

Into the oven it went around midnight and finally, by 2 a.m. Sunday morning, I got the last two loaves baked and out of the oven to cool.

And I have to say, the bread looked terrific!

I looked for a loaf that was maybe a little smaller than the rest and cut a couple slices of it, slathered some good REAL butter on that warm bread and boy, did that ever taste good.

Perfection. Yes, indeed, it was! Nothing beats freshly baked bread sliced with REAL butter on it, watching that butter melt and then, popping it in your mouth.

Simply heaven in my book.

So I ended up by Sunday afternoon -after having cut into two loaves of bread by then with breakfast as well as dinner that I still had 4 really nice specimens of Whole Wheat bread to wrap and put in the freezer and to take to the Bazaar on Saturday.

No, I'm not done yet -as I still have to mix up some Swedish rye bread and pray that I get the same result with that as I did with the Whole Wheat stuff so I will have then, hopefully at least 8 loaves of bread to donate to the Bazaar!

And somewhere in between the bread baking, I have cookies I have to bake too to give to the Bazaar. I'm planning on making Maple and Bacon cookies iced with maple and bacon flavored icing along with Creamsicle cookies too, with orange flavored icing for them too. (Yes, these are what I call "cheater cookies" though as they are both new items I picked up at Walmart to try out and hopefully surprise people who come out for our bazaar by taking them out to the church too. (If you like soft cookies with a little bit of icing on top, try either of these two kinds out -very easy and believe it or not, maple and bacon cookies really do taste sublime!

Live dangerously in the kitchen and give them a try!

Now, off to bed to get some rest so I have enough energy and time to get this baking done!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Little Music, Maybe?

My little Diva, Miss Maya, started taking lessons last year -learning to play the clarinet!

She had an older clarinet loaned to her from Jeff's Dad. (Jeff being Mandy's boyfriend, ya know.) And, last year, when she and Kurt would come up for a weekend, she would bring that instrument along and was supposed to practice on it here, just like she was supposed to do at home.

A couple of times, she did get it out and try to practice a little bit, but it wasn't all that much effort put into the practice time on those occasions.

This year, at school, she is again taking more clarinet lessons but this time, her Mom, I gather, decided she needed to purchase her own clarinet and so, with the aid of some type of easy payment plan, that's what's happening now with the clarinet and lessons are continuing as a result of that.

I just hope, what with the price of purchasing a new instrument, that Mandy is able to get her to practice on this daily and for a reasonable period of time too. I know, all too well, how easy it is to get frustrated with learning to play an instrument and if practice sessions become cumbersome or always too boring, the desire to learn this art can soon evaporate.

Go visit Musicians Friend for added information on anything and everything music related from instrument to music instruction. The powered speakers though -maybe that can wait awhile!

 

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Little Relaxation Now!

I am, as I have mentioned frequently here, a bonafide night owl! For me to go to bed before 2 a.m. is an occasional thing but hitting the sack earlier than that generally means I'm worn out tired and probably sick.

But, if I've stayed up most of the night till 4 or 5 a.m., now that is more my normal bedtimes!

I attribute much of my night owl traits to the fact that from as far back as I can remember, as a very young child, I never had a reasonable bedtime -nothing that was the same night after night -and most certainly nothing like the pretty strict bedtimes that Mandy insists Maya and Kurtis keep, at least between September and June anyway.

School months schedule there you know and for them, it's 9 p.m. for Kurtis and 9:30 for Maya. Weekends, they get to stay up a little later than that, but especially with Kurtis, he generally is ready to fold up and crash before 10:30 at night on a weekend. Maya, being a little older, can often stay awake as late as midnight on a Friday night but beyond that, and she's done too!

But I tend to do what I consider to be my best "work" -be that reading a book, working on an embroidery project, occasionally knitting or crocheting and for the last couple of years now on really rare occasions, even using my sewing machine.

My mind and generally, my fingers too, just seem to follow my brain's commands better after midnight!

But the late-night tv programming also fits my fancy better too, overall -what with reruns frequently of the old Law and Order shows on one network and on another, reruns of Frasier and/or Cheers!

I really wish though that TVLand would rebroadcast reruns some day again of SOAP as I loved that that show and never got a chance to see much of it when it was actually on the air because at that time I didn't have a recorder and almost always worked the late afternoon to midnight shifts so I couldn't view those favorite programs very often then!

I'd also love to be able to watch some other old hit shows too if only some of these networks would carry ones like WKRP in Cincinnati or Taxi or Hill Street Blues too! I wouldn't even mind rewatching All In The Family and Mash over and over again as well because those programs, in my mind, were pure classics for sitcoms!

The kind of shows that really relax me ya know!

My Dancing Diva!

Don't remember now if I ever discussed one of Miss Maya's favorite activities when she is here, visiting with me but if I did and you find this redundant, my apologies but remember, you're dealing with someone who has a major tendency -due to my now well-advanced age -to be more than a bit senile.

Oh shucks. Who am I kidding there! It hasn't got anything to do with my age now because I've been more than a tad on the senile side for several years now. At least one decade worth and possibly even close to two decades that the memory fails me a lot!

But anyway, I just wanted to tell you about this activity of hers in hopes that I'm not repeating myself.

When she is here, she commandeers my computer and will sit here for hours on end, watching videos of young girls dancing to various types of music. No special format of music, just any music video that features any kind of dancing and she will watch them. She watches them over and over and over again, memorizing what she sees there of the moves these other dancers make and when she thinks she's got a pretty good bead on those moves, she then cranks the video up full blast and starts trying to imitate these dances and the dancers!

The moves this kid can make absolutely amaze me though. Not that she is on top of every step she's seen and fantastic about imitating the other dancers and such, but for a kid her age who is teaching herself this stuff for the most part, she actually does a pretty darned good job.

Since her Mom moved them with her last year down to Middletown though, Mandy did sign Maya up for some dance lessons but as near as I can understand it, the dance lessons she's been getting are geared more towards a gymnastic type of dance with maybe some shades of ballet here and there.

Nothing along the lines of fancy grown up dances like the Mambo or Rhumba or stuff like that. No waltzes either so definitely nothing like lessons given such as dance lessons in LA offers for a special wedding dance or things of that ilk. Besides, the kid is only going to be 11 this weekend, so one would hope she doesn't need to learn any dances like that just yet anyway!

Never the less, I am totally fascinated by her ability in this realm! I have no clue either where that ability came from -most certainly not from me as I am better known for having two very, very left feet! That plus, I generally have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time so that gives you some idea that this is nothing genetic coming through from my side of her family tree. And I know for a fact too that it sure as heck didn't come down from her grandfather either cause he was about as graceful as I tend to be.

Which is to say Not. At. All!

Makes you wonder though doesn't it when you see someone in your family able to do stuff like this and pick it up as easily as she has been able to do!

Camera problems

I have a bit of a problem here now with respect to this new computer and my camera.

The camera I have is just a small Kodak digital with a few little features, including video but nothing fancy. But it suits my needs because I'm not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination and just wanted a camera that generally takes relatively decent snap shots by which to remember this or that event in my life or of the kids when they are here for a visit or now, with the kitten in the house, an occasional shot of her and her unplayful roommates, Sam and Pearl, who live here too!

This camera in particular though has been unlike the previous little digital unit I had in that it has never been good at holding a charge whereas the other camera I had, I could connect it to the computer, charge it up and it would hold that charge in the batteries for several weeks at a clip. This one -not so much in that I was lucky if I had a charge after a day or two.

But that aspect isn't where my problem now lies with the new computer!

It's that I can't figure out how to charge the camera like I used to be able to do by simply plugging it into a usb port here. Frustrating for me because now my camera is virtually dead to me since I can't get it to charge the way I used to do even if it did only hold that charge for a day or two, at least I could time it enough so as to be able to catch a shot here and there.

So if any one reading this knows anything at all about cameras -Kodak model 340 in particular -and charging one via the computer, please let me know what I'm doing wrong and how to correct this so I can once again use my little camera!

Bloody Mess!

About two weeks ago here, one day I was all ready to go out on one of my delivery rounds with some Avon orders but I got side-tracked for a few minutes by a post on my Facebook and I sat down then to read it and probably to comment or at least to indicate that I had "liked" said post.

When I sat down, with my feet pulled under my computer chair, Fica -my little black kitten -decided she wanted to play with my ankles and in doing so, she wrapped her tiny paws around my ankle, with her face centered just under my shin bone (where it connects to the ankle) and then, started to nip at my ankle and dig her very sharp little claws into my skin. Then, quickly tiring apparently of that action, she decided she was going to snag a claw into my clam digger pants I was wearing and proceed from there then to climb up my leg. Well in the process of doing that, she ended up digging those little claws in just a bit too deeply for my liking and I reached down to grab her and pull her away from that game of hers.

I finished what I had set out to do with my Facebook and stood up to get ready to get my purse and other things and in doing that, I glanced down at the floor and to my surprise, actually shock would be a more accurate term, I saw there was blood streaming down my leg and little pools of blood all over the floor all from Fica's game of playing with my ankle and trying to climb up my leg!

I ended up in the bathroom, scrounging for some bandaids to cover the deepest of the scratches and that's when I realized that she had dug into a little cluster of veins right directly above my ankle and it was almost like she had hit the mother lode there with the amount of blood loss evident.

Heck, I even had to take that sandal off and scrub it down on the inside because it was just plain soaked in red!

All the cleanup on the floor, of my sandal and of trying to get the bleeding to cease and desist had me thinking I really wished I had a styptic pencil -like the kind you can get from pinaud at smallflower.com, ya know! But, since there's been no males living in this house who might have things like that stashed away in the medicine chest or other hiding places in the bathroom, I was left to my own devices which meant using bandaids that have cute little cartoon type characters on them because most of the time bandaids are needed here it's to soothe the ruffled feathers of one of the grandkids booboos!

I really did look the sight though after I finished doctoring my leg up and finally got the bleeding to subside!

Such a fashion statement, for sure!

Silly Beasts!

Are you an animal lover? I consider myself to be one, especially since I have three furry "children" here who reside with me.

There's Sammy -the purebred mutt with roots that are more than a bit eclectic. Best description I can think of for him is to say he does look sort of (well, actually very much so) like a minature Benji dog. He's been with me now for five years and he was a little over a year old when we got him. He's basically a very sweet, very mellow little fellow except when a certain neighbor of mine who lives about five houses up the street from me decides to walk his dog and Sam truly hates that dog. As a matter of fact, that is the only dog I have ever seen him react to in a negative way and boy, does he ever. I swear that as soon as that neighbor and his dog leave their house to go for a walk, Sam senses that because he will start by growling a bit and then, the growl gradually changes over to a few barks but by the time this duo gets within view of my living room window, Sam is up in the window sill, barking like a lunatic and his voice changes too in that his bark becomes very ferocious sounding.

I also have two cats now too. Well, actually I have Pearl, who is a little over three years old now, white with orange markings, very, very fluffy and also, a tub of lard to try to pick up now too! She's quite the lazy cat preferring to spend her days reclining -either in the front entry way, where she reposes in the sunlight and pretends to watch people and occasionally animals that go by the house. Or, she also has an affection for resting in the windowsill of the Bay window in the living room too and does pretty much the same thing there as she does out in the front door entryway.

Then there is the other cat that I just acquired about two months ago now. She's actually still a kitten -only about 14 to 16 weeks old now. She's the exact opposite of Pearl in that Fica (yes, that is her name) is solid black, very slight build, shorthaired and anything but the epitome of laziness! She wants very much to play with either Pearl or Sam but neither of them appear interested in the slightest to honoring her spells of trying to badger them into some kind of kitten and cat or kitten and dog games.

It's that aspect between the two felines that I find really humorous though.

If you have a cat or several, you know cats are always searching for some off-the-wall place to get into and lay claim to and one of their favorite things would be boxes. No special kind of boxes are required, and they don't even have to be empty although they do like empty ones quite a bit.

And my house is often a gold mine with empty boxes since I sell Avon products and every two weeks, I always seem to end up then with at least one "new" empty box here. At the rate I've been acquiring these boxes, I'm soon going to be over run with them, I think.

But anyway, that was just a little digression there about how many boxes exist here.

Right now, there are two empty boxes at the entrance to my dining room and they are sitting under a card table, back-to-back. Pearl and Fica have each laid claim to one of these boxes for their special sleeping space at this time and what I find comical is to watch them as they each hop into their respective choice of box and then, move around in it for a little bit to apparently get a feel for the place and it is when they are each doing that moving around, that Fica often gets a little rambunctious, bumping around more than Pearl approves of, and before you know it, Pearl is standing up in her box, leaning on the edge of the top, with her big fat furry paw swatting down at Fica and with each pass of that paw, she lets out a hiss to give a little more warning to Fica. This then gets Fica moving around more in her box so that her movements bump her box into Pearl's which then causes Pearl to launch out another attack.

But that's as far as their feud goes there. They never really get into any knock down, drag it out kind of cat fights. Just petty nonsense as far as I can see going on there.

If they get a little too noisy or push their boxes too much, Sam might get up from where ever he's bee sleeping and meander over to watch the two silly cats for a few seconds and then, it's like his expression is one in which he's thinking "Kids! What the heck you gonna do with 'em."

I was really surprised when I saw how Sam and Pearl do tend to deal with little Fica and have done ever since I brought her home. When Pearl was a kitten, she and Sam made up immediately as friends and playmates and they would rip and tear around the house, chasing each other around, rolling on the floor together, running through the living room as fast as they could go, up onto the couch, along the back of the couch and then, chasing each other over to the next piece of furniture along their race track.

But from the very first sighting by either Sam or Pearl of this kitten, neither of them has befriended her in any way shape or form. No playing games with her with the minor exception being that with the boxes.

Wonder why this is, especially since Sam is very cat friendly and Pearl used to play a lot with Mandy's cat that lived here until they moved down to Middletown last year.

If I didn't know better,(and well truthfully, I don't because I am neither a dog or a cat whisperer, ya know) I'd say Sam and Pearl are discriminating against the little one, poor little Fica, and just plain ignoring her!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just What I Really Need!!!

By the looks of things, I'm becoming somewhat of an eclectic surfer on the web here as I roam around, (surfing, ya know) and find various things of interest inadvertently in the process.

Don't ask me how I find these off the wall things because I get lost from time to time and have no clue what it was that took me hither, thither and yon sometimes on the 'net but it is fun and makes life a little interesting then, now and again.

My latest find though has me wondering why no one around these hills has come up with an idea like this though!

This is a multi-tasking thing that sounds like it should change from being the other woman in Raleigh to perhaps, the other woman in Cooper Township instead.

No,it's not something I personally would feel up to starting myself -not at this stage in my life at any rate -but I sure would love to have someone who would keep my house neat and tidy and also, who would keep me on top of things like paying my bills before they become overdue or reminding me of doctor appointments and other things along those lines that I do have a terrible time remembering.

Heck, I would forget my head some times if it weren't fastened on so you know someone to help keep me at least semi-organized would be a great thing to have.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to afford it, everything would be just hunky-dory, wouldn't it?

Cooking for One!

Over the past year (plus about three extra months) for the most part, my cooking has changed considerably.

When Mandy moved with her two children down to Middletown, PA a year ago this past July, I had to change my methodology in my kitchen and try to downsize the amounts I was previously accustomed to cooking. Those larger casserole meals I generally liked to fix were now off limits unless, of course, I wanted to eat lasagne or spaghetti or roast beef leftovers forever!

Last summer, I still had opportunities to fix somewhat larger meals fairly often though because the grandkids spent several weeks here with me before they had to leave to start school last fall. So that's when my quest to figure out things to fix just for one person with maybe enough leftovers for one more meal every now and again. (I'm not normally one who enjoys leftovers of everything I've fixed for a meal -just certain things that I don't mind reheating and eating.)

But then, last October, my step-granddaughter and her darling little girl moved in here with me and I was once again back in business of fixing slightly larger meals once again. And I didn't worry about leftovers then because frequently, Katie would heat up leftovers for her lunch and as the baby began to eat more and more table food, she also would serve it to her too, so leftovers weren't something that was clogging my refrigerator very often then.

But after Katie moved out back the beginning of March, I was back to the drawing board again with my meal preparations and not only do I not like cooking in very, very small portions, I also do not like eating a full meal all alone either!

So, my menu then often switched to sandwiches - usually cold sandwiches that I just threw together or salads. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it's boring. But then too, cooking just for one person is also very boring too, in my book. There's no anticipation to see if the meal meet someone else's expectations which gives me no incentive then to experiment with new dishes the way I often had done in the past.

But this week, I had a hankering for something I had tasted about 2 weeks ago when the local Moose had a small semblance of a cooking contest for soups and I had made a big crockpot full of Stuffed Pepper Soup as my entry in the contest and each person entering the contest got to judge the other cooks' works too.

Well, there were two specific entries that I especially liked. One was a rice with a tomato base that I found very tasty and the other was some kind of a beef soup with something that was sort of like rice to me but yet, not quite that. Now that beef based soup really tripped my taste buds as it was very, very good! (I was tempted to try to smuggle that whole crockpot full of it out and take it home with me.)

But instead, I thought I knew who had made that soup and so, two days ago, I called that lady - my neighbor, June, who lives a couple houses down the street from me. And yes, I was right -that had been her soup and what it was -well it was Beef Barley Soup and sure, she would be happy to tell me how she fixes it. So she told me the ingredients and so forth and today, I cooked a pot full of it for my supper!

It wasn't quite up to the par level of great flavor that hers had had but it was decent enough that I chowed down two large bowls of it for my supper anyway! And I have leftovers of it in the fridge now that will do me for another meal too now. With possibly enough leftover  though that I might just take what I have in the fridge and make a trip down past Howard to where my older daughter lives and surprise her for lunch of my version of June's Beef Barley Soup!

I'm thinking perhaps daughter Carrie would be very happy to have something really homemade for lunch either tomorrow or perhaps Friday afternoon and I would very much enjoy being able to spend a little quality time visiting with her and seeing to it that she would have a good and nourishing meal since she's still pretty incapacitated with her leg and having two bones in her ankle broken!

Don't tell her I'm thinking of doing this as I think it would work much better if I can just take it down and surprise her!

A New Law?

Ever notice how you can see something and wonder what the heck it is that whoever is writing is actually writing about?  Something that just sort of grabs your curiosity and won't let go until you check into it and see what it is they are actually writing about?

I did that last night when I saw something that mentioned something referred to as EGH Law and I had to find out what the heck kind of law this really was!

Well, imagine my surprise when I realized it was not a new law of any kind at all but rather just the initials of the partners in this doggone law firm!

Well, okay -that does make sense, of course. But it just is one of those things that caught my eye and gave way to my wondering if this was perhaps some new specific area of legal concern, ya see!

But anyway -I put this under the header of "learning something new every day" now!

Emergency Equipped!

So, you're probably really getting tired now of my writing about my commode problems I've had here of late, aren't you?

Well, today I decided I was going to arm myself for battle in the event that the darned commode decides to act up on me again!

I had an appointment this afternoon in Clearfield at the Cancer Clinic for my monthly "port flush" -which, if you have lousy veins that nurses have to access for IVs or blood work, and have ever had chemo, chances are you have one of these "ports" and know what I'm talking about there then. It's simply a little mechanism inserted just under the skin that gives access to your blood vessels when you have to have a lot of blood tests, IVs or chemo and they don't have to keep poking and poking you to find a good vein then to access. But anyway, if you have one of these, then you know they have to be flushed out with a solution, generally about once a month, to keep them open and available that way.

After I had that taken care of, I headed straight up to Walmart and back to the bathroom plumbing supplies area where I got myself another plunger -one with the rubber end like the one that used to exist on the old plunger I had but which had rotted away from age and the other plunger I got to replace it, had a different type of end piece on it which didn't fit right in the bowl of the commode so it wasn't getting a good attachment and thus,no suction.

And along with that new plunger, I also invested in an auger thing -or "Snake" as they are commonly referred to -to use in the event of another blockage that a plunger can't work to release!

Be Prepared! Yes!I am now that person!

And this news will no doubt come as a relief to my neighbor across the street who frequently gets a call from me for his assistance (and who answered my call last night and got my commode unplugged). And, also -my friend up the road aways -Richard -and his dear wife, Andrea -will both be relieved to know they can go to their kids places this winter and stay in the warmer climes there assured that I now have at least that base covered within my house!

I was quite relieved too when I realized those two items together cost me less than $10 bucks too! A real bargain price, in my book, for something to keep my bathroom from flooding!

New Glasses Needed!

Oh Brother! I have come to the conclusion that I either need a refresher course in reading or new glasses!

Earlier today, I saw something online that, the way I read the text and saw the photo, I took it to be an advertisement for some really great bargain on a KitchenAid mixer that was a larger than normal sized stand and bowl but was available for a really fantastically low price -like less that $50!

Now, if you know anything at all about KitchenAid appliances, you know that there ain't no way that a price like that could be true, don't you? And I'm really glad I looked this ad over a little closer and realized I had read the whole doggone thing wrong!

What it was -well actually it was an ad for a rev-a-shelf mixer lift but somehow when I looked at the page, I was reading things into this that simply didn't exist!  Sometimes, the way my eyes and brain works these days, I often begin to wonder if maybe I actually have some form of Dyslexia the way I mix letters and words up when I read.

I was rather upset with myself though with this particular piece because I would dearly love to have a KitchenAid mixer again!  The guy I went with for about 2 1/2 years back in the early 80s (was even engaged to him too) gave me a stand mixer with all the attachments one year for Christmas and I really liked it. But, like just about all pieces of equipment like that, after about 20 years of pretty heavy use, it sort of just ground down and wouldn't work any longer. So now, I have another stand mixer (a Hamilton Beach, in a bright red, sitting on my counter) but I bought this one primarily because the head is detachable and I use it as a hand mixer that has more power to it than the usual hand mixers tend to have!)

Maybe though, I was just so intrigued by the mere thought of getting another KitchenAid for a super great price that I read the text the way I just wanted it to read!